From a Yomiuri Shimbun article...
Toshiba, Sony fail to unify DVD format
A unified format for next-generation DVD technology appears to have become impossible after the Sony Corp.-led group and the Toshiba Corp. bloc failed to reach agreement in their negotiations on a standard format, sources said Monday.
Sony, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and other companies support the Blu-ray format, while Toshiba and others back the HD DVD format.
Time is running out for the joint development of a new format for marketing next-generation DVD products from the end of the year. As a result, there will be two incompatible DVD formats and software products on the market.
A prolonged format battle like the one between VHS and Betamax two decades ago likely will discourage consumers from shifting to the new products.
The two camps have separately developed their DVD formats. In February, growing concern about possible confusion arising from the different formats prompted Sony, Matsushita and Toshiba to negotiate on a unified format.
However, with each side claiming its superiority over the other, the talks have been suspended since May.
Toshiba plans to market a HD player at the end of the year.
Sony is preparing to put on sale next spring PlayStation 3, a game machine that can use Blu-ray disks.
Yoshihide Fujii, Toshiba's senior general manager, said that the end of August was the time limit for agreeing on a unified format. However, talks have failed to resume, leading executives of the two camps to determine there is not enough time to negotiate a unified format, the sources said.