Samsung has unveiled plans to launch a Blu-ray player as early as April, making it one of the first manufacturers to market a player geared towards the next generation DVD format.

The Model, which will launch in America first, is expected to be priced around $1000 (£600) and will support 1080i and 720p output as well as standard definition signals.

Although movie studios have announced a number of titles in recent weeks, none of the studios have suggested whether or not they will be releasing discs in time for an April launch.

Either way, the news will cause concern for Toshiba and the HD-DVD camp. The company, alongside Thomson and Sanyo are all planning launches of HD-DVD players in March in an attempt to get a head start over the competing format.

Toshiba was hoping to use its first-to-market status as a key advantage in building early market momentum, however Samsung's announcement means this lead has been slashed to a mere 30 days.