03.29.2006 12:00 AM
Toshiba Delays HD DVD Players to April
As expected, Toshiba acknowledged that it will delay the release of its HD DVD players for a few weeks beyond the original March 28 launch, until at least one studio, Warner, begins rolling out some titles in mid-April (HD Notebook, March 22, 2006).

The number of titles has been pared back a bit in recent months (Warner will go with only three to start with) in the wake of lingering industry uncertainty (and some anticipated consumer confusion) over whether one of the two new incompatible formats will win the war outright, or whether things will morph into a dual-format climate for a while.

Toshiba has apparently not announced an exact new rollout date for its first two HD DVD players, but it's expected to coincide with Warner's new date of April 18. Some studios now plan to put out titles in both formats (albeit, in limited quantities and titles) which they don't like -- nor do retailers, who now have to deal with added shelf space, dual signage, sales pitches and other on-site marketing tools to accommodate two formats instead of one.

While the slight delay by Toshiba and content producers now pushes HD DVD's new launch on April 18 to barely more than a month prior to Blu-ray's launch on May 23, Sony had a recent setback of its own when it had to announce a six-month delay in ramping up its PlayStation 3. The globally popular console could have given Blu-ray a big boost early on (and likely will eventually, once the holiday season rolls around late next fall).

And another possible wrinkle has entered the picture: Microsoft's decision to hold off unveiling its new Vista operating system until after the holiday season. The fall out may mean non-Mac shoppers could: 1) hold off on buying a new Vista-equipped PC until early 2007 and save their money; 2) or skip Vista for awhile and spend that money on a PS3 console with Blu-ray.

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