You smell that blood in the water from the big battle over the next generation of DVD format? Sony has emerged the winner in developing a new recording, rewriting and playback system for high-definition video.

Toshiba's HD-DVD knock down has been in the works for awhile, though.


On Sony's side, we first saw five major movie studios opt for the Blu-ray format. Sony, Walt Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Lions Gate Entertainment and MGM all lined up behind Sony.

But then in August, we saw Paramount join join Universal to back Toshiba's HD-DVD format. There still seemed to be a chance Toshiba would make a comeback at that point.

But then, last month, Warner Bros. Entertainment decided to release movie discs only in the Blu-ray format. And then the pounding on HD-DVD kept coming.

In early February, Netflix said it would phase out

HD-DVDs and only offer Blu-ray Discs exclusively (following a similar move by Blockbuster). Then on Friday, the U.S.'s largest retailer Wal-Mart announced that it would sell only Blu-ray Discs and hardware (similar to an announcement from Target). This morning, Toshiba announced that it's bowing out of this fight and will cease producing HD-DVD hardware, software and other tools.

That news will probably make the million or so people who bought Toshiba's HD-DVD players, recorders and DVDs groan. But I'm thinking everyone else who picked Sony or the many, many more people like me who aren't early adopters and who weren't about to spend hundreds on a possibly soon-to-be obsolete high-def DVD player are really happy that we know for sure which one we should buy now.

After all, I can't imagine anyone who was pulling for and bought Betamax is all that pleased that VHS ended up winning that video format war.

I'm not about to run out and buy a Blu-ray player just yet, though. I'm still hoping that the prices will drop a little bit. Shoooot, by the time I bought my current DVD player, it only cost me $100. Yea yea, I was too cheapwanted to make extra sure those DVDs were definitely here to stay.

(AP Photo)