While no official statement has been made by the industry yet, according to an article in German technology magazine c’t the final specifications for Advanced Access Content System (AACS), which handles many of the security and copy protection features of the upcoming HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats, have still not been approved. Evidently in a meeting last week, which was supposed to yield the final specs, some of the open points had not been addressed yet. Since both, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray rely on AACS for their hardware implementation, this hiccup will inevitably cause a delay in both format’s launch. Ironically, the points that caused the dissent are, reportedly, issues affecting only Blu-Ray with its increased security mechanics, and yet, it will also delay the HD-DVD launch and as a result pretty much guarantee that both formats will now launch at the exact same time.
Hardware manufacturers for both camps have been waiting to start production of their set top player and the only thing missing right now is the final implementation of AACS. According to one Blu-Ray hardware manufacturer quoted in the article, the company is virtually only waiting for the final specs and will be able to have final hardware available two to three weeks after the implementation, not considering other logistic issues.
The next meeting of the AACS group will be held on February 23 and 24, and hopefully by then the specs can be finalized. If that is the case, expect HD-DVD and Blu-Ray to hit retail with about one month delay as opposed to their original March/April time plan.