Toshiba’s Feb. 19 decision to stop making “HD DVD” high-definition video disc players and recorders brings to an end the largest battle in video formats since VHS and Betamax vied for consumers’ wallets more than 20 years ago—and it means educators, students, and others can start feeling more confident about buying the victorious rival technology for playing high-definition DVDs: a Blu-ray disc player.

In the wake of Toshiba’s decision, analysts say competition is expected to heat up among the manufacturers of Blu-ray DVD players and recorders, which include Japanese makers Sony Corp.,...

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