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Blu-ray Launch Going Ahead as Scheduled

30 Mar, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president Benjamin Feingold vows to stick by his previously announced May 23 street date for the studio's first batch of Blu-ray Disc titles, despite reports that the next-generation hardware needed to play the discs likely won't arrive in U.S. stores until the following month, at the earliest.

“We realize there may be some delays on the hardware side, but we are going to honor our commitment to release movies when we said we would,” Feingold said.

Samsung, the first consumer electronics manufacturer to announce Blu-ray Disc players, may wait until June to send its first player, the PD-B1000, to stores, according to sources. Initially the player had been scheduled to ship May 23.

Earlier this month, Sony announced its first Blu-ray Disc players won't arrive in stores until July.

Feingold said whether retailers will want to bring in Sony's Blu-ray titles — the initial wave includes 50 First Dates, House of Flying Daggers, Hitch, A Knight's Tale, XXX, The Last Waltz and Resident Evil: Apocalypse — is debatable.

“We're not making any opinions on whether dealers will take in inventory or not,” he said. “There are two schools of thought: A dealer could have them for publicity purposes, to prime the market, or we can ship them later, when hardware is on the market. But the important point is, we can meet the date — that's the key.”

Feingold said hardware delays aren't really such a bad thing. “It creates a great opportunity for us to author more titles and have more software available at launch,” he said.

Also March 29, Panasonic said its first Blu-ray player won't be available until September.

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