After failing to reach an agreement on merging the two next generation DVD formats, Toshiba and Sony are almost ready to launch their two competing standards. And so we will have war. Any hopes for a resolution now seem quite over, and the consumer is destined to be as baffled as ever. One can quite clearly picture hoards of people trying to decide which format to go for, and being hideously confused. And the sad thing is, for a moment it really looked like Toshiba and Sony might shake hands over next generation DVD. But no.
Toshiba said this week it will move its HD DVD standard towards a launch, after talks with Blu-ray backer Sony proved fruitless. Sony, presumably, will shrug off the failure of the talks and press on with its own launch. According to reports, both companies have suggested talks can restart, but with both formats due to appear late this year, corporate name-calling appears more likely.
Let's hope that someone has the sense to make some good multi-standard devices that can handle both formats. But that will be little comfort really - this is all a big mess and it is likely to get messier till it’s over and we have one format standing alone. That could take time.