While Toshiba has not officially admitted defeat, the format war is pretty much over. In an odd twist, Toshiba has been rewarded for its rumored plan to axe the HD DVD format. According to Bloomberg.com, the price of Toshiba shares rose by 5.7% percent, reaching a seven-week high, on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Toshiba climbed 5.7 percent to 829 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, a level not seen since Dec. 28. Toshiba is reviewing whether to completely end HD DVD production, said a person familiar with the plan, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private, confirming a report by Kyodo news on Feb. 16.

The shares also rose after Nikko Citigroup Ltd. upgraded the stock, saying a withdrawal may add 50 billion yen ($464 million) to earnings next fiscal year. U.S. retailers said last week they'll stop selling HD DVD products after Warner Bros. Entertainment, the top DVD publisher, sided with Blu-ray.
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Earlier today, Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, reported that Toshiba was going to pull the plug on the HD DVD format. An anonymous source at Toshiba has now told Reuters that the company is working on an exit plan and an official announcedment could come as early as next week.
A source at Toshiba confirmed an earlier report by public broadcaster NHK that it was getting ready to pull the plug.

"We have entered the final stage of planning to make our exit from the next generation DVD business," said the source, who asked not to be identified. He added that an official announcement could come as early as next week.
According to the original report, Toshiba will continue to sell HD DVD players for a while but will stop further development of the format. Add a comment
Good news for Blu-ray fans. Best Buy announced today that they will be recommending Blu-ray as the preferred high-def format. To show its support, the electronics retailer will also be showcasing Blu-ray products on its website and in its retail stores.
Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is taking a step forward in addressing consumer confusion about high-definition formats. Beginning in early March, the leading consumer electronics retailer will prominently showcase Blu-ray hardware and software products in its Best Buy retail and online channels in the United States.

“Consumers have told us that they want us to help lead the way. We’ve listened to our customers, and we are responding. Best Buy will recommend Blu-ray as the preferred format,” said Brian Dunn, Best Buy’s president and chief operating officer. “Our decision to shine a spotlight on Blu-ray Disc players and other Blu-ray products is a strong signal to our customers that we believe Blu-ray is the right format choice for them.”

Dunn continued, “Best Buy has always believed that the customer will benefit from a widely-accepted single format that would offer advantages such as product compatibility and expanded content choices. Because we believe that Blu-ray is fast emerging as that single format, we have decided to focus on Blu-ray products.”
Things definitely aren't looking good for HD DVD. Without big retailers like Best Buy behind them, its going to be very hard for the format to regain its market share. If you'd like to read more, Best Buy's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
HD DVD was dealt another major blow today. According to CNN, Wal-Mart has decided to phase out HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray. Starting in June, the retailer will only stock Blu-ray titles and movies in its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores.
National discount retailer Wal-Mart announced Friday that it had decided to only sell Sony's Blu-ray hi-definition movie discs, and will phase out Toshiba's competing HD-DVD formatted discs over the next several months.

Wal-Mart said that by June, its 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores would sell only Blu-ray discs and Blu-ray hardware players. Blu-ray and Toshiba's HD-DVD format are not compatible.

"We've listened to our customers, who are showing a clear preference toward Blu-ray products and movies with their purchases," said Gary Severson, Wal-Mart's Senior Vice President of Home Entertainment in a statement.
With Wal-mart going Blu-ray, I think its safe to say that the format war is truly over. Without the support of the nation's largest retailer, there is little chance of HD DVD making a comeback. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
While Samsung's Blu-ray players have had their share of problems, things like compatibility issues have been resolved via firmware updates. Apparently, these fixes aren't coming fast enough for some early adopters. Samsung has been served with a class action complaint, claiming that the company has knowingly been selling "defective" Blu-ray players since June 2006.
Chimicles & Tikellis LLP, along with its co-counsel, filed a class action complaint in the District Court for the District of New Jersey against Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (“Samsung”) on behalf of consumers who purchased allegedly defective Blu-Ray DVD players. DVD players that play disks in Blu-Ray format, which refers to the high-density storage of digital information, are high-end appliances that, when working properly, are supposed to provide more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs, according to the complaint. The complaint alleges that as a result of a design or manufacturing defect, certain Blu-Ray DVD players made and sold by Samsung will not play numerous Blu-Ray disc titles. Samsung sold its Blu-Ray DVD players without disclosing this material defect, and has failed to issue firmware updates or promptly take corrective action to repair or replace the allegedly defective Blu-Ray disc players, according to the complaint.
The complaint seeks monetary damages ($5 million) and other relief, including a court order forcing Samsung to repair and/or replace its allegedly defective Blu-Ray DVD players. If you'd like to read more, the entire class action complaint can be found here. Add a comment