Toshiba's president, Atsutoshi Nishida, has announced that Toshiba will no longer develop, make or market HD DVD players and recorders, handing a victory to rival Blu-ray disc technology in the format battle for next-generation video.
The move would make Blu-ray - backed by Sony Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic brand products, and five major Hollywood movie studios - the winner in the battle over high-definition DVD formatting that began several years ago.
Nishida said last month's decision by Warner Bros. Entertainment to release movie discs only in the Blu-ray format made the move inevitable.
Warner joined Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Co. and News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox in that move.
Nishida said his company had confidence in HD DVD as a technology and tried to assure the estimated 1 million people, including some 600,000 people in North America, who already bought HD DVD machines by promising that Toshiba will continue to provide product support for the technology.
Toshiba's pulling the plug on the technology is expected to reduce the number of new high-definition movies that people will be able to watch on HD DVD machines. Toshiba Corp. said shipments of HD DVD machines to retailers will be reduced and will stop by end of March.
HD DVD supporters included Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp. and Japanese electronics maker NEC Corp.
Microsoft's Xbox 360 game machine can play HD DVD movies, but the drive had to be bought separately, and Nishida said about 300,000 people have those.
Worldwide sales of personal computers with HD DVD drives total about 300,000 worldwide, including 140,000 in North America and 130,000 in Europe, he said.