A True HD DVD/Blu-ray Combo Player?

A True HD DVD/Blu-ray Combo Player? Last Year Korean Electronics Giant, Samsung, announced plans for a universal player… What happened?
Those of you who are in the ‘know’ are saying, ‘Yeah David, big deal, LG already has one’. I will concede that point. However, in my extensive research I have learned that the LG BH100 is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Let’s set aside for now the fact that its’ entry price is anywhere from $999 to $1199, what about the important stuff like, oh I don’t know, functionality. While it’s true that the LG offers the ability to have the best of both worlds when it comes to hi-def discs, the large number of features it lacks and the many quirks it exhibits will limit its’ appeal. It has substandard surround sound decoding, no CD playback ability, and probably most disappointing is the inability to utilize HDi interactive features of the HD DVD format. Oh, and did I mention it’s expensive? The smallish, HDTV in my wife and my bedroom was about that price, and my 50″ HDTV I bought last winter for downstairs only cost $700 more. The LG hardly seems a bargain to me.

When setting out to write this article I did not intend on bashing LG. They made a valiant effort, but I did need to acknowledge the combo players’ existence as well as give an honest evaluation. Now that I have done that, let’s talk about the technological venture into this relatively uncharted territory. Technology companies have acknowledged that these combo players may BD-UP5000be a niche category, but that it’s one that should not be ignored.

Ron Sanders, President of Warner Home Video stated “This is an innovative product that can move us closer to mainstream consumer adoption of HD technologies.” (Samsung, April 2007) In fact, that is a sentiment echoed in many places across cyber-space. The idea is that, by creating high quality, affordable combo players, you open up the world of HD to consumers who might otherwise loom back in the shadows, taking a wait and see approach to the format battle. Samsung plans on releasing the combo unit sometime this fall, however they have not announced an official release date or pricing at this point.

According to digitimes, the Samsung Duo Blu-ray/HD DVD player will launch this fall and cost approximately $600 US. This pricing estimate is believed to be erroneous and due to a misinterpretation of Samsung’s statement that the player will cost 400 euro more than their Blu-ray standalone players. Even so, there will still be a market for this player due to its’ ability to utilize both HDi and BD-J technology, the interactive features found on HD DVD and Blu-ray.

“Samsung’s Duo HD player will allow consumers access to every HD movie title available regardless of the authoring format. Samsung is committed to making life simpler through technology and will market next generation DVD products which will satisfy the consumer and market requirement. This is a big win for the consumer.” (Samsung, April 2007)

Well, in closing, Samsung… I agree. If your player lives up to the hype, and does what it says, then this is a big win for the consumer. In fact, if you want me to go ahead and test a unit out for you, prior to release, I would be happy to lend a hand. My address is… Oh never mind…

3 Comments on “A True HD DVD/Blu-ray Combo Player?”

  1. I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on this Samsung Duo HD player. With blu-ray players still priced at $499, I doubt this Samsung player will be less than $800 at launch…

  2. It’s a shame that there even has to be a combo-player in the first place, but it doesn’t look like this format war is going to end anytime soon. Both the Blu-ray and HD-DVD camps have effectively delayed widespread consumer adoption of HD discs by several years because of this stalemate. Now instead of waiting for HD-DVD or Blu-ray players to hit the magical $200 priceline, we have to wait for the combo players to mature and hit that benchmark…

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