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Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Future Is Here...It's About Time

Score the first round for HD DVD.
After months of jockeying between two rival camps to roll out high-definition DVDs, a handful of discs from Warner and Universal in the HD DVD format hit stores Tuesday.

Rival Blu-ray discs aren't expected on shelves for another month.

But even if it was HD DVD's day in the sun, there were still some first-day clouds.

While randomly visited stores in the L.A. area were carrying four or five copies each of the three movies that debuted--Warner Bros.' The Last Samurai and The Phantom of the Opera and Universal's lone entry Serenity--Warners' Million Dollar Baby has been delayed a few days, and Serenity was nowhere to be found at some L.A. Best Buy and Circuit City stores. Other retailers contacted by sister publication Video Business hadn't received their copies of Serenity Tuesday either.

Warner said problems with the Million Dollar Baby HD DVD master held back the title's shipment to retail. The studio is on track to send out discs Thursday and Friday.

The studio pushed back its original HD DVD launch from March 28 due to production issues. Universal had no explanation for the missing Serenity shipments, but such delays were not uncommon during the early days of standard DVD.

The first Toshiba HD DVD players went on sale Monday, with an estimated 10,000-15,000 units shipped. Warner and Universal are shipping about 10,000 copies of each of their initial releases. Users must have an HD TV and an HD DVD player to watch HD DVD movies. HD DVD players will also play standard DVDs, but standard DVD players won't play HD DVDs.



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