The Toshiba Corp., in an effort to recoup some of the huge losses the company incurred when it lost the high-definition war to Sony's Blu-ray last year, has licensed its defunct HD-DVD technology to China for a new disc-based format, the China Blue High-Definition Disc (CBHD), to be sold only in that country.
CBHD players are already outselling Blu-ray players 3 to 1 in China, and the discs themselves are priced at a quarter of what Blu-ray movies sell for, because Chinese manufacturers don't have to pay to Sony's steep royalty fees when making CBHD products.
Warner Bros. has announced it will aggressively support the new format, promising to have more than 100 titles available by the end of the year. Other studios are likely to follow, since the film industry is desperate to boost the sagging home video market by whatever means necessary. The low-priced CBHD discs could also potentially help staunch the massive piracy problem in China..
None of this will hurt Blu-ray sales, which continue to rise both here and abroad. But it does give former HD-DVD supporters the possibility of having new movies to watch on their players. I still use my trusty Toshiba HD-XA1 to watch regular DVDs, because the upconverted image is better than what my PS3 can manage. Overall, I preferred HD-DVD to Blu-ray, because the picture just seemed a bit crisper and more pleasing to my eyes.