Toshiba To Release Blu-ray Players By This Year

toshiba-bluray-vs-hddvdJust last week, the Digital Entertainment Group released its mid-year report, and Blu-ray Disc was clearly doing well in spite of the weak economy: Both disc sales and hardware sales are up as compared with last year.

The timing of Toshiba’s plans actually makes perfect sense. Blu-ray has entered its mass market phase. The format is at a point of growth. Blu-ray player manufacturing costs have fallen off dramatically as compared with a year ago. And the street prices for players are also lower-you can now easily find a player for under $200.

All of these factors were apparently too great for Toshiba to ignore. That said, whether the company jumped into the fray because of Blu-ray’s worldwide popularity.

Earlier, Toshiba withdrew HD DVD from the market in February 2008 after a series of crippling blows gave rival Blu-ray a clear edge. At the time, Toshiba indicated that, in the absence of HD DVD, it would instead pursue a wide range of technologies that will drive mass market access to high definition content. These include high capacity NAND flash memory, small form factor hard disk drives, next generation CPUs, visual processing, and wireless and encryption technologies.

In light of all of this, the news that Toshiba will produce its own Blu-ray player is actually unsurprising. Still, it is appropriate to wonder aloud why Toshiba would swallow its pride and enter into the competitive Blu-ray Disc player market.

The Blu-ray Disc Association noted that Blu-ray had achieved over 50 percent market share in Japan-clearly that means Toshiba has been leaving potential revenue on the table for its competitors to grab.