To make the situation even more tenuous for Toshiba, Microsoft and the rest of the HD DVD camp, Variety reports that Universal is now free of any further HD DVD commitments, except for some upcoming promotions.
While Toshiba is putting on a brave face, despite receiving the shock of its life at the Consumer Electronics Show when Warner Bros announced its exclusive support for Blu-ray, pundits are widely predicting that it's only a matter of time before the consumer electronics giant throws in the towel. It would be a bitter pill to swallow indeed if it were forced to start making Blu-ray players.
With studios and retailers now firmly behind Blu-ray and an established and growing installed player base, thanks to the PlayStation 3 console, Sony looks set to finally get some payback for its bitter defeat in the VHS versus Betamax VCR war more than two decades ago. The win should provide some consolation and relief for Sony, which has suffered more than its share of troubles over the past year.
As for Microsoft, it appears to have dug itself a hole by backing HD DVD. While some pundits speculate that Microsoft's salvation will come through HD downloads making HD video disks obsolete, this is fanciful at best. The general feeling is that there are still quite a few years of life left in the optical disk format before downloads start to take over.