UPDATED: Samsung intros dual-format Blu-ray and HD DVD player

Samsung Electronics, which last year introduced the first Blu-ray Disc player, says it will support the rival HD DVD format as well, a move hailed by supporters of the number two entrant in the high-definition disc format war.

The Korean consumer electronics manufacturer said Friday it expects to introduce a dual-format machine that will play Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD software in stores in time for the summer holidays. The machine is expected to cost somewhat more than the £450 plus you currently have to pay for Samsung’s Blu-ray-only BD-P10000.

The announcement comes at a time when Blu-ray software continues to outsell HD DVD software. HD DVD is supported by three major studios – Universal, Warner and Paramount – but Warner and Paramount also support Blu-ray. 20th Century Fox, Disney and Sony Pictures are exclusively in the Blu-ray camp, as is mini-major Lionsgate.

On the consumer electronics front, Blu-ray also enjoys the advantage, with set-top players on the market from Samsung, Sony, Phillips and Panasonic. Only Toshiba manufactures dedicated HD DVD players. Sony’s PlayStation 3 games console comes with a built-in Blu-ray drive, while Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has an HD DVD drive as an add-on.

LG Electronics also has a dual-format player on the market – although as it does not support HDi it is technically not compliant with HD DVD spec – and Warner this year plans to introduce a Total HD disc with Blu-ray content on one side and HD DVD content on the other.

Dongsoo Jun, executive VP of the Digital AV Division at Samsung Electronics, said his company also ‘is flexible to market a stand-alone HD DVD player whenever consumers demand it’.

‘Our main concern is not technology but consumer choice,’ he said. ‘Consumers are hungry for more HD content but are currently confused about competing formats.’

The Samsung news was hailed by Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment and a key Hollywood supporter of the HD DVD format. THe said that the fact that Samsung, which for so long has been an exclusive Blu-ray supporter, is going the dual-format route ‘is an acknowledgement of the tremendous value that HD DVD brings to the early adopter of high-definition-packaged media’.

Kornblau and other HD DVD supporters believe the imminent entry into the open-platform HD DVD market of low-priced players from Chinese consumer electronics manufacturers will ultimately tip the scale in favour of that format.

‘Look what affordable players did for DVD,’ Kornblau said. ‘DVD didn’t really go mass market until the Chinese came in.’

Samsung first touted the possibility of a dual-format player 18 months ago, promising to release such a device sometime in 2006. According to the Blu-ray Disc Association those plans were scrapped, though not for long, it would seem.

In a separate development, Sony has discontinued the 20GB version of the Blu-ray equipped PlayStation 3. The Blu-ray Disc Association notes that 20GB version provided a cheap entry point into Blu-ray market, but Sony said that in the US demand has been nine-to-one in favour of the higher-spec model with a 60GB internal drive (not to mention integrated Wi-Fi and card reader). Sony excluded the 20GB version from last month’s European release of the games console.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos