With an announcement from Toshiba imminent, the next-gen movie format war is almost at an end, with HD-DVD falling to its Sony-boosted rival, Blu-ray.
According to Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei, Toshiba is expected to announce its immediate withdrawal from the HD DVD business in a press conference at 5PM Tuesday Tokyo time (7PM EST).
Toshiba president Atsutoshi Nishida is expected to announce that Toshiba will cease all development, production and sales of HD DVD players effective immediately, the newspaper reports.
Last week, major US retailer Wal-Mart announced that it would be dropping the HD-DVD format, and reports circulated over the weekend that even Toshiba would soon be admitting the battle was over.
Wal-Mart joins retailers Blockbuster, Woolworths, Best Buy and Netflix, which all have announced that they would be favouring the Blu-ray format. Blu-ray has also been winning the war on the production side of the industry, as evidenced by January's announcement from Warner Bros. that it would be going Blu-ray exclusive. That leaves only Paramount and Universal holding out in the HD-DVD camp.
Sony is likely to be rejoicing at the news, as the PlayStation 3 is also a Blu-ray disc player, and if the format wins the battle sales of the machine will leap. Its rival, the Xbox 360, only plays DVD movies, but a USB addon costing AU$130 is available for watching HD-DVD movies.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has issued a statement saying it is not concerned with reports that HD-DVD will be joining the choir invisible. It said: "We do not believe the recent reports about HD-DVD will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. As we've long stated, we believe it is games that sell consoles, and Xbox 360 continues to have the largest next-gen games library with the most exclusives and best selling games in the industry."
Microsoft also said it will be waiting for the official word from manufacturer Toshiba before it makes a decision on the future of the addon HD-DVD player for the 360.
Local Toshiba representatives were unaware of any official announcement being scheduled from Toshiba.