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Thursday, September 01, 2005
Toshiba May Delay HD-DVD player Launch into 2006

Toshiba may delay the year-end launch of its next-generation HD-DVD players, potentially undermining its advantage as the first supplier to put such machines on the market.

The company added, however, any change in the launch schedule would be intended to maximise potential demand for the new products and that Toshiba remains committed to the HD-DVD format as the next-generation DVD technology.

Toshiba, along with NEC and Sanyo, has been promoting HD-DVD, while Sony and Panasonic have been developing a technology known as Blu-ray.

Toshiba has said it planned to launch HD-DVD players in the fourth quarter of 2005 in Japan and the United States, while Sony plans to put a Blu-ray disc drive in its new PlayStation game console next year.

"We are now in talks with Hollywood studios and large-scale retailers to seek the most effective timing of the launch and best way to launch," a Toshiba spokeswoman said.

"We originally aimed for the year-end launch in the United States. But we have not really decided on that."

There is also a possibility that the products' launch in Japan may not come until after December, the spokeswoman said.

At stake in the format battle is pole position in the multibillion dollar markets for DVD players, PC drivers and optical discs.

Especially for the HD-DVD players for PC, the HD-DVD camp is possibly delaying its launch schedule since their installation requires new video output interfaces and possibly a new PC setup, that will be compatible with content-protectrion regulations.

Sony, Panasonic and Hitachi have already offered next-generation DVD recorders based on their format in the Japanese market. But Sony said its existing Blu-ray recorders, launched before specifications for read-only discs were set, are not equipped to play pre-packaged movie discs.

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