Today Toshiba announced it would be delaying the Japan introduction of its HD-DVD hardware, which was originally scheduled to launch late in 2005 (just 11 days left!). The units, including stand-alone HD-DVD players and notebook PCs with HD-DVD drives, will now hit store shelves in Japan early in 2006. According to Toshiba's HD-DVD spokesman Mark Knox, quoted in TWICE (free registration required), the delay was caused by the fact that the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) copy-protection scheme used for both next-generation DVD formats, HD-DVD and Blu-ray, is still unfinalized. "They just have to take the final votes so they can issue keys," Knox said. "There are some points still under discussion, but I think they are going to reach consensus now on a few items, such as not doing region code, for example." HD-DVD's anticipated March 2006 U.S. launch will be unaffected, according to the company. The first products to employ the competing Blu-ray format, including Sony's PlayStation 3, are expected to launch in the United States in the second quarter of 2006.