According to The Hollywood Reporter, Toshiba American Consumer Products on Thursday announced an ambitious marketing push in support of HD-DVD but conceded that some of the high-definition optical disc format's interactive features won't be available in the two first-generation players slated to hit stores next month without a "firmware upgrade."

Meanwhile, sources close to the rival Blu-ray Disc camp say an agreement has been reached on an interim license for the AACS copy-protection system both formats will use, removing one of the final obstacles that had been standing in the way of a launch.

Toshiba has said its first two HD-DVD players will come on the market in March, and the three studios supporting the format -- Warner Home Video, Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment -- are planning to roll out software beginning March 28.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.