Toshiba has paved the way for Blu-ray to dominate next-generation video by announcing its plans to stop making high-definition (HD) DVDs.

The Japanese technology firm announced Tuesday that it will cease development, production and marketing of HD DVD players and recorders after a review of its business revealed the weaknesses of the HD DVD format.

"We concluded that a swift decision would be best," Toshiba president Atsutoshi Nishida said at the company's Tokyo headquarters.

Nishida cited the decision by Warner Bros Entertainment to release DVDs solely in the Blu-ray format as crucial to today's announcement.

"That had tremendous impact," he said.

"If we had continued, that would have created problems for consumers, and we simply had no chance to win."

He confirmed Toshiba would continue to supply retailers with HD DVD players until the end of March this year as well as providing technical support to the estimated one million people across the globe who own an HD player.

Along with Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney and 20th Century Fox have all opted to only make Blu-ray DVDs.

Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks Animation are all still currently contracted to produce HD DVDs, but the withdrawal of Toshiba is likely to reduce the number of HD movies available.

While both Blu-ray and HD DVD provide the viewer with clearer picture and sound they are incompatible with each other as well as with older DVD players.

The battle between the two formats has been likened to that between VHS and Betamax in the 1980s.

19/02/2008 10:52:21