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Toshiba Blinks On HD DVD Rollout

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The big backer of the next generation blue-laser high-definition DVD format may not ship until 2006.

Consumers won’t have to decide whether or not to buy HD DVD players during the 2005 holiday season. Toshiba has begun to reconsider its previously announced late 2005 launch window for its technology, according to several sources.

Reuters learned from a Tokyo-based Toshiba spokesperson that HD DVD might launch in Japan by the end of the year, but not in the US. The delay gives Toshiba and its rival Sony, backer of Blu-ray, more time to talk again about a possible compromise on one standard, instead of fragmenting the blue-laser DVD market with two formats.

Several studios affiliated with HD DVD had intended to release movies in that format, but in recent weeks had drawn back from those plans without an explanation. Paramount dumped its plans to release HD DVD movies this year, and Universal scaled back the number of titles it planned to release.

Blu-ray machines in the form of Sony’s PlayStation 3 will hit the market in 2006, with many sources pegging March 15 as the official date. That gives Sony time to build up interest in the format ahead of the 2006 holiday season. Toshiba’s delay could be very costly if Sony forces it to play catch-up in the marketplace.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Toshiba Blinks On HD DVD Rollout
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