Toshiba has given up its fight in the high-def format war against Sony's Blu-ray format.

The news, announced on Tuesday, signals the end of a format battle between the two companies and gives consumers a single choice for high-definition content on a disc.

In a statement Toshiba said:

“We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called 'next-generation format war' and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop”, said Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation.

"While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality.”

The company will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders.

Toshiba blames recent major changes in the market, presumably the move by Warner Bros to ditch the format first and then a string of announcements from retailers in the US to not stock the product.

Toshiba says it will continue, however, to provide full product support and after-sales service for all owners of Toshiba HD DVD products.

Toshiba will begin to reduce shipments of HD DVD players to retail channels, aiming for cessation by the end of March 2008.

The company says it still intends to maintain collaborative relations with the companies who joined with Toshiba in working to build up the HD DVD market, including Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and DreamWorks Animation and major Japanese and European content providers on the entertainment side, as well as leaders in the IT industry, including Microsoft, Intel, and HP.