Senior Toshiba executives claim that a HD DVD player that upscales a normal DVD movie will deliver quality almost equal to a HD DVD movie or a Blu-ray movie. They also claim that a consumer will struggle to notice the difference if playing it on a new generation plasma or LCD TV. As a result the company will not be refunding consumers who will still be able to play up to a 1,000 released HD DVD movies and watch upscaled DVD movies on their Toshiba HD DVD players.
Mark Whittard the General Manager of Toshiba Australia also claims that Sony and their Blu-ray format may have won an early battle in the format but they have not won the war. He believes that content delivered over the web direct to TVs, some with full PC capability built in, coupled with a new generation of portable storage that will allow consumers to download movies from a kiosk in a retailer or at a public transport locations and then play it on their TV will be the next battle for Blu-ray.
Whittard, a seasoned technology executive, believes that the early demise of HD DVD could be a blessing in disguise for Toshiba and while costing them money now could in fact result in Toshiba moving on to new technology ahead of their competitors.
At a retail level Toshiba is refusing to give any refunds to consumers who have purchased a HD DVD player in Australia and are confident that they will be out of the market “Totally” by April. He claims that there is still “inherent value” in the players as they upscale a traditional DVD and have an Ethernet connection. Toshiba has promised to deliver ongoing full product support and after-sales service for all existing HD DVD owners for five years.
Whittard said.”There is nothing wrong with the products so we aren’t accepting returns from customers. We have spoken to retailers like Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi and they are comfortable with our decision”.
Whittard’s decision is backed by one of Australia’s biggest retailers. Scott Browning the Marketing Director of JB Hi-Fi said “The HD DVD player is now a superseded product. It will still play HD DVD moves and will also upscale a DVD movie. It is not as if the consumer has purchased the wrong product or the product is faulty”.
He added: “I think Toshiba have made the right decision and that they will benefit from it long term. While Blu-ray has won a battle, the issue of content delivery is still wide open and the internet and delivery of content to hard drives that plug into a TV is still something that the Blu-ray backers have to contend with”.