TOKYO — Toshiba Corp.'s president said Wednesday his company has no plans to revive failed talks with a Sony Corp.-led consortium to find a unified format for next-generation DVDs, indicating that two rival — and incompatible — formats of the discs are here to stay.
"There's no plan for (resuming) such talks at this moment" with Sony, Toshiba President and Chief Executive Officer Atsutoshi Nishida said.
Toshiba Corp. leads a group supporting the HD DVD format, while the Sony-led bloc backs the Blu-ray format.
Nishida said it was very likely that DVD products using the two different formats will remain on the market for the time being, but he added Toshiba hasn't given up efforts to unify the next-generation DVD formats.
Fears are growing that this may be a repeat of the VHS-versus-Beta battle of the early 1980s over the format for video tape recorders. Nishida said it would take up to two years to develop DVD devices once the two sides agree on the new format.
Sony's Blu-ray disks have a more sophisticated format and play back 25 GB of data, compared with HD DVD's 15, but they are more expensive to produce.
Both sides are already developing products that feature their respective DVD formats. Toshiba plans to roll out HD DVD players by the end of this year and HD DVD recorders next spring, Nishida said.
Sony's popular game console PlayStation 3, which will play Blu-ray disks, is also due out next spring.
Regarding Toshiba's core semiconductor business, Nishida said the company was having difficulty meeting demand for NAND-type flash memory chips amid brisk demand for consumer products using the chips, such as portable music players.
Toshiba is the second-largest NAND flash memory chip maker after Samsung Electronics Co. and is now fulfilling 70 percent of demand for the chips compared to 80 percent in late July, he said.
But even as demand grows, prices are falling, Nishida said. "We expect prices to drop 30 percent to 40 percent every year," he said.
Toshiba can absorb that price drop by cutting costs, he said, to keep posting profits in its memory chip business.
Analysts say Toshiba faces tougher competition in the memory-chip market from new suppliers such as Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Micron Technology Inc. Some critics also say Toshiba's dependence on its semiconductor business is too high, making its earnings vulnerable to chip market trends.
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