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Pioneer to market DVD-Audio players on schedule
TOKYO Pioneer Corp. has decided to launch DVD-Audio/DVD-Video players late this month in Japan as originally scheduled. Pioneer, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. and Victor Company of Japan Ltd. (JVC) had previously postponed DVD-Audio plans after a hackers broke the content scrambling system (CSS), the copy protection scheme for DVD-Video, and made it public on the Internet.

Since then, audio software manufacturers has sought to boost CSS2, the copy protection scheme for DVD-Audio. 4C Entity LLC, a joint organization of IBM, Intel, Matsushita and Toshiba, will develop and propose a new copy-protection scheme.

Anticipating that the new scheme was at least six months away, Pioneer chose not to wait. The firm will release two players in December: a DVD Video and Audio player, as well as a high-end version that incorporates a Super Audio CD player. Both can play DVD-Audio disks without copy protection.

"These players are not just DVD-Audio players but are high grade players in terms of DVD-Video play back. Our customers are waiting for the players," said a Pioneer spokesman.

Pioneer does not expect that any DVD-Audio software titles will be released until the copy-protection issue is settled, so the company is considering releasing DVD-Audio disks without any copy protection. The company would draw from Pioneer-owned audio content. Pioneer also plans to offer free upgrades to its players after the new copy protection system is finalized.

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