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Samsung delays Blu-ray Disc player launch

Losing the format war already?

Samsung announced yesterday that it will move back the US release of its Blu-ray Disc player by one month.

The delay has been called to allow completion of compatibility testing with Blu-ray Disc test media that is due to become available in April, Samsung said in a statement. Once compatibility is confirmed, the player will be ready for mass production, it said.

The revised launch date has been set for 25 June and Samsung confirmed the player price at $999 (about £580). There is no news as yet on UK availability.

The player was due to launch on 23 May, the same day that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Lionsgate Films had chosen as the release date for their first Blu-ray Disc films.

Sony Pictures said it remains committed to a 23 May launch date for its first titles, despite the likely lack of any playback hardware. Lionsgate could not immediately comment on whether its launch plans remain in place.

Blu-ray Disc is one of two new optical disc formats vying to replace current DVDs for high-definition content. The format battle has pitted industry giants against each other. The main backers of Blu-ray Disc include Sony, Panasonic and Samsung while companies supporting the rival HD-DVD format include Toshiba, NEC and Intel.

News of the Blu-ray Disc player delay comes days after the rival HD-DVD format was commercially launched. Toshiba began selling an HD-DVD player in Japan on Friday and will put the same machine and a cheaper model on sale in the US in the middle of this month. The first commercial software is due out in Japan this week and film titles will launch in the US on 18 April.


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