Howard Stringer, the chief executive officer of Sony Corp., said at a news-conference that the war between two high-definition formats – Blu-ray and HD DVD – is a stalemate and that it was just a matter of prestige for Sony or Toshiba to see their backed format win. The claim seems really logical as the war between the formats slowdowns adoption of high-definition video in general.
“It’s a difficult fight. […] We were trying to win on the merits, which we were doing for a while, until Paramount changed sides. [But winning] doesn’t mean as much as all that,” said Howard Stringer at the 92nd Street Y cultural center in Manhattan, reports Associated Press news-agency.
Currently Toshiba sells its HD-A2 players for about $200 in the U.S., whereas Blu-ray disc players are available at the price that exceeds $400. Nevertheless, since Sony PlayStation 3 game console (which was sold in more than 4 million units quantity) features built-in Blu-ray disk drive, Sony can claim higher installed base of BD players compared to Toshiba-backed HD DVD format. Nevertheless, given that gamers acquire PlayStation 3 to play games, but not watch high-definition movies, Toshiba has all chances to win the format war in the longer term due to the fact that customers buy its standalone HD DVD players specifically to watch movies.
The format war has been slowing down sales of both Blu-ray disc as well as HD DVD players and obviously both Sony and Toshiba have suffered from the war. Nevertheless, neither Sony, nor Toshiba, have announced plans to release a player capable of both BD and HD DVD playback.
Toshiba lead the development of the original DVD format as well as HD DVD in the nineties, whereas Sony developed such failed standards as ATRAC, Betamax, Super Audio CD and UMD. Nevertheless, given that Blu-ray disc is also supported by companies like Matsushita, Pioneer and others, it may not share the destiny with Betamax, which lost the video cassette war against VHS.
Blu-ray and HD DVD formats compete for replacing the DVD standard. HD DVD discs can store up to 15GB on a single layer and up to 30GB on two layers. Its competitor, Blu-ray, can store up to 27GB per single layer and up to 50GB on two layers, but Blu-ray discs are more expensive to produce. The HD DVD is pushed aggressively by Toshiba and NEC as well as being standardized at the DVD Forum, which represents over 230 consumer electronics, information technology, and content companies worldwide. Blu-ray is backed by Sony and Panasonic, which are among the world’s largest makers of electronics. Among Hollywood studios HD is supported by Warner Bros. Studios, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, whereas Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox endorse Blu-ray.