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All not quiet on the DVD front

Mitsubishi will delay release of its standalone digital video disc player, while Toshiba confirms that it is planning to release a DVD before the end of the year.

    All is not yet settled on the DVD frontier. Mitsubishi Electric has said that it will delay release of its standalone digital video disc player, while Toshiba confirmed that it is planning to release a DVD upgrade kit for its Infinia line before the end of the year.

    Mitsubishi joins Sony (SNE) as the latest large electronics manufacturer to cite a lack of software titles as the main reason for delaying the product, according to a report in the Japanese daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

    "It's not really openly talked about, but the reasons are a little more complex than that," said Ted Pine, an analyst with market research firm InfoTech.

    "[Mitsubishi] may miss some early adopters, but it might be able to do one more iteration of their design and get some cost out of the product. It might not be bad for them to hang back and come back with something that's $100 cheaper than the competition," he added.

    Still, consumers looking to the future can get DVD-ready systems right now. Toshiba's recently introduced Infinia line of desktop computers come with a DVD-ready drive bay. According to a company spokesperson, Toshiba will offer customers upgrade kits in time for Christmas. The Infinias will be shipped with factory-installed DVD drives in early 1997, the spokesperson said.

    Panasonic's parent Matsushita (MC), Toshiba, Pioneer, and Hitachi have stated they intend to introduce DVD players as early as November.

    Disagreements about specifications on how discs are to be made have delayed title introductions. To help ease consumer fears about compatibility and title availability, the Pioneer's DVD player will also play laser discs, according to the report.