Pioneer backtracks on DVD-Audio launch

Will release players on time despite cracked DVD-Audio copyright protection

Pioneer has bowed to public demand and decided to release its DVD-Audio players on schedule.

Earlier this month several major Japanese manufacturers put the launch of their players on hold after a Norwegian hacker broke the code in the copyright protection system of DVDs and posted it on the Internet. This scared content providers, such as the major five record labels, which pressured the manufacturers to delay the launch of players until a more effective copy protection system had been developed.

But Pioneer has now reneged on its former position, claiming that previous launch announcements had heightened consumer demand. As a new copy protection system is expected to take at least six months, Pioneer claimed that delaying the launch of the player would harm the developing DVD-Audio industry.

To allay customers' fears, Pioneer has announced that it will offer free upgrades to the players once a new copy protection system is adopted. With major content providers unwilling to issue software titles until this is resolved, the company also plans to release titles of Pioneer owned audio content.

Pioneer's two DVD-Audio players will go on sale in Japan later this month.

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