Arts and Culture

Microsoft ends production of HD DVD players

Staff Reporter

Microsoft is to stop making HD DVD players for its Xbox 360 video game system after Toshiba ceded the high-definition video-format battle to Sony's Blu-ray. Microsoft said on Saturday it will continue to provide standard warranty support for its HD DVD players.

Microsoft is to stop making HD DVD players for its Xbox 360 video game system after Toshiba ceded the high-definition video-format battle to Sony’s Blu-ray.

Microsoft said on Saturday it will continue to provide standard warranty support for its HD DVD players. Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida last week estimated about 300 000 people own the Microsoft video player, sold as a separate $130 add-on for the Xbox 360.

“HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high-definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high-definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own,” Blair Westlake, a corporate vice-president of Microsoft’s media and entertainment group, said in a written statement.

Microsoft was one of HD DVD’s main backers, along with Intel and Japanese electronics maker NEC, and its support for the format was seen as a big win for Toshiba’s format.

But support for the HD DVD waned as major movie studios—Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, News Corporation’s Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Brothers Entertainment—picked Blu-ray to distribute high-definition DVDs. Wal-Mart Stores struck what seemed to be the final blow just more than a week ago when it said it would only sell Blu-ray players and discs.

Microsoft said it is looking at how the HD DVD technology it has developed, such as HDi, which adds interactive features to HD DVDs, and its VC-1 video encoding technology can be applied to other platforms.

The Redmond-based software maker said the decision to stop selling HD DVD players won’t have a material impact on its video-game business.—Sapa-AP

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