July 20, 2009
| by Steve Crowe
Toshiba will finally launch its first Blu-ray player later in 2009, according to the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.
Blu-ray.com says the player is called the BD-18, and it will read both Blu-ray discs and DVDs. No specs have been released.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, quoting unnamed sources, adds that Toshiba may consider a recordable Blu-ray player in the future, depending on the market.
Toshiba, of course, lost the HD DVD vs. Blu-ray format war in early 2008 and subsequently suffered a 95 percent loss in profits.
It’s long been wondered whether Toshiba would release a Blu-ray player since the end of the format war. But in August 2008, Toshiba released the XD-E500 upconverting DVD player, promising “a near HD experience with enhanced detail and richer colors.”
Then Toshiba released a second firmware update for its HD DVD players in October 2008, addressing playback problems and other issues. A Blu-ray player certainly didn’t not appear to be in Toshiba’s plans.
But now Toshiba appears to have given in. Not only is this a surprise given Toshiba’s persistence of promoting HD DVD, but Toshiba’s UK CEO recently said Blu-ray would be rapidly outdated by digital downloads.
Toshiba must have changed its mind after seeing Blu-ray disc sales were up 91 percent in the first half of 2009.
Is Toshiba too late to the Blu-ray game? Let us know in the comments.