If you've been holding out on the decision to buy your high-def DVD player, you've been officially released from the burden of guessing which format will win over.
Toshiba made the announcement this week—after pressures from recent decisions in Hollywood and the retail/rental markets—that it would halt all production of HD DVD players and recorders by the end of March 2008.
This decision came just a month after Warner Brothers became the latest studio to support Sony's Blu-ray format, leaving just Universal and Paramount in HD DVD's camp.
With Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and video rental companies Blockbuster and Netflix recently announcing their plans to phase out the Toshiba-backed format, the final nails were driven into the coffin.
As stated in the press release:
"We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called 'next-generation format war' and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop," said Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation. "While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality."
Hooray for Toshiba for recognizing this. Now the question is "Is the home DVD market dying?" While we waited for one of these formats to win out, other companies have found innovative ways to deliver the same content on the Web and over devices, formed relationships with major studios, and worked hard to make the "download format" the winner that takes all.