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WSJ: Toshiba Eyes Upconverting DVD Players, Downloads

3 Mar, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Still smarting from its defeat to Sony Corp. in the format war, Toshiba Corp. is moving ahead with plans to market upconverting standard DVD players that rival Blu-ray in picture quality.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Toshiba CEO Atsutoshi Nishida said Warner Bros.' decision in January to support Blu-ray sealed the fate of HD DVD.

He said the studio's switch from format neutrality meant HD DVD movies would release no more than 20% to 30% market share.

“One has to take calculated risks in business, but it's also important to switch gears immediately if you think your decision was wrong,” Nishida told WSJ.

He said HD DVD was one of 45 strategic objectives for Toshiba, and the loss would allow the consumer electronics manufacturer to focus elsewhere, including upconverting DVD players, downloads and wireless technology.

Nishida said Toshiba plans to ramp up production of standard DVD players that improve the picture to HD quality and cost significantly less than BD players.

“Next-generation DVD players are in a much weaker position than when standard DVD players were first introduced,” he said.

Toshiba plans to expand efforts in wireless transmissions of video content from the PC to the television, including streaming and downloads.

“There was once a debate about whether the living room would be dominated by televisions or computers,” Nishida said. “Clearly, televisions are dominant, but computers can now be connected to them.”

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