NEW YORK — The head of Sony Corp., Howard Stringer, said Thursday that the Blu-ray disc format the company has developed as the successor to the DVD is in a "stalemate" with the competing HD DVD format, chiefly backed by Toshiba Corp. and Microsoft Corp.
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"It's a difficult fight," said Stringer, speaking at the 92nd Street Y cultural center in Manhattan.
Toshiba has been selling its players for as low as $200 heading into the holiday season, while Blu-ray players cost more than twice as much.
The HD DVD camp also scored a significant win in August, when it induced Paramount Pictures to drop most of its support for Blu-ray and put out high-definition movies exclusively on HD DVD.
"We were trying to win on the merits, which we were doing for a while, until Paramount changed sides," Stringer said.
At the same time, he played down the importance of the battle, saying it was mostly a matter of prestige whose format wins out in the end.
"It doesn't mean as much as all that," Stringer said. He added that he believed there was an opportunity of uniting the two camps under one format before he became CEO, and he wishes he could travel back in time to make that happen.
Stringer was more upbeat about the PlayStation 3, the game console that has so far had disappointing sales compared to the rival Nintendo Wii.
The CEO said the console is the best-selling console in Europe after a price cut three weeks ago. In the U.S., a recent price cut has doubled sales.
"We are coming back up again," Stringer said. The company aims to sell 10 million PS3s by the end of its fiscal year in March. Nintendo has already sold 13.2 million Wiis.
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