Ever since losing the high-def format war to Blu-ray, Toshiba has resolutely refused to join the enemy camp and start manufacturing Blu-ray products.
Until now that is. According to reports coming out of its annual shareholder meeting in Tokyo, Toshiba is considering making Blu-ray products.
The company’s president, Atsutoshi Nishida, told shareholders that Blu-ray recorders in particular appear to be a viable option, reports CrunchGear.
The logic appears to be that with demand for Blu-ray recorders increasing (especially in Japan) Toshiba cannot afford to miss out on a slice of that market.
There is also Toshiba’s current financial plight – although for the current fiscal year, Nishida said his company is expected to save USD $3.5 billion after a poor 2008.
The company’s change of attitude comes as a survey by Harris Interactive suggests the picture for Blu-ray is still far from rosy.
It shows that the percentage of American adults with a HDTV is up from 35 in May 2008 to 47 per cent today.
But the only 7 per cent of Americans own a Blu-ray player – up from 4 per cent a year ago. By comparison, 11 per cent of Americans own a machine that plays the now-defunct HD DVD format.
Milton Ellis, VP and senior consultant for Harris Interactive, said only 7 per cent of non-Blu-ray owners is considering buying a Blu-ray disc player within the next year, down from 9 per cent in May 2008.
He said Blu-ray adoption is being hampered by competition from alternative technologies, such as cable and satellite TV and the Internet, all of which offer HD content.
"Consumers today can easily watch high-definition TV channels or use the Internet or video-on-demand to access high-definition movies," he said.
"In the near future, access to high-definition movies may be a download or streaming delivery of one’s favorite movies to a home media server that eliminates the need for a Blu-ray player and Blu-ray disc."
However, the Blu-ray Disc Association has challenged the accuracy of the Harris Poll.
It said the Harris survey doesn’t chime with actual shipping and sales numbers for Blu-ray.
The BDA cited Adams Media Research data that puts the numbers closer to nearly 8 per cent for Blu-ray and less than 1 per cent for HD DVD.
Calling the Harris data "grossly inaccurate", the news release states that by the end of 2009, Blu-ray players will be in nearly 15 per cent of American TV homes.
Tom Adams, president of Adams Media Research, suggested the Harris survey findings were a result of consumers’ inability to identify what exactly is next to their TVs.
"Some people believe a DVD player on an HDTV is high-def," he said.
"There’s just so much confusion out there. Everybody makes mistakes, but we have models that show those numbers just can’t be true."