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Source: Format Talks Not Over Despite Reported Toshiba, Sony Impasse

23 Aug, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Despite a Japanese media report Tuesday that said rival high-definition DVD manufacturers Toshiba Corp. and Sony Corp. had broken off unified format talks, a U.S.-based spokesperson for the Blu-ray Disc format said the impasse is an isolated situation.

Sony, which backs the Blu-ray format, has said it would incorporate the format in the pending PlayStation 3 game console and its home video releases by the end of 2006. Meanwhile, a number of HD DVD software supporters have delayed plans to release product until 2006, and Toshiba appears to be the sole CE manufacturer to debut a player in the fourth quarter.

“We are trying to draw a box around that [impasse],” said Andy Parsons, SVP, industrial solutions business group with Blu-ray backer Pioneer Electronics. “[Sony and Toshiba] do not speak on behalf of all of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) or the DVD Forum. Even if they had come up with a type of resolution, they would have had to have that approved by all the Blu-ray companies and the DVD Forum companies.”

Parsons acknowledged that Toshiba and Sony had separately spearheaded competing high-definition disc formats and remained very influential in the process. But he reiterated that with more 130-member companies in the BDA there were more than two companies involved.

“The fact that it is being reported that unification is dead and there is no hope for it is a bit of an overstatement since it is now apparent that Toshiba is delaying product launch until next year,” Parsons said. “That may actually give us more time to continue to have further discussions to unify the two formats. We really don't want two formats going to markets.”

At deadline, representatives from Toshiba and Sony were not immediately available for comment.

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