Toshiba pulls plug on HD DVD

The noughties re-enactment of the Betamax-VHS format war is finally over: Toshiba has declared a cease-fire and announced that it's ending support for

The noughties re-enactment of the Betamax-VHS format war is finally over: Toshiba has declared a cease-fire and announced that it's ending support for HD DVD.

Rumours that Tosh was ready to cut the cord on the high-def format's parachute reached fever pitch yesterday, with an official announcement expected next week. But this morning the company announced that shipments of players will be steadily reduced, with production ending completely by the end of March.

Toshiba has endured more blows than Ricky Hatton's final round with Floyd Mayweather this year. Warner Bros switched sides to Blu-ray just before CES, then a host of stores – including Woolworths, Netflix, Best Buy and Wal-Mart – said they'd no longer stock the hapless format.

Toshiba will at least offer the small consolation of full product support and after-sales service for current owners of HD DVD machines, and those hunting for a bargain DVD upscaler may still want to investigate what's left of its range.

But for now it's time for Sony to hand round the plastic cups of champers and toast the future of Blu-ray... at least until Toshiba et al return with hi-def downloads.