Sony Declares Victory In DVD Wars

    October 21, 2005

The mighty warrior Toshiba continues to wield its katana against overwhelming odds. The allies of Sony continue to gather strength even while Toshiba tries aggressive and risky maneuvers. Sony got in a nasty stab with the announcement of Warner’s support of both formats after having only supported Toshiba’s HD-DVD previously.

The DVD wars spread over many lands. Right now, the two heavyweights supporting Toshiba remain Microsoft and Intel in the computer industry but even they have left their options open. A number of movie companies have also supported Toshiba but their support, particularly in light of Warner’s shift, may waiver.

HP joined Microsoft’s opinion ecently saying they have some concerns regarding certain copyright protections built into to the Blu-Ray format they consider more anti-consumer. These are the types of issues Microsoft said they had with the Blu-Ray format from the beginning although Microsoft signed a broad agreement for technology sharing with Toshiba also.

Sony’s Blu-Ray Disc Association, an advocacy group created to support and publicize their format, declared victory after the Warner announcement and after Gartner Research declared the Blu-Ray format would eventually win. Many feel it will take a couple of years but in the end Sony would triumph.

Toshiba issued a statement on Thursday evening:

Toshiba and Warner Bros. continue to collaborate closely toward the commercial launch of HD DVD. We understand Warner Bros. continues to strongly support HD DVD, due to its outstanding features, cost structures, and market readiness.

We recognize Warner Bros.’s participation in the Blu-ray Disc Association represents the studio’s understandable commitment to listen to broad array of opinions and to continue to make technical evaluations of each format, and we are more than confident this will not affect timely introduction of HD DVD content to the market.

The fact that new voices from within the Blu-ray camp have recently called for adoption of key features already in HD DVD – iHD for its superb PC interoperability and Mandatory Managed Copy to allow for secure DVD ripping – shows the level of technical balance achieved by the HD DVD format.

HD DVD offers already-verified volume disc production and substantial superiority in terms of recordable disc cost. It also integrates a series of advanced technologies, including AACS for robust content protection system, and VC-1, a highly efficient video compression technology, for enhanced storage capacity.

Toshiba strongly believes the HD DVD format will eventually win broad support as the more superior format, and in cooperation with our partners, we are committed to bringing HD DVD products first to market early next year in the U.S..

Toshiba also announced a strategy of offering their technology to Chinese companies. This was done in order to allow them to create incredibly inexpensive versions of the DVD player to get a major price point edge with end consumers. This foregoes some of the traditional methods of new technology proliferation. The mindset is people will pick their favorite retailer and get one of these new players for astoundingly low prices versus the theoretical higher cost of Sony’s new player.

This DVD format war has spread across multiple industries as companies from the computer, media and electronic gaming industries continue to pick sides. Toshiba is undoubtedly the underdog in this fight. The plain simple fact is the Sony product has a higher capacity. While Toshiba’s product is cheaper to produce because it will require significantly fewer changes in production, Sony has done a much better job promoting their product in the process.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.