After months of speculation, excitement and street date delays, the
Blu-ray format is set to launch over the next week amid a flurry of marketing
hype for the format's first player and discs.
Samsung began shipping its first stand-alone Blu-ray disc player, the BD-P1000,
to stores last week in anticipation for its on-sale street date of June 25.
Sony will prime the pump for the player's debut by issuing its first seven Blu-ray
disc titles tomorrow, June 20; Lionsgate will launch its support for Blu-ray
with another six titles on June 27.
Samsung plans to have its player in over 2,000 storefronts nationwide, including
such major chains as Best Buy and Circuit City. In conjunction with Sony, the
companies will also provide demo players and discs to retailers to offer side-by-side
comparisons with rival HD DVD in order to subjectively sell the format to potential
The electronics manufacturer also claims that interest in the BD-P1000 and Blu-ray
so far has been strong. "Pre-orders have been incredible," Samsung
spokesman Jose Cardona told Video Business.
Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, said about
15,000 copies of each the company's first titles are being shipped to retailers
that will also carry the player, including Amazon.com, Best Buy and Circuit
"It's really about where there is hardware," Feingold told Home Media
However, fellow Blu-ray supporter Lionsgate is being more cautious; the company
says it plays to ship less than 10,000 copies of each of its initial launch
titles next week, with an eye on the fourth quarter to begin a more large-scale
"Obviously, the real story will unfold in the fourth quarter," said
Lionsgate president Steve Beeks to HMR. "When there will not only be more
machines delivered to the market, but many more titles showcasing the superior
capabilities of Blu-ray technology."