HD-DVD launch cancelled for Christmas

An announcement just came in that couldn’t make me happier. Toshiba has just announced that they will not able to launch their HD-DVD format this year. In emails to its studio partners the hardware maker said that it would re-time the launch of the format to ensure maximum software and retail support. That, of course, is complete spin. Neither software nor retailers are having trouble to launch on time. It is in fact the hardware itself that causes problems. Toshiba prematurely announced the format before it was fully developed and has never been able to get beyond the early protoype stage. Not to speak of the horrible limitations this format would impose on HD-DVD video releases.

With this delay – which was already expected by many in the industry – the HD-DVD format loses its only benefit it used to have against the competing Blu-Ray format. Technologically the HD-DVD format is inferior to Blu-Ray and only the fact that it would have allowed studios to release high definition programming sooner was a valid selling point.

Blu-Ray has gathered a lot of momentum in recent months and with this announcement and its only competitive advantage gone, there is a good likelihood that some of the studios that had already committed to the HD DVD format may reconsider and join the Blu-Ray camp instead. Blue-Ray is scheduled for launch during the summer of 2006.

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