The HD era has arrived as the first HD-DVD players and films go on sale in the US.

$499 and $799 players from Toshiba, as well as four movies, are now available to buy across the US at all Best Buy stores and select Sears, Wal-Mart, Costco and Tweeters in America.

The four titles are Serenity, Million Dollar Baby, The Last Samurai and Phantom of the Opera.

Blu-Ray is still a month away, with the first players and titles from the Sony-backed format due to arrive on the 23 May.

Other Universal titles in the HD-DVD pipeline include "Apollo 13" and "Doom" on April 25, followed by "Jarhead", "Cinderella Man" and "Assault on Precinct 13" on May 9 and "The Chronicles of Riddick", "The Bourne Supremacy", "Van Helsing" and "U-571" on May 23.

So far only Warner Bros and Universal have announced HD-DVD content.

Toshiba confirmed to Pocket-lint earlier this month that it would be launching a HD-DVD player in the UK later this year in time for Christmas.

However some analysts believe that the format will take time to take off, and won't be the overnight success story that DVD was.

One factor likely to slow down initial uptake is the price of the discs.

On, for example, the regular DVD version of "The Last Samurai" is listed at $9.99. The HD-DVD version costs $24.99.

The other major factor is that consumers are likely to want to wait to see how Sony's competing format Blu-ray fairs when that launches in May.

In a statement from Best Buy it says "Best Buy believes that one format will live and one will die".

We will keep you posted.