Japan’s Toshiba has lowered its sales target for high definition DVD players and recorders on slower-than-expected unit sales in the U.S., putting a damper on Toshiba’s prospects in one of its growth businesses.
The electronics group now expects to sell 1 million next-generation optical disc players in North America by the end of calendar 2007, down 44 percent from its previous estimate of 1.8 million unit sales, a Toshiba executive said on Tuesday.
Toshiba’s HD DVD technology competes with Blu-ray, promoted by Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial in a high-stakes DVD format war that has split the electronics industry and made consumers hesitant about buying DVD players.
“Obviously we are going to have to lower our previous global estimate,” Yoshihide Fujii, head of Toshiba’s digital consumer business, told reporters, but he declined to give a new estimate.
Fujii had previously said he expected Toshiba to sell 3 million units of HD DVD players and recorders worldwide by the end of the business year to March 2008, led by U.S. consumers’ appetite for movies at home.
Sony equips its PlayStation 3 game consoles with Blu-ray drives, and Toshiba said last week it aims to put disk drives for high-definition DVDs on all its laptop computers next year, but neither side has been able to land a knock-out blow yet.
“Consumers who are buying Playstation 3 are buying it as a game console. They’re simply not buying it for watching as many high-definition movies as Sony said they would,” said Ken Graffeo, executive vice president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. He spoke at a news conference announcing the release of Toshiba’s Vardia-brand HD DVD players in Japan.
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