Sony Delays First Blu-Ray Disc Titles

Sony Pictures Entertainment is delaying the launch of its first titles on the new Blu-ray Disc high-definition video format for a month, it said Thursday.

The company had originally planned to ship eight movie titles on May 23 and seven more on June 13, but shipments of all 15 titles have been pushed back to June 20, said Fritz Friedman, a spokesman for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The delay is unlikely to inconvenience consumers, as the first Blu-ray Disc player isn’t expected to be available until five days later on June 25.

Samsung Electronics has originally planned to launch a player on May 23, and Sony’s original launch date was chosen to coincide. However, a month ago, Samsung said it was delaying the sale of its player. At the time, Sony said it wouldn’t hold up its Blu-ray Disc launch, but on Thursday said retailers had requested a delay to match Samsung’s launch date.

The fist 15 Sony titles will be: "50 First Dates," "The Fifth Element," "Hitch," "House of Flying Daggers," "A Knight’s Tale," "Kung Fu Hustle," "The Last Waltz," "Legends of the Fall," "Resident Evil Apocalypse," "Robocop," "Stealth," "Species," "Swat," "Terminator" and "XXX."

Lionsgate Films is also planning to launch Blu-ray Disc titles on June 20.

Blu-ray Disc is one of two new optical disc formats vying to replace DVDs for high-definition content, such as movies. The format battle has pitted industry giants against each other. The main backers of Blu-ray Disc include Sony, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic) and Samsung, while companies supporting the rival HD-DVD format include Toshiba, NEC and Intel.

Players and discs for the rival HD-DVD format went on sale in Japan in March and in the United States in April.

-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service

For related news coverage, read Panasonic to Launch Blu-Ray Disc Drive in June.

Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.

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