HD DVD Players, Discs Make Debut

Tuesday marked the first day of availability for HD DVD discs, with two studios releasing three movies in the next-generation optical disc format. The releases are intended to coincide with the launch of the first HD DVD player from Toshiba.

Warner Home Video shipped "The Last Samurai" and "The Phantom of the Opera" while Universal shipped "Serenity." The releases comes a full month ahead of the first Blu-ray titles, expected from Sony's movie studio arm on May 23. However, the first Blu-ray players are not due until late June.

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Other movies coming from Universal for HD DVD include "Apollo 13" and "Doom" on April 25; "Jarhead," "Cinderella Man" and "Assault on Precinct 13" on May 9; and "The Chronicles of Riddick," "The Bourne Supremacy," "Van Helsing" and "U-571" to be released on May 23.

According to news reports, each title will only have a shipment of 10,000 or less. This due to only 10,000 of the HD DVD players being initially available at launch.

Blu-ray concedes that success does have something to do with getting to the market sooner, however it has argued that the content to be available on the format is what matters.

Warner and Paramount Pictures will support both HD DVD and Blu-ray, with Universal exclusive to HD DVD. However, other studios are currently exclusive to Sony's Blu-ray format, including Disney, 20th Century Fox, MGM, and Lions Gate.

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