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Sony Delays Blu-ray Software Titles to Coincide With Delayed Player Release Dates Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 May 2006
While early HD-DVD adopters who have picked up their copies of discs such as “Goodfellas,” “The Last Samurai” and “The Phantom of the Opera” scour the globe for players that are harder to find than the Xbox 360 during Christmas of 2005, Sony’s Blu-ray format has hit its own speed bump. It was just announced that the arrival of the first titles of the Blu-ray disc format has been pushed back by a month until June 20. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president Benjamin Feingold said his studio's first batch of Blu-ray releases will be ready May 23, as planned. However, their retailers and hardware partners have asked them to delay the release.

This brings to mind the famous “What comes, first, the chicken or the egg?” debate. Consumers want to know there will be a nice batch of titles available before purchasing a player, but hardware manufacturers don’t want to release players until they know that they are going to work properly and there are going to be enough titles to drive consumer demand.

Samsung, for example, is a month behind with the release of their Blu-ray player, recently announcing that it would be in stores June 25. With the amount of delays from both formats, consumers at some point will stop holding their collective breathes. HD-DVD discs are now readily available in stores, but after calling several BestBuy, CompUSA and Circuit City locations in southern California to find an HD-DVD player to buy, it became quickly apparent that even the store managers have no real idea when they expect to actually receive the hardware.

An order for a Toshiba HD-DVD player from Amazon.com placed last week yields an estimated delivery date of June 7-23, 2006. This 16-day window is over a month away at this point. In other words, even online giant Amazon.com doesn’t know when they will be getting players.

Feingold said the first eight Blu-ray Disc titles from Sony will not ship until just before Samsung’s Blu-ray player is scheduled to be in stores on June 25. Feingold say this is being done so there is a more clear-cut launch period for Blu-ray, unlike the very disjoined HD-DVD launch that has been frustrating and confusing for consumers. Blu-ray should see title sales spike with the release of Sony’s Playstation 3, which starts hitting the stores in late fall, just in time for the 2006 holiday season.

The first batch of Blu-ray disc titles from Warner Home Video are expected to arrive in stores around the same time, although Warner has not given an official statement as to their release date.

The Sony Blu-ray disc titles that are now slated to arrive in stores June 20 are "Underworld: Evolution" (arriving the same day as the DVD), "50 First Dates," "The Fifth Element," "Hitch," "House of Flying Daggers," "A Knight's Tale," "The Last Waltz," "Resident Evil Apocalypse" and "XXX."

Source: Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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