July 24, 2008 by Gordon Jones
As if I need to remind, the recent Blu-ray / HD DVD battle was not only bloody but also very, very expensive for all involved. Both Sony and Toshiba burned through their budgets (and then some) on aggressive promotions, sly marketing and hyper-rapid product development.
In the end, BD won and Toshiba announced that rather than join the party, they would instead focus on improving the standard DVD technologies. Many assumed this meant enhancing the image scaling capabilities via their SpursEngine 1000 processor, a pint-sized version of the Cell BE CPU. While falling short of the Blu-ray picture quality (not to mention sound) such an improvement could pump life into the established format. Likewise, many also assumed this change in direction heralded an end to their HD DVD technologies.
Given the latest announcement from the DVD Forum, however, it appears Toshiba might not yet be ready to call the game over. On June 11, the organization’s Steering Committee, chaired by Toshiba (nudge, nudge), approved a new DVD Download/DL logo, suggesting web connectivity, ala HD DVD. Again, this technology alone is hardly a threat to the growing Blu-ray market, but could signal a strategy to prolong the life of standard discs.
The committee also approved an updated specification of C-HD DVD, a Chinese version of the HD DVD format. Aimed squarely at China’s 1 billion+ consumers, it’s hard to imagine anything but a Lazarus scenario is in the works. Whether Toshiba can pull it off is anyone’s guess.
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