TOKYO Talks among Matsushita, Sony and Toshiba designed to unify competing next-generation DVD formats have failed, making it more likely the rivals will follow separate paths to the video market.
Backers of the rival HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats said talks would nevertheless continue.
The rivals met here Monday (May 16). A separate meeting of the Blu-ray Disc Association atttracted 230 attendees from 80 companies. The HD DVD Promotion Group held an extraordinary meeting that drew 120 attendees from 64 companies. Both meetings were closed to the public.
Sony and Toshiba updated the status of unification talks during both meetings, according to attendees. Kiyoshi Nishitani, Sony's senior vice president, acknowledged that the three companies had failed to reach an agreement, according to a Sony spokesman.
Meanwhile, Yoshihide Fujii, president and CEO of Toshiba Digital Media Network Co., confirmed that if the 0.1-mm disk format reaches satisfactory production and cost levels, unification based on the 0.1-mm cover layer was still possible. Still, industry sources said the format has yet to meet those requirements.
Toshiba executives said unification talks have been complicated by the assumption that a merger would be based on the 0.1-mm format. They insisted that the talks should discuss technologies used in both formats.
Both Sony and Toshiba executives said the talks would continue, but downplayed the prospects that the three consumer electronics giants could reach a consensus on a unified format.
The HD DVD group said it will stick to its schedule for introducing HD DVD products later this year.