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Toshiba HD DVD press conference: Whoops, our bad

Crave battled through a million tech journalists to get to Toshiba's CES press conference -- would it admit HD DVD was dead after Warner jumped ship?

Toshiba didn't actually admit HD DVD was dead and buried during its CES press conference, but it was quite clear it knew the game was up. The tech journalists were circling like vultures, waiting to pick the meat of failure from the bones of a seriously ill-looking HD format. The conference started with the head of Toshiba digital AV repeating how disappointed Toshiba was by Warner's decision to back Blu-ray exclusively and how it still had faith in the format.

The problem is, it doesn't matter how much faith Toshiba has in HD DVD, if the public doesn't have any it won't sell any more players.

The sad part of this is that HD DVD had a good pre-Christmas period, and had managed to sell plenty of discs and players -- Toshiba claimed there are now over 1 million HD DVD players in the market now. It's just a shame that sooner or later we're going to have to start referring to them as 'door stops' instead of HD DVD players.

The question on everyone's lips was, "Will the HD DVD group force Paramount to stick to releasing movies on HD DVD, or will there be a clause in the contract that allows them to back out of the exclusivity deal?" We suspect that while no one will officially admit that HD DVD is dead, it won't be long before the two studios left will lose interest in releasing movies.

However you look at it, it must be hard on poor old Tosh. Everywhere you look here in Vegas there are taxis festooned with the HD DVD logo -- even the Las Vegas convention centre has signs up proclaiming that HD DVD is the format of the future. -Ian Morris