[news=http://img70.imageshack.us/img70/4383/hddvd5ch.gif]Toshiba may put back the launch of HD-DVD in the US until next year in order to 'optimise' the release schedule.
The company, which is the main driver of the high-capacity optical disc technology, said that it still plans to introduce it in Japan this year.
'We are now in talks with Hollywood studios and large-scale retailers to seek the most effective timing of the launch and best way to launch,' a Toshiba spokeswoman said. 'We originally aimed for the year-end launch in the United States. But we have not really decided on that.'
However other leading members of the HD DVD Promotion Group are thought to prefer a high-impact, large-scale launch; hence no definite decision has yet been made.
The fact that it would be commercially available before the rival Blu-ray technology has been seen as a significant factor in its favour, now that the failure of unification talks means that the two technologies will have to slug it out in the marketplace. Blu-ray is scheduled to make its debut in Sony's next-generation games console, the PlayStation 3, in the first half of 2006.
Blu-ray backers recognised that a delayed HD-DVD launch would be a boost to their technology.
'We're no longer lagging behind,' said Frank Simonis, a spokesman for the Blu-ray Disc Association.