HD-DVD Outlook Not Good as Warner Cancels Online Orders, Says Delays Likely

Posted Mon Mar 13, 2006 at 08:20 AM PST by
The first of the two competing high-def DVD formats -- HD-DVD -- is scheduled to debut here in the U.S. on March 28, but with each passing day that date is looking less and less likely.

Last week, we reported that HD-DVD retailers were complaining of sketchy details and contradictory information coming from Toshiba, the manufacturer producing the first machines. And now, Warner Home Video -- the only HD-DVD-supporting studio thus far to set firm street dates for titles -- has announced they will likely not meet the late-March date due to technical delays, reports Home Media Retailing.

"To be honest, the outlook is tenuous," said WHV pres Ron Sanders. "We're still coming out with an initial slate, but we may be a week or two later; we just don't know."

Warner's comments came after reports over the weekend indicated that Wal-Mart and Best Buy were forced to cancel customer pre-orders for the studio's HD-DVD titles. Online giant Amazon continues to offer e-mails alerts for HD-DVD product availability but is not currently taking orders.

A delayed launch for HD-DVD could harm what many see as the format's best advantage vs rival high-def format Blu-Ray -- being first to market. Blu-Ray has promised its first titles and players will hit stores at the end of May, and while being the first with product on the shelves is no guarantee of success for either format, further delays for HD-DVD would only prove costly and embarrassing.

Tags: Toshiba, Warner (all tags)