As soon as Toshiba announced that it was ditching HD DVD and admitting defeat, two questions immediately stood up and demanded attention. The first - ‘what went wrong?’ - was
answered when we spoke to Toshiba this morning
. But the second - ‘will Toshiba join the Blu-ray Disc Association?’ - is still up in the air.
When we spoke to Olivier Van Wynendaele, deputy general manager of HD DVD at Toshiba, earlier, he refused to confirm or deny whether Toshiba has any plans to unite with the likes of Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and Philips in the Blu-ray camp.
“Our line on that is simple this morning, Toshiba currently has no plans to join the BDA. Obviously we’d never say never, but at the moment we have no plans,” he said.
Van Wynendaele did, however, confirm that Toshiba certainly does not have any BD products in the works at present. And he also said that no decision has been made on whether or not to build Blu-ray players in the future.
“We’re reviewing our strategies in this space, but there’s certainly no plans at the moment,” he told us.
Toshiba: to Blu-ray or not to Blu-ray?
However, it seems crazy that Toshiba would abstain from releasing HD optical disc players in the long term. There is potentially a lot of money to be made, and once the embarrassment and the pain has died down a little, many people expect Toshiba to join 'team Blu'.
One thing that Van Wynendaele did confirm, however, is that Toshiba is still very much committed to the development of HD technologies.
“Of course we will continue our involvement in HD. We’ve got flash memory products, hard disc drives, encryption technologies, HD wireless technologies to focus on. We have strategies in this domain and we are still committed to producing the best products.”
In fairness to Toshiba, it’s a prestigious company which makes some of the best products on the market. It’s already taken a big knock to its reputation with the death of HD DVD. Immediately joining the Blu-ray side would be like an army surrendering and then kneeling in submission before its enemy. It’s got more self respect than that, and rightly so.
When things die down a bit, we might hear something from Toshiba regarding plans to make a Blu-ray player. But not before.