Toshiba put HD-DVD out of its misery today. Reuters confirmed this afternoon that it will cease manufacturing HD-DVD equipment, following earlier reports from Japan’s NHK public broadcasting network.
This leaves Blu-Ray as the presumptive victor in the irrelevant optical disk format war. It now must face up to the real competition: the continuing success of DVD and the growing popularity of downloads, both on the internet and on-demand cable TV.
The end comes only a day after Wal-Mart announced it would no longer carry HD-DVD stuff. This will go a long way to confirming the view, long-held by cynics, that the mega-retailer always held the executioner’s axe to begin with, and was merely waiting until it was clear which format’s camp had the most densely-stuffed brown envelopes to throw at Hollywood.