Is Toshiba Re-Inventing DVD?
The Blu-ray vs. HD DVD war may be over, but reverberation from the battle lingers on. In particular, tgdaily has called our attention to the fact that the DVD Forum (chaired by Toshiba - its only remaining member?) has released a new DVD logo. "DVD Download DL" seems to verify that Toshiba has no intention of going quietly into the night, and either letting the DVD revenue stream dry up, or be taken over by Blu-ray.
Instead, it seems likely that Toshiba will introduce an internet-enabled DVD player this fall, trying to steal some thunder from Blu-ray's much-heralded interactivity capabilities. This could be considered as either sour grapes, or a brilliant idea. The installed base of DVD is huge (while BD is relatively puny), so it makes sense to keep pumping the DVD well with new ideas. If interactivity is indeed what customers want, then connected DVD players could provide that. But if customers believe Blu-ray is the One True Future, then why the heck would they buy yet another DVD player?
The new DL players will probably use Toshiba's new "enhanced image scaling" technology to make a run at Blu-ray's assumed superiority in that category. The SpursEngine 1000 Processor is supposed to provide upscaling that equals or improves on what Blu-ray inherently provides. That, along with genuinely useful connectivity (not dumb content), will not be enough to derail Blu-ray, but it may grab a few potential customers. On the other hand, if Toshiba goes outside the box, and introduces a low-cost player that can also stream or download movies from the Internet, then we may have something to talk about. And if those movies are HD, then we can talk about how HD DVD rose from the dead, and sneaked in through the back door. -Ken C. Pohlmann