Toshiba has finally announced the discontinuation of its HD DVD businesses today after several days of intense speculation surrounding the next generation DVD format.
The decision was taken after a board meeting on Tuesday and a company statement cited "major changes in the market" in reference to a slew of Hollywood studios and retailers announcing exclusive support of Sony's Blu-ray format in the last couple of months.
"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," said Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation.
"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 company will now refocus its efforts on a variety of high definition technologies, including "NAND flash memory, small form factor hard disk drives, next generation CPUs, visual processing, and wireless and encryption technologies," the statement went on to say.
Shipments of HD DVD players and recorders will now slow to a trickle and stop altogether by the end of March, although Toshiba will continue to provide product support and after-sales service for its products already sold.
The move, an effective reversal of fortunes for Sony after it lost out in the 1980's with its Betamax video format, is likely to have a strong knock-on effect for sales of standalone Blu-ray products as well as PlayStation 3 consoles.
A recent analyst report stated that the PS3 would experience the largest growth of any console this year, more than doubling its installed base by the end of the year to over 20 million units worldwide.