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After many months of waiting, the much anticipated HD DVD players from Toshiba have reached the stores in the U.S., unfortunately for those, who were planning to be the first to adopt the technology, the supplies are reportedly tight and the list of movies available so far on HD DVD is limited to three titles. However, the main advantage the HD DVD will have only Blu-ray is that customers will be more familiar with the former.

A report from PC World said that Toshiba expected to sell 30 000 HD DVD players in the first three months. According to some estimates, 10 000 to 15 000 units have been shipped in the U.S. to satisfy this first wave of demand. While the number may be relatively significant, Toshiba plans to deliver the players to about 3000 stores nationwide, which means that there will not be a lot of HD-A1 ($499) or HD-AX1 ($799) players in each one and they may be hard to find.

Meanwhile, Universal Studios Home Entertainment is delivering its movie “Serenity” to the stores to join the two Warner Home Video titles available: “The Last Samurai” and “The Phantom of the Opera”, according to a report from Reuters. online store had the movies in stock for $19.99, $5 - $6 more compared to typical DVD versions of the same titles.

Other Universal titles in the HD DVD pipeline include “Apollo 13” and “Doom” on April 25, followed by “Jarhead”, “Cinderella Man” and “Assault on Precinct 13” on May 9 and “The Chronicles of Riddick”, “The Bourne Supremacy”," “Van Helsing” and “U-571” on May 23. Time Warner’s “Million Dollar Baby” was supposed to be available in mid-April, but has been postponed. In total, HD DVD backers promised 200 titles on HD DVDs to be available this year.

The main rival of HD DVD and the major pusher of competing Blu-ray standard – Sony Corp. – is projected to ship its first Blu-ray titles on the 23rd of May with first players from Samsung Electronics and Pioneer emerging in later June. Sony itself plans to release its Blu-ray player for the U.S. market in July, 2006.


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