When you next pop your favorite DVD movie into your DVD player, stop and thank Toshiba, one of the first companies to develop the format.
The company first started out as Tokyo Shibaura Denki in 1939, only adopting its nickname of Toshiba formally in 1978. While it used to be a manufacturer of heavy electrical machinery, Toshiba has evolved today to focus on three core businesses: firstly, digital products such as PCs, mobile phones and AV equipment such as flat-panel televisions; secondly, electronic devices and components such as semiconductors and LCDs; and thirdly, infrastructure systems such as medical systems and broadcasting systems.
The Japanese company prides itself on its innovation, having chalked up several firsts in its homeland, ranging from washing machines and refrigerators to the first Japanese word processor. Its contributions to the rest of the world are no less inferior, having developed the world's first four- and six-megabit NAND-type memory in 1991 and 1992 respectively.
Around the same time, Toshiba had, alongside other partners, pushed for one standard in the high density optical storage market, and succeeded. The company then went on to be one of the developers of what we now know as the DVD format.
Twenty years later, the company finds itself in a similar position again, as it pushes for the HD-DVD format to be accepted as the standard for the larger-capacity DVD format that will allow for the backing up of more data and recording of high-definition television.
Will it succeed again? Watch this space.