Such a move would help consumers know which system to invest in and would likely boost sales in Blu-ray gadgets, analysts say. But it will disappoint the 1 million people around the world estimated by Toshiba who have already bought HD DVD players.
Toshiba Corp. said Monday no decision has been made but acknowledged it had started a review of its HD DVD strategy. The comments follow a flurry of weekend Japanese media reports that the company was close to pulling the plug on the business.
A company official, speaking on condition of anonymity because she isn’t authorized to speak on the matter, said a board meeting could be held as soon as Tuesday, where a decision is likely.
Both formats deliver crisp, clear high-definition pictures and sound, but they are incompatible with each other, and neither plays on older DVD players. HD DVD was touted as being cheaper because it was more similar to previous video technology, while Blu-ray boasted bigger recording capacity. Both formats play on high-definition TVs.
This time, however, it appears Sony will end up on the winning side.
“If true, this will be good news for the next-generation DVD industry in clearing up the confusion for consumers because of the format competition that had curbed buying,” said Koya Tabata, electronics analyst at Credit Suisse in Tokyo. “This will work toward a profit boost for Sony.”
The reasons behind Blu-ray’s apparent triumph over HD DVD are complex, analysts said, as marketing, management maneuvers and other factors are believed to have played into the shift to Blu-ray’s favor that became more decisive during the critical holiday shopping season.
Recently, the Blu-ray disc format has been gaining market share, especially in Japan. A study on fourth quarter sales last year by market researcher BCN Inc. found that by unit volume, Blu-ray made up 96 percent of Japanese sales.