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Pioneer Delays Blu-ray Disc Player Launch to September

6 Jun, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Citing ongoing developmental issues, Pioneer Electronics Corp. Tuesday announced it would postpone this month's launch of its $1,500 BDP-HD1 Blu-ray Disc player until September.

The news comes as Sony Corp. quietly pushed back the launch of its $1,000 BDP-S1 player from July until Aug. 15, according to its Web site.

“We decided to hold off for bit just to make sure everything works well relative to all the various studios that are planning to ship BD titles,” said Andy Parsons, SVP of the industrial solutions business group at Pioneer Electronics. “Launching a new format is fairly big effort, and you have such a broad spectrum of capabilities with the media itself, including BD-Java, content protection layers and various authoring tools that are being brought up to speed.”

The highly touted Blu-ray format, backed by more than 100 major CE manufacturers, remains in catch-up mode to rival HD DVD, which has already bowed $500 and $800 players from Toshiba and more than 20 titles from Warner Home Video and Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Last week, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment confirmed that the first Blu-ray movie, Hitch, remained on schedule to street June 20. The first Blu-ray player, from Samsung Electronics, is slated to bow June 25 at $999.

As previously announced, Sony later this month will bow a $3,500 VIAO laptop with Blu-ray playback and record ability, a HD monitor, two 100GB hard drives, a TV tuner and a copy of House of Flying Daggers in BD format.

“We want to make sure we don't ship something out too soon and then regret it later if something doesn't work well,” Parsons said. “I don't think it is going to create any big problems being later than expected.”

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