Ridgefield Park (NJ) – Samsung today officially introduced its third generation of high-definition playback devices, including a Blu-ray home theater system as well as the company’s first hybrid player that can play Blu-ray and HD DVD media.
While the format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD is still in full swing, there are more vendors who aren’t waiting for more signs which format actually will get the upper hand. Samsung today became the second vendor to offer a CE HD player that is compatible with Blu-ray as well as HD DVD media.
The dual-format “BD-UP5000 Duo HD” plays HD-DVD/BD-ROM/ DVD-ROM, DVD-+/R, DVD-+/RW, CD, CD-R and CD-RW media and includes the feature set one would expect from a higher-end HD player today: Integrated are 1080p capability for both HD formats, HDMI 1.3, decoding support for MPEG2, VC-1, H.264, HD JPEG as well as stereo and 7.1-channel audio outputs. The player will sell for a suggested retail price of $1050 beginning in Q4 of this year.
The announcement isn’t very surprising and the launch of such a product was considered a matter of time. Samsung, which previously offered only Blu-ray players, has direct access to HD DVD technology knowledge through TSST, a product development and manufacturing joint venture with Toshiba, the primary supporter of the HD DVD format.
Samsung also announced its first Blu-ray home theater system, the HT-BD2. The system, which will retail for about $1500, puts out 1100 watts through an active subwoofer. With the exception of HD DVD support, it has the same HD playback feature set as the BD-UP5000 Duo HD device.
The company also announced two more previously demonstrated and more affordable Blu-ray players. Starting in September, the company will be bringing the $550 BD-P1400 and in October the $650 BD-P2400 to market. Compared to the higher-end versions in the lineup, the 1400 model lacks HD upconversion capability and supports only 5.1 channel audio outputs (instead of 7.1)