Last week's launch of the Blu-ray Disc format, much like that of rival HD-DVD in mid-April, was more a dress rehearsal than anything else, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Last Tuesday, the first seven titles, all from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, went on sale at select consumer electronics stores. The first player, from Samsung, was scheduled to go on sale five days later, but reports indicate that few retailers kept the machines in the backroom and away from the trickle of consumers willing to shell out $999 -- twice the cost of the entry-level HD-DVD player, from Toshiba -- to buy one now that the software was available.

Both Sony's Blu-ray Disc and Toshiba's HD-DVD formats offer a clearer image -- 1,080 lines of resolution, as opposed to 480 for DVD -- and hold three to five times as much data as standard DVDs. But a store check found little sales activity and plenty of confusion, even though both next-generation formats are now officially on the market.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.