Software releases for both formats expected '06.

Toshiba revealed yesterday (Sept. 28) that the first HD DVD players will debut in February or March of next year instead of the fourth quarter of this year, as previously reported. This news comes just days after Microsoft and Intel announced their support of the Toshiba-led next-generation DVD format HD DVD. It is expected that HD DVD players will be available some time this year in Japan.

In the U.S., HD DVD and its next generation DVD rival, the Sony-led Blu-ray, will stand on more even ground. Blu-ray players were always expected to debut here in the first quarter of 2006. HD DVD and Blu-ray software releases should also debut next year.

HD DVD is backed by Warner Home Video, New Line Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment, while Blu-ray is supported by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Lions Gate Entertainment.