Toshiba and Sony have given up on trying to create a unified format for the next generation high definition DVD spelling disaster for consumers across the globe.

According to a report in the Yomiuri newspaper in Japan negotiations fell through as neither side yielded, and time ran out to develop a format before the launch of new products from both groups.

"Late August is the practical time limit (to unify formats)," Yoshihide Fujii, Toshiba's corporate senior vice president, was quoted as saying in the paper.

A Sony spokesman said it had become harder to unify formats after a failure to reach an agreement in negotiations in May. Both companies agreed, however, that a unified format is still a possibility but time had run out if schedules are to be kept for products to hit the shelves next year.

The decision means that the consumer will be left with the dilemma of not knowing which format will win through.

We will keep you posted.