Samsung says "No Dice" on hybrid players while Toshiba pushes for a unified disc standard

There appears to be no end in sight for the HD DVD versus Blu-ray format war. Although there were previous rumblings that Samsung would help ease the tension a little by releasing a hybrid HD DVD/Blu-ray player before the year is out, the company has issued a public statement contrary to those reports, "Samsung Electronics is fully committed to the Blu-ray format and currently only has plans to introduce a Blu-ray player to the market."

While having a hybrid HD DVD/Blu-ray set-top player may seem like a quick and dirty fix to ease consumers into the next generation of high-definition content, it’s not a very efficient or cost-effective solution to the clashing formats. Toshiba, one of the biggest proponents of the HD DVD format, is still pushing to unify both standards in the near future. Doing so would dispense with the format clash that is looking remarkably similar to the VHS/Betamax showdown that we saw over 20 years ago. "We have not given up on a unified format. We would like to seek ways for unifying the standards if opportunities arise," remarked Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida.

Although a unified standard taking the best of HD DVD and Blu-ray sounds like an excellent proposition for consumers, it’s not likely that Sony is willing to reach a compromise anytime soon. The company has too much invested in its next generation DVD format and its PlayStation 3 will be the poster-child for Blu-ray technology. Blu-ray also has backing from a number of major movie studios including 20th Century Fox, Lions Gate Home Entertainment, MGM, Paramount Pictures, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Brothers. On the other hand, HD DVD has support from Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers.

All in all, it would seem as though Toshiba is the only company pushing for a unified standard, even if the other companies will adopt hybrid players.

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