HD DVD Launches Promotion Tour As Copy Protection Agreement Reached
In spite of prior reports that the AACS standard had been finalized, reports surfaced that negotiations among the member companies supporting both formats on the final specs had broken down completely as of Friday February 10th, putting the launch plans of both formats in jeopardy. According to various reports, the disagreement centered on Blu-ray Disc's BD+ technology, which is described as an additional layer of copy protection exclusive to the Blu-ray format.
From the Blu-ray team's perspective I could see this being regarded as not so bad news. HD DVD is scheduled to launch with players and software on March 28th, while Blu-ray's plans are loosely tied to the April-June timeline. A delay would clearly hurt HD DVD's ability to make its March launch date, further compressing HD DVD's head start, and perhaps still allowing Blu-ray to hit its launch target.
Just as quickly as this new wrinkle appeared, news came down last Wednesday night that a temporary license agreement had been reached and manufacturers and replicators will soon have the encryption keys required to makes players and discs. It appears that HD DVD will make its launch date, and in anticipation of that event Toshiba will be launching a 40-city promotional tour this coming week.
The Toshiba tour will kick-off at the Electronics Expo in Paramus, NJ on Tuesday February 21st, and features stops at Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, among other cities. The tour will focus on mass-market retailers like Best Buy and Fry's Electronics. The tour is scheduled to run right up to the March 28th launch.
A massive advertising campaign will run concurrently with the tour, with online, print and TV ads aimed at HDTV owners. In addition, an HD DVD "micro-web site" has been launched at http://www.hddvd.toshiba.com that will include up-to-the-minute information on players and software titles.