from www.thedigitalbits.com Today's issue of the Wall Street Journal features an article on HD-DVD, which indicates that the HD-DVD camp seems to be scaling back its 4th Qtr launch. Only Toshiba will likely have a player available in time for the holiday season launch, which at least Circuit City will carry (the exact date of availability has yet to be announced, but expect the price to be over $1,000). While Paramount had promised to issue some 20 HD-DVD titles for the debut, they now say they won't release any in 2005. Universal has trimmed back from 16 to 12 titles. Warner hasn't yet announced its HD-DVD software plans, reportedly waiting to see if there's an 11th hour compromise between the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc camps. From the story: "If there is a unification of formats, we would want to work toward that," said Jim Cardwell, president of Warner Home Video, who didn't rule out a holiday-season launch for Warner movies on HD-DVD. Home Media Retailing's T.K. Arnold has posted a similar story, adding that Warner Home Video may now wait until the 1st Qtr of 2006 to launch software titles on HD-DVD format. Another quote: We are considering rolling back our launch in the hopes of a last-minute compromise, which would avoid two formats straining the marketplace, said Jim Cardwell, president of Warner Home Video." What's more, according to another story at HMR, new market studies conducted by Jupiter Research indicate that consumer interest in these new HD formats is still very low. We believe here at The Bits that a compromise at this point is unlikely, although we haven't given up hope. We expect that both the HD-DVD and Blu-ray camps are getting an angry earful from retailers about the inconvenience of having to carry two new HD disc formats in addition to regular DVD. Whatever happens, WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE ALL OUR READERS, PARTICULARLY EARLY ADOPTERS, TO SAVE YOUR MONEY. We know that some of you out there are excited about the prospect of HD on disc, and already have your own particular preference of the two formats, but if sales of both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc are weak in the initial weeks and months after the launch of each format, the two camps will feel increasing pressure to sit down and seriously talk about a compromise. DON'T ENCOURAGE THE FORMAT WAR.