HD DVD vs. Blu-ray Disc: A History

April 21 -- Sony and Toshiba begin discussions on the possibility of a single format. The talks ultimately go nowhere.

August 18 -- Lions Gate Home Entertainment and Universal Music Group decide to back Blu-ray Disc.

September 27 -- Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. put their weight behind HD DVD.

October 3 -- Paramount Home Entertainment says it will offer movies on both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

December 16 -- Hewlett-Packard decides to drop exclusive support for Blu-ray Disc and back both formats.

2006

January 4 -- Bill Gates announces at CES that Microsoft will offer an add-on HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360 console.

March 10 -- Blu-ray Disc-supporter LG Electronics surprises the industry with news that it's developing an HD DVD drive.

March 31 -- Toshiba launches the world's first HD DVD player, the HD-XA1. It cost ¥110,000 (US$936 at the time) in Japan.

November 11 -- Sony's PlayStation 3, which packs a Blu-ray Disc drive, goes on sale in Japan.

December 29 -- Hackers report success in breaking through part of the AACS copy protection that's on both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

2007

January 7 -- Seeking to end the battle, LG Electronics unveils a dual-format player, while Warner Bros. shows a prototype disc that holds both an HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc layer so is compatible with players for both formats.

April 17 -- Sales of HD DVD players in North America hit 100,000 since launch.

August 1 -- Microsoft cuts the price of its HD DVD player for the Xbox 360 from US$199 to US$179 and starts offering five free movies.

August 20 -- Paramount and Dreamworks Animation both drop Blu-ray Disc in favor of HD DVD.

September 13 -- Sony says it will use Blu-ray Disc in all high-def video recorders in Japan.

November -- The price of Toshiba HD DVD players drops to US$100 with rebates as the holiday shopping season begins.

November 11 -- Sony begins selling a lower cost version of the PlayStation 3.

2008

January 4 -- Warner Bros. drops its bombshell: it will stop issuing HD DVD movies in the coming months and rely exclusively on Blu-ray Disc. In response the HD DVD Promotion Group cancels its CES news conference.

January 6 -- Akio Ozaka, head of Toshiba America Consumer Products, says at CES: "We remain firm in the belief that HD DVD is the format best suited to the wants and needs of consumers." In response Sony CEO Howard Stringer, with a grin on his face, says "All of us at Sony are feeling blue today."

January 14 -- Toshiba cuts the price of HD DVD players with the HD-A3 seeing a retail price of US$150.

February 11 -- NetFlix and BestBuy say they will phase out HD DVD.

February 15 -- Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, says it will phase out HD DVD by June.

February 16 -- Japanese public broadcaster NHK reports Toshiba has halted production of HD DVD players. Several additional local media reports confirm and The Nikkei business daily says Toshiba has decided to stop developing the format any further.

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