Toshiba steps up HD DVD campaign

Toshiba steps up HD DVD campaign

Toshiba admits to leaving its HD DVD promotion late, but remains confident in the battle against Blu-Ray

Boosting television sales and improving HD DVD market share are the top priorities for Toshiba's audiovisual division for the remainder of the year.

In the 1980s Toshiba had significant mind and market share in the Australian CRT TV market, general manager of Toshiba's Information Systems Division (ISD), Mark Whittard, said. Twenty years on the company has ditched CRT and sided with LCD screens ahead of its other rival technology, plasma.

Last week the company showcased it latest televisions and HD DVD players in an effort to raise its AV profile.

"To get in the top five of the flat panel TV [market] would be nice," Whittard said.

The company said it had started a bit late in "promoting HD DVD" in the Australian community in the war between the next generation DVD formats. But excluding the Sony PS3 which doubles as a Blu-ray player, Toshiba claims HD DVD is out shipping Blu-ray disc sales in the US by 55-45 per cent, while in Europe it has 73 per cent market share.

Whittard provided no figures for Australia.

Recent announcements that Blockbuster video in the US and JB Hi-Fi in Australia had opted to support Blu-ray only had not had an effect on HD DVD sales, he said.

Toshiba has pointed out it still gets significant HD DVD support from retailers such as Sanity, HMV and EzyDVD.

However, to ramp up local sales the company will increase the number of HD DVD players from one to three models by Christmas. It also expects to ship about 35,000 HD DVD-equipped Qosimo notebooks by that time as well. Whittard said it had about 5000 notebooks with HD DVD devices installed at the moment.

"We have our work cut out for us," he said.

Toshiba sells about 400,000 notebooks into Australia each year.

This year has been one of change for the ISD Group. In March, Toshiba dumped its long standing distributor, Castel, and took its AV department in-house, commencing operations on April 1. Since then Whittard has hired 35 technical and sales staff and has struck agreements to distribute the company's AV products solely through retailers Harvey Norman, Myer, Clive Peters and select Hi-Fi stores.

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