Sony now plans to release a Blu-ray high-definition DVD player in the U.S. in October and a combination recorder-player in Japan later in the year, the company announced in Tokyo today (Tuesday). The delay will give Toshiba's rival HD-DVD player a six-month headstart over Sony. Samsung released a Blu-ray player in the U.S. in June, but few have turned up on retailers' shelves. Kiyoshi Nishitani, the Sony executive who oversees Sony's Blu-ray business, declined to state how much Sony's player will cost. The battle between Sony and Toshiba's incompatible formats is likely to keep sales for both down, analysts said. "DVD sales will go down this year because consumers know about high definition but they don't know which format to buy," Netflix Chairman Reed Hastings told today's Los Angeles Times. "The problem with picking sides is that creates consumer anxiety, and so they'll just stop buying, period, or slow down their buying."