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Update: Top Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic Brass to Rekindle Next-Gen DVD Format Talks

16 May, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Apparent stalled negotiations between Blu-ray Disc backer Sony Corp. and rival HD DVD supporter Toshiba Corp. to create a unified high-definition DVD format have brought out top executives from the companies to restart the talks, according to a Reuters report from Japan.

Blu-ray supporter Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (Panasonic) president Kunio Nakamura will reportedly join in a meeting as early as this week with Sony and Toshiba counterparts, possibly incoming presidents Ryoji Chubachi (Sony) and Atsutoshi Nishida (Toshiba).Toshiba negotiator Yoshihide Fujii Monday reportedly told the Nihon Keizai newspaper that attempts to create a unified format based on Sony's technology “would be extremely difficult at this stage.”

The two companies have been engaged in long-running backroom talks aimed at reaching some type of compromise; a lack thereof, experts say, will likely lead to consumer confusion and poor sales.

A Toshiba USA spokesperson was not immediately available; on May 10, the company issued a statement reiterating its desire for a unified format.

“We recognize that the key factors for a unified format are large capacity, reasonable cost and backward-capability with DVD that maximizes consumer benefit,” said a Toshiba statement. “At this point, however, nothing has been decided.”

A Blu-ray spokesperson was not available for comment.

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