Toshiba took a costly hit last week at CES when Time Warner took their partnership away from HD DVD to Blu-ray exclusively. This happened just when CES was about to take place, putting Toshiba in an awkward position. You see, Toshiba had invested a lot of capital promoting HD DVD at the world’s largest tradeshow, and all of those marketing dollars went from a serious campaign to a humorous irony with show attendees mocking HD DVD.

Naturally, despite media’s constant barrage of inquiries from Toshiba reps, they remained positive (not that they were going to criticize their own format and admit defeat), but their booth took on a new level of hustle bustle that we are sure had Toshiba reps working feverishly. It was an interesting sight to see, to say the least.

In our interview with Toshiba, the reps remained positive and said the company will take active steps to correct the issue. Whatever that means. Additionally, Toshiba did admit to not admitting defeat. And we suppose it makes sense now. Right after CES, Toshiba promised to launch an HD DVD advertising campaign and decided to cut 50 percent prices on HD DVD players to encourage quicker and affordable adoption, which, we believe, will help the company win back lost studios, or so they think.

Blank media manufacturers, such as Ritek, said they were unsure about HD DVD’s future, but it did believe it didn’t look fruitful considering Time Warner’s latest move. Nearly all media companies we talked to said they were unsure with doubtful smiles that suggested otherwise. While attendees gossiped about the incident (it was one of the hottest topics at CES) and claimed HD DVD dead, companies were all in disagreement, yet relieved, of HD DVD as a failed format. Their replies were contradictory to their body language, and it was obvious.

You have to understand that disc makers are just as frustrated to invest in R&D to develop both formats with an uncertain future, and if there’s anything, they would much rather pick one and go with that. Just like everyone else obviously. There you have it, folks. Toshiba isn’t admitting defeat, but everyone else is ready to give up and looking at the recent price cuts as a desperate sign before Toshiba packs its bags and goes home. Seriously, it’s about time we end these format wars and get them over with. Don’t they have better things to do?

[Gundeep Hora]

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