"The war is over - anyone for popcorn?"

The hard fought battle has finally come to a close. Two tough competitors from two different sides of the Yamanote-line stepped into the ring and one has been crowned the victor.

Can I interest anyone in a movie?

The technological scuffle between Sony and Toshiba as to which media format will pioneer the next generation of audio-visual home entertainment, Blu-Ray or HD-DVD respectively, has been decided with Sony’s Blu-Ray technology being the champion. As the major Hollywood studios one-by-one elected to support Blu-Ray as the sole format on which to release their titles, every time a contract was signed another nail was punched into the coffin of Toshiba.

The reporting of the final stages leading up to this decision over the last week or so have been relentlessly obnoxious however. If you hopped online for a peek at the daily news there was a fresh news brief to go along with the announcement of the decision by each and every individual retailer as to how they would manage their HD-DVD related inventory, and as long as there are film studios and electronic goods storehouses yet to make official statements, I think we can expect this to drag out a little longer.

This was an interesting battle because regardless of the outcome, with Sony and Toshiba being the proponents for these two technologies, in terms of the global market the Japanese industry wins regardless. But with Sony bringing home the blue ribbon on this one, does it make it a bigger win for Japan as well?

Internationally, Japanese electronics (and automobiles) are typically synonymous with quality and reliability. However, when considering the knowledge base of the average consumer regarding technological products, while the name Sony screams, “Japan!” for most people, Toshiba may only whisper, “Asia?” Japan’s foray into the industry of high-end technology over the past several decades has served as an esteemed symbol of an unknown culture to many overseas. You have to wonder if tenacious reporting of the rise and fall of these two corporations may not only be a win for Sony (whose executives have probably turned all of these press releases into a drinking game of sorts and have now been completely sotted for a straight week), but for the global view of the Japanese tech industry as well.

By Justin Potts

Anna Kitanaka is away



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