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Warner Home Video's US HD DVD roll-out will be smaller and later than previously anticipated. The home entertainment company yesterday said it would ship a mere three titles on 18 April, offering Million Dollar Baby, The Last Samurai and The Phantom of the Opera for $29 a pop. It promised 17 more HD DVDs will follow in the weeks after the initial offering.

The further releases include Batman Begins, Constantine, Training Day and The Matrix - many of which were expected to be part of the day-one roll-out, which was originally named as 28 March - three weeks ahead of the current date.

Warner said the movies would "offer resolution six times higher than standard definition DVDs", by which we assume it means 1920 x 1080 - six times the NTSC standard 720 x 480. They will also contain 7.1-channel soundtrack mixes.

In January, HD DVD supporters claimed the format would debut in the US by the end of March. However, only Toshiba has announced HD DVD players for the US market - the high-end, $800 HD-XA1, the $500 HD-A1 and, for computer users, the Qosmio Q30 notebook. ®

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