Sony gives Toshiba six-month DVD lead

Sony / Toshiba logos

Sony is giving consumer electronics rival Toshiba a six-month head start in Japan's next-generation DVD format war. Sony said it would launch its Blu-ray high-definition DVD player—which can also record—in Japan in October. Toshiba's rival HD-DVD players went on sale in Japan in March.

The Blu-ray launch will be accompanied by the release of 75 movie titles in the Blu-ray disc format, including Swordfish, Syriana and The Da Vinci Code. By that time Toshiba is expected to have up to 150 HD-DVD titles on the market in Japan and Europe.

US business magazines reviewed the first next-generation players to go on sale in the US earlier this month. All agreed that a dearth of content could hold back the take-off of either technology.

Reviewers also lamented the failure of the Blu-ray camp, led by Sony, to agree a unified format with the HD-DVD camp, led by Toshiba.

Toshiba and Sony attempted to collaborate last year on a unified standard, but talks broke down when each party insisted that their format was the only reasonable way forward.

Industry analysts suggest that the popularity of next-generation DVDs will not take off until the issue of a standard format is resolved, ending confusion among consumers similar to that caused by the VHS/Betamax war of the 1980s.

Lovelace Consulting  |  30.08.2006

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