Blu-ray beating HD in DVD war

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The Associated Press

TOKYO _Sony’s Blu-ray technology is emerging as the likely winner in the format battle for the next generation of DVD players after Toshiba appeared ready to ditch its HD DVD business.

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.

HD DVD has been competing against Blu-ray disc technology, backed by Sony Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic brand products, five major Hollywood movie studios and others.

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.

Only one video format has been expected to emerge as the victor, much like VHS trumped Sony’s Betamax in the video format battle of the 1980s.

This time, however, it appears Sony will end up on the winning side.