It’s official: HD DVD is dead. Putting an end to all speculation, Toshiba today announced that it will stop developing, manufacturing and marketing HD DVD players and recorders as soon as next month, handing victory to rival high definition disc format Blu-ray.

Toshiba said its decision came after careful analysis of the long-term impact of continuing the format war, and added it expected bigger profits over the next year as it will cut spending set aside to promote HD DVD. While Toshiba has lost the chance to be the leader in the $24 billion next-gen home DVD market, investors welcomed the decision to cut losses on HD DVD early to focus strengthening its flash memory business. Meanwhile, the company will continue to provide services to all owners of HD DVD products – although for how long remains unclear.

Now, HD DVD’s defeat will no doubt clear up much of the confusion over high-def DVDs among consumers, but Blu-ray still needs to convince them that their format is worth upgrading to.