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Panasonic Blu-ray boss says HD DVD death was suicide

One of the marketing bigwigs behind Blu-ray has gone public with an astonishing claim that Toshiba has only itself to blame for the flop that was HD DVD.

Masayuki Kozuka, a planner for Panasonic’s storage devices, believes it was not technical standards or studio support that handed the format war to Blu-ray, but Toshiba’s decision to offer sale prices on HD DVD hardware for a limited period last November.

Speaking to Nikkei Publications, Kozuka said: “I guess what sealed Toshiba’s fate was its $99 pricing on Black Friday [in the US]. That pricing must have discouraged every manufacturer from entering the HD DVD player market.”

Explaining the bizarre claim, he added: “I believe Chinese manufacturers’ entry to the US market was [the] HD DVD supporters’ last hope. Given the market price at $99, however, it became impossible for any other manufacturer but Toshiba to enter the market.”

He didn’t stop there with the strangeness – moving on to look at the predicted rise in movie downloads, Kozuka said: “Movie companies earn income by showing movies at theaters first and then by selling them as home video packages including Blu-ray Disc titles. Only after gaining the majority of their sales through these two business channels do they offer their content to video-on-demand, pay-per-view and TV broadcast services.”

In other words, legitimate film downloads will come only after rights holders milk every other distribution channel dry. So, when might we get legal content from the studios then?

Not anytime soon, according to the Panasonic man: “Our associates in the home video department don’t see any reality in the business of ‘downloading an entire movie’. I’m not sure - about seven or eight years from now, though.”

All we can say is to ask Mr Kozuka if he’s ever heard of BitTorrent or The Pirate Bay – if he had he might come across as a little bit more credible and less of a suit.

(Crossposted to TechRadar)

09:34 AM JMLH • Permalink
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