Sony times discs to Blu

Studio delays delivery to June 20

Sony has pushed back its first shipment of Blu-ray discs so they arrive in stores closer to hardware that can actually play the discs.

The studio’s first high-def discs are now skedded to hit retail on June 20, five days before the first Blu-ray players are expected. Sony had previously slated its high-def disc debut for May 23, but retailers wanted a more coordinated launch of hardware and software.

Delay follows a similar move by Lionsgate last month, when Samsung said it would not meet its original May 23 target for its first line of players.

Delays have bedeviled the launch of both high-def DVD formats. HD DVD bowed April 18, a few weeks later than expected, backed by a handful of discs from Warner and Universal.

The debut Sony Blu-ray discs include “Underworld: Evolution,” which bows on standard DVD on June 6; “50 First Dates”; “The Fifth Element”; and “House of Flying Daggers.” MGM’s “The Last Waltz” also will arrive on Blu-ray on June 20.

Warner also has pledged to release Blu-ray discs at its launch. Disney and Fox are backing the format as well.

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