Toshiba gives in to Blu-ray success

TOKYO: Japan's Toshiba Corp. will enter the Blu-ray DVD market, more than a year after it gave up on its own next-generation format that failed to gain industry support, a report said.

The media-electronics conglomerate will launch Blu-ray products as early as this year, a complete reversal of its position over the high-density DVD standard, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said.

Toshiba had promoted its "HD DVD format", pitting itself against the Blu-ray system developed by Sony and its partners, in a competition characterised as a re-run of the VHS-Betamax battle in video cassette tapes in the late 1970s.

Major Hollywood studios with vast movie back catalogues sided with Blu-ray, which then dominated the key Japanese market.

The move pushed Toshiba to concede defeat and give up on promoting HD DVD in early 2008, in an echo of Sony's Betamax setback a generation ago.

Toshiba considered making a comeback by developing next-generation televisions and eyeing distribution of television programmes and movies via the Internet.

But rapid growth of demand for Blu-ray products in Japan encouraged Toshiba to enter the Blu-ray market, the Yomiuri said.