Technology analysts at Gartner have waded into the HD format war by claiming that HD DVD will be thoroughly killed off this year. Things have looked pretty grave for Toshiba’s HD DVD format ever since Warner Bros. declared that it would exclusively support Blu-ray.

"Gartner believes that Toshiba's price-cutting may prolong HD DVD’s life a little, but the limited line-up of film titles will inflict fatal damage on the format," Shimizu wrote in Gartner's Semiconductor DQ Monday Report.

Post-match analysis

"Gartner expects that, by the end of 2008, Blu-ray will be the winning format in the consumer market, and the war will be over."

Of course, the rest of us know that it doesn’t take a Gartner analyst to predict the downfall of HD DVD. The format has been on shaky ground for sometime, with Warner’s pre-CES announcement seemingly being the first nail in the coffin.

Analysts are supposed to predict industry changes before they become blindingly obvious. However, it is interesting that even the more cautious among them are now weighing in on the side of Blu-ray.

Toshiba is going to have to pull off the mother of all comebacks if it’s going to keep its HD DVD format alive.