Toshiba Expected to Drop HD DVD?

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The Hollywood Reporter says reliable industry sources are telling the trade that Toshiba is expected to pull the plug on its HD DVD format sometime in the coming weeks after a rash of retail defections that followed Warner Home Video’s announcement in early January that it would support only the rival Blu-ray Disc format after May. Here are several clips from the article:

Officially, no decision has been made, insists Jodi Sally, vp of marketing for Toshiba America Consumer Products. “Based on its technological advancements, we continue to believe HD DVD is the best format for consumers, given the value and consistent quality inherent in our player offerings,” she said.

But she hinted that something’s in the air. “Given the market developments in the past month,” she said, “Toshiba will continue to study the market impact and the value proposition for consumers, particularly in light of our recent price reductions on all HD DVD players.”

But in the end, sources say, the substantial loss Toshiba is incurring with each HD DVD player sold — a figure sources say could be as high as several hundred dollars — coupled with a series of high-profile retail defections has driven the company to at last concede defeat.

“An announcement is coming soon,” said one source close to the HD DVD camp. “It could be a matter of weeks.”