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Monday, January 07, 2008
Toshiba Claims HD DVD "Has Not Lost" Despite Warner Move

Toshiba said that its HD DVD high-definition video format is far from dead despite being dealt a major setback by Warner Bros studio's decision to exclusively back rival Blu-ray technology.

Akiyo Ozaka, president of Toshiba America Consumer Products, told a briefing at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that HD DVD "has not lost."

But Ozaka was at a loss to say what Toshiba planned to do next after the decision by Time Warner's Warner Bros, one of the world's largest film studios, to embrace Blu-ray, an optical disk format for storing high-definition video that is backed by Toshiba rival Sony.

Toshiba defended the technology on Sunday after the HD DVD consortium, a group of companies of which it is a part, canceled plans to hold its own press conference at the Las Vegas trade show, the industry's largest U.S. gathering.

"We were very disappointed with Warner Brothers' announcement," Ozaka said. "Sales of HD DVD were very good last year, especially in October to December."

Ozaka said Toshiba sold about 1 million HD DVD players in North America in the last year as more consumers downloaded high-definition video onto personal computers equipped with the technology.

Ozaka declined to comment on Toshiba's next steps, which he said Toshiba's HD DVD partners would have to discuss.

Toshiba marketing executive Jodi Sally told the audience that HD DVD remained the best technology, but acknowledged that the Warner Bros announcement on Friday took her by surprise.

"It's difficult for me to believe when all the pundits declare that HD DVD is dead," Sally said. "Clearly, the events of the last few days have led many of you to that conclusion. We have been declared dead before. The reality is we ended 2007 with a majority of the year-to-date market share."

Toshiba also introduced the third generation of its HD DVD players, the HD-A30, HD-A35, and HD-A3 all supporting the company's REGZA Link technology. The company also announced it's dropping the price of its high-end HD-XA2 to $799. Prices for the HD-A30 and HD-A35 will remain the same at $399 and $499, respectively.

The Japanese company is also expected to further promote installation of HD-DVD drives in personal computers this year, targeting users who watch movies on their PCs. The company's plan is to capture those who watch DVDs on personal computers, a popular practice in the United States.

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