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HD-DVD hardware launch slips to April

HD-DVD hardware launch slips to April

Toshiba will delay the release of its first HD-DVD player model until mid-April in order for it to launch concurrently with the first batch of HD-DVD movies, according to a source close to the company. The Toshiba HD-XA1 had originally been slated to be available in stores on March 28, with a similar but less expensive model, the HD-A1, to follow later in the spring. But Warner Home Video last week announced that the release of its initial slate of HD-DVD movies would be delayed until April 18. Rather than have its high-def movie player go on sale with no HD source material, it appears that the company will hold off for three weeks, so the player can debut simultaneously with the movies. If Warner's current plans hold, only three movies will be available on day one--The Last Samurai, The Phantom of the Opera, and Million Dollar Baby--with more titles to follow in the weeks and months thereafter.

While Toshiba can be content that the delay won't push HD-DVD into 2007, it will put HD-DVD players and movies on the shelves just five weeks before the scheduled May 23 launch of first Blu-ray player and several Blu-ray movies. A spokesman for Blu-ray backer Sony told CNET yesterday that he expects "at least 100" Blu-ray titles to be available by midyear.

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