Sony boss Sir Howard Stringer has said that the battle between Blu-ray and HD DVD is now at a 'stalemate' - and wishes he'd done a deal with Toshiba that would have merged the two high def formats into one.

Stringer told the Associated Press that Blu-ray was winning on merit, until Hollywood studio Paramount decided to switch sides to the rival HD DVD format.

He also said he wished he could travel back in time and unite the two formats.

Sony and Toshiba had tried unify the two HD disc standards in 2005 and 2006, but talks broke up after both sides failed to compromise over key technologies.

Stringer's comments show that he at least has learned some valuable lessons from the past.

Sony vs Toshiba

The Blu-ray / HD DVD spat is in many ways reminiscent of the 'high definition' audio battle between DVD-Audio (pioneered by Toshiba) and SACD (headed up by Sony / Philips). Both got backing from big media companies, but public confusion over both formats - and the rise of the iPod - ultimately led to their commercial doom.

When Toshiba and Sony do get on though everyone benefits. It was the unification of technologies in Toshiba's SD format with Sony / Philips' MMCD that eventually led to the birth of DVD-Video in 1995.