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Blu-ray Disc launch line-up revealed to Europeans

The usual suspects - but not the movie of the same name...

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IFA 06 The Blu-ray Disc next-generation optical disc format will launch in Europe this coming Christmas backed by a raft of content from the major studios, the Blu-ray Disc Association said yesterday.

Take 20th Century Fox. It's releasing Ice Age 2, Behind Enemy Lines, Fantastic Four, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Kiss of the Dragon, Speed, The Transporter, the Omen remake and the director's cut of The Kingdom of Heaven. These "early adopter"-oriented titles will arrive here on 14 November.

Warner would only say its titles will ship "late 2006", but the line-up includes Firewall, Syriana, Full Metal Jacket, Training Day and Space Cowboys.

To that list add Hitch, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, RV, The Fifth Element, Hostel, A Knight's Tale, SWAT, Tears of the Sun, Underworld Evolution and Ultraviolet from Sony Pictures and Mission Impossible III and a three-movie Mission Impossible box set from Paramount.

Philips yesterday announced it will ship its BDP9000 Blu-ray Disc player in Europe early next year. It was the only hardware vendor to reveal its consumer player plans yesterday, suggesting the Blu-ray Disc camp has pretty much left the hardware business to Sony and its PlayStation 3, which ships in Europe on 17 November.

Philips, incidentally, has delayed the release of its promised PC-oriented internal BD burner, the SPD7000 TripleWriter, from August to September. The move follows Lite-on's decision to reschedule the debut of its own BD writer and tends to confirm claims that limited supplies of blue-laser diodes, an essential part of such drives' read/write mechanisms, are hindering vendors' product plans. ®

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