While we've seen plenty of reports of high-def discs hitting shelves days (and even weeks) ahead of time, apparently the opposite is also true, with some retailers and video rental stores reporting delayed shipments for HD DVD and Blu-ray discs.
According to home entertainment trade paper Video Business, a good number of smaller outlets are receiving high-def versions of day-and-date releases later than the titles' standard-definition versions, resulting in added costs in overnight shipping and/or missed street dates.
A rep from Scarecrow Video told Video Business that the video rental chain hadn't received its copies of 'Children of Men' on HD DVD until six days after its release date. Similarly, the Blu-ray edition of 'Happy Feet' was also reported to have arrived at some stores after its March 27 street date.
So why the delays? The problem appears to stem from the replication process, where already slim capacities are being further stymied by increasingly familiar "production quality problems," such as those recently reported for 'Children of Men.'
Lyne Fisher, spokeswoman at disc authoring company Cinram confirmed as much to Video Business, saying "standard-definition has been around since 1997, so we have a lot of practice and the process is seamless... it's only natural that when there is a new process, it can take more time."
Fisher went on to say that Cinram is improving its production capabilities for both next-gen formats, and projects 60% more capacity for both HD DVD and Blu-ray by year's end.
Meanwhile, aside from the inconvenience of having to ship and stock the high-def discs separately from their standard-def counterparts, retailers don't seem super bothered -- "we’ve absolutely seen brief delays on high-def, but it’s nothing past a week,” Mark Steiner of Scarecrow Video told Video Business. "It would have been nice getting in 'Children of Men,' though. This is the first HD title that I think our customers are really going to care about."