Samsung delays Blu-ray Disc player launch

Samsung Electronics will delay the U.S. launch of its Blu-ray Disc player by one month, the company said Monday.

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

The new launch date has been set for June 25 and Samsung confirmed the player price at US$999.

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

Sony Pictures said it remains committed to a May 23 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, such as movies. The format battle has pitted industry giants against each other. The main backers of Blu-ray Disc include Sony, Matsushita Electric Industrial (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 U.S. in the middle of this month. The first commercial software is due out in Japan this week and movie titles will launch in the U.S. on April 18.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

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