Toshiba to delay HD DVD player launch

Toshiba said on Tuesday it will delay the year-end Japan launch of its next-generation HD DVD players to address copy protection issues, potentially undermining its advantage as the first supplier to put such machines on the market.

The Japanese company had said in September the domestic launch might be postponed until after December. A spokesman for Toshiba said it would continue to push for a U.S. launch in the first quarter of 2006, most likely some time between February and March.

Toshiba said in a statement it would not launch the products until the last details on copy protection management systems, called AACS, or advanced access content system, were finalized.

“I cannot say when the AACS issues will be resolved,” the spokeswoman said. “But it’s hard to think the launch in Japan will come after the U.S. launch.”

Toshiba and Sony, leading rival camps, have waged a three-year battle to have their different standards adopted for the new DVDs, which promise much greater capacity for high-definition movies. Toshiba, along with NEZCZ and Sanyo Electric, has been promoting HD DVD, while Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial, the maker of Panasonic brand products, have been developing a technology known as Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray DVD group said in November it planned to roll out a high-definition disc format in spring 2006, and that members of the consortium led by Sony would unveil specific launch plans at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

News source: News

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