Toshiba have decided to delay the launch of HD DVD to focus on problems with their copy protection. Players were due to hit the streets of Japan this Christmas.
According to Reuters
, Toshiba had warned as far back as September that the year-end launch date could be in question, though that fact hardly softens the blow, given the fierce battle to establish next-generation home movie supremacy between HD DVD and Blu-ray.
A Toshiba spokesman said the company would still push for a Q1 2006 launch in North America, though the format could not be launched until their Advanced Access Content System (AACS) copy protection measures were in place.
"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." We agree. For a Japanese company to launch a new product overseas ahead of the domestic market, especially such a technologically significant product, would be a big no-no.
With the Japanese launch delayed until after Christmas, it is questionable whether Toshiba can pull off launching both domestically and in the crucial North American market within the same quarter. Second quarter 2006 seems a far more likely timeframe for home theatre enthusiasts in the West to get their hands on HD DVD.
That is assuming they haven't already plumped for a Blu-ray player, expected to hit stores in Spring 2006. We are anticipating lots of noise about Blu-ray at CES 2006, and we will be there reporting live in just three weeks.