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
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.