Game over: Toshiba confirms death of HD DVD

[Updated] Customer hotline announced and warranties 'will be honored'

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[Updated] Not that it's a surprise or anything, but we thought you'd like to know that Toshiba has just made it official that it is pulling out of the HD DVD business by the end of next month.

As was widely expected, the Tokyo announcement came from company president Atsutoshi Nishida as part of a planned press conference on Toshiba's expanding flash memory and semiconductor businesses.

No way out

Prior to the final decision, we had speculated that the company had options other than to completely stop making HD DVD machines. Clearly, overnight moves by Samsung to distance itself from the format and yesterday's rally in Toshiba's share price persuaded the board that abandonment was the way ahead.

Describing the decision, Nishida said, "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."

Looking to the future, he added, "While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality."

The decision comes with a promise [Subscription link] to take back about 100,000 unsold HD DVD players and recorders from retailers, but not those already bought by customers. Toshiba will continue to sell standard DVD players and recorders.

Early adopters who chose HD DVD over Blu-ray are to be stuck with machines that are unlikely to ever see any new movie releases. However, support under warranty will continue and Toshiba announced a hotline for concerned customers to call.

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