Enterprises, Microsoft unmoved by end of DVD war

Observers have said the death of HD DVD will have little impact on the Australian business market after Toshiba's announcement to end production of the format, concluding a two year battle between Toshiba and rival Sony, the chief backer of the Blu-ray format.

Observers have said the death of HD DVD will have little impact on the Australian business market after Toshiba's announcement to end production of the format, concluding a two year battle between Toshiba and rival Sony, the chief backer of the Blu-ray format.

Toshiba officially confirmed on Tuesday that it will end production of HD DVD format devices, conceding defeat in a battle which began in March 2006 when the company launched its HD-A1 player and accompanying disc format.

"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," president and CEO of Toshiba Atsutoshi Nishida said in a statement.

According to Nishida, the company had "decided it was not right for us to keep going with such a small presence", despite Microsoft being one of the principal supporters of the format.

The software juggernaut employed the format extensively as part of its consumer range, but also in enterprise as a video storage medium. Despite this, it is predicted that the decision will not have serious ramifications for any Australian businesses.

"We've not heard of anyone from Australia depending on this technology to any large degree," said John Brand, research director for analyst group Hydrasight.

He told ZDNet.com.au today: "No one has really placed any bets on formats from the enterprise side of things."

A Microsoft statement released to coincide with Toshiba's announcement said the company believes the decision to drop HD DVD will "not have any material impact" on its position in the marketplace.

"Microsoft knows better than anyone that the only standard that matters is ubiquity, and it's normally them forcing this kind of decision on others; in this situation they've had it forced on themselves," said Hydrasight's Brand.

"The reality is that there's always going to be changes in formats, and no one's going to bet their enterprise archiving capabilities on one thing, especially from a long term perspective. I mean, the actual life of a writable DVD is only about 20 years," he said.

The analyst said the decision may have some impact on organisations keeping substantial video archives on the format, but given that Toshiba has declared its intention to provide ongoing support for users even after it ceases production, in most cases it will not be a "make or break decision".

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