Toshiba has announced that its next-generation HD-DVD players may not now go on sale until next year, despite earlier suggestions that the new format would launch by Christmas.
"We originally aimed for the year-end launch in the United States, but we have not really decided on that," said a spokesperson, adding that the Japanese launch could also be delayed until 2006.
"We are now in talks with Hollywood studios and large-scale retailers to see the most effective timing of the launch and the best way to launch."
The news will no doubt be welcomed by Sony, which is leading the charge for the rival Blu-Ray format - due to debut early next year - since it now seems Toshiba will lose out on a first-mover advantage and Christmas sales.
Blu-Ray discs are more technically advanced and have a higher storage capacity than HD-DVD, but Toshiba claims they are too expensive to produce. Talks between the two camps to discuss producing a unified format broke down once again recently and have now been suspended indefinitely.
"We may actually have a situation where merchandise from both sides is put on store shelves," commented Toshiba president Tadashi Okamura.
"But the market would not allow that situation to last very long."