A year and a half after losing the next-gen disc format war, Toshiba is officially joining its former rival, Blu-ray. As recently expected, Toshiba will make Blu-ray products, such as computers and players, and will join the Blu-ray association, the company announced.
Another tech giant could be launching Blu-ray products of its own soon: Apple (AAPL) will supposedly include Blu-ray support in future Macs and versions of its iTunes software, according to roughly sourced rumours/reports.
If that happens, some may see it as Apple’s admitting that movies and TV shows weren’t moving to all-digital delivery as quickly as Apple had hoped.
But no big deal: Apple’s iTunes store is a breakeven/mildly profitable business designed to sell more Macs, iPods, and iPhones. If Blu-ray hardware eats away at some of that revenue — but drives more Mac sales, where Apple competes with cheap PCs with Blu-ray players — that’s fine and good for Apple.
As we noted last month:
Including PlayStation 3 devices, more than 11 million Blu-ray players are present in the U.S., according to the Digital Entertainment Group. And while consumer entertainment spending in the U.S. dropped 4% year-over-year in the first half of 2009, Blu-ray disc sales were up 91% to $407 million. Blu-ray rental spending was up 62% during the first half, too.
Meanwhile, digital distribution, the format that will likely eventually kill the video disc, was up 21% to $968 million.
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