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
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.