Toshiba Faces The Blu Music
There's not much of a kind way to state our fascination with seeing how Toshiba would respond to this latest turn in the format war, Warner's move to exclusive Blu-ray support in 2008. On a primal level it feels almost like that guilty rubber-necking at a car wreck on the road. However, Toshiba's HD DVD point person Jodi Sally got up and out in front of the press straight away at Toshiba's conference and put on a very brave face in recounting HD DVD's successes.
Jodi noted that HD DVD this isn't the first time HD DVD has been left for dead, and touted the big fourth quarter HD DVD enjoyed. US player sales spiked up to 3/4 of a million units, if not more, and Jodi noted that HD DVD always put the consumer experience first, delvering a stable hardware platform that led with web-enabled interactivity still not yet seen on Blu-ray.
And you know what? All of that is true. HD DVD's latest and greatest features can be fully experienced by owners of even first-gen units, while Blu-ray features are now being announced that won't be playable on many second and even third generation players. In addition, Blu-ray's image quality foundered out of the gate, and it was HD DVD's bar of video quality that forced the hand of the BD studios to release better product (which they did). And of course, the format war also sped player prices downward faster than we likely would have seen with only a single format. Of course, the obvious downsides of the format war are obvious in light of the weak overall consumer acceptance we've seen, among other things.
So, Toshiba has indeed been declared dead before and we'll have to see how this plays out. Is there another coup we can't see coming? Or, as one reader put it, is Toshiba out of both cards and sleeves from which to pull them? Time till tell, but whatever happens HD DVD did do a lot of things right, set the HD bar high right out of the gate and fought what was always an uphill battle amazingly well.