As good as the next generation DVD numbers seem (or the face that the studios like to put on those numbers), it appears that delays in those releases can be attributed to a number of factors.

In a story from Video Business, it seems that "relatively slim replication capacity on both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD, compounded by production quality problems, is slowing down delivery of high-definition titles."

"Wholesalers and sell-through and rental outlets" are getting the next generation titles sometimes "several days later than the titles' standard-definition version." This means that those titles often don't appear on what many videophiles call "DVD Tuesday."

This hasn't been as big of a problem for large chain stores that "deal directly with studios."

However, according to the "retail community" (and this might not be what said studios want to hear) this delay is "manageable" because Blu-ray and HD "haven't yet achieved mainstream consumer traction."

"We've absolutely seen brief delays on high-def, but it's nothing past a week," stated Scarecrow Video's Mark Steiner. "It would have been nice getting in Children of Men though. This is the first HD title that I think our customers are really going to care about."

The store got that title from Universal April 2 but Children of Men came out on March 27. It did have Standard copies of that title on it's release date however.

Warner Bros. Blu-ray version of Happy Feet got to wholesalers "after its March 27 street date" as well.

"Blu-ray is a much more difficult process at this point than the standard-definition process, and because of that, the yields are lower," said Lyne Fisher from the next generation authoring company Cinram. "We are still perfecting our ability to manufacture titles."

This also explains why 20th Century Fox had to delay the release of such titles as Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Fly among others not to long ago.

It seems that "replication is a key reason behind high-def retail troubles. High-def check discs are returned much more often than standard-def counterparts because studios are still fine-tuning the color processing" for the next generation titles.

"If you're still having to go through check discs, and they aren't up to par and are rejected, then ultimately that causes your timeline to be longer than standard-definition," stated one source. "Production people are working miracles putting out the [high-def] releases as fast as they are."

Another problem retailers have is knowing how much to order of Blu-ray and HD-DVD titles and when.

"For a big [standard-def] title, there's not a problem when you order past prebook," offered Todd Zaganiacz, who runs Video Zone in Massachusetts. "But it has been two weeks, and we still don't have high-def on Eragon [which bowed March 20]. But it's my own fault, because I put a late order on that."

Lastly, it seems that "retailers also can anticipate standard-def re-orders nearly immediately after placing a call but may have to wait up to a week for additional high-def copies."

Cinemark Movie Club
Evan Jacobs