As feared, talks between the major players as regards the next generation DVD format disputes have broken down and come to nothing. According to reports in the Japanese press, negotiations between Sony and Toshiba (which were wobbly at best to begin with anyway) have fallen apart, with the two companies indefinitely suspending talks aimed at avoiding a standards war. What does this mean? Well, basically, it means we are getting a standards war, plain and simple. Some time soon, expect to see hoards of confused consumers trying desperately to understand the differences between the two formats. Expect to pay for a player that has a chance of being defunct in a couple of years when that format dies out. Expect to be ripped off. Expect to buy certain movies more than once. One can’t escape the feeling that it did not have to be this way.

Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the latest attempts to agree a unified standard have failed - and both camps have confirmed that they are now well underway in the development of products using their respective DVD formats.