Blu What?

Important! Wake the kids! Breaking news! The newest breakthrough in consumer electronics is . . . DVD!!! 

At least that's what Toshiba thinks. You'll recall Toshiba was the prime mover and shaker of DVD, and hoped to continue its revenue stream with HD DVD. That plan was foiled when Sony's Blu-ray trounced HD DVD. In March, Toshiba announced it would cease all HD DVD production. So, what does Toshiba do now? It pretends that Blu-ray doesn't exist. Kind of weird, but if you can't beat them, who says you have to join them?

Toshiba says Blu-ray is merely one of many storage formats, and with the right technology (from Toshiba, of course) good old DVD can provide all the hi-res video you'll ever need. So, they are focusing on upconverting DVD player technology (480 => 1080). What's more, this isn't merely a grudge from Toshiba's AV division, it appears the whole company is going with the plan. Case in point: Toshiba laptops don't offer Blu-ray drives.

Crazy, or crazy like a fox? If it endorses Blu-ray, Toshiba routes money to arch-rival Sony, but it also enriches itself. If it stays away from Blu-ray, it might possibly encourage the eventual failure of Blu-ray or at least its marginalization. It's also true that the DVD catalog is thousands of times bigger than the Blu-ray catalog, so at least in the short-run, better looking DVDs aren't a bad thing. And, a $10 title that looks almost as good as a $25 version might just be good enough for most people. So, does Toshiba believe Blu-ray isn't worth the cost of investment and the agony of losing face? Or is it simply a sore loser? -Ken C. Pohlmann