CES: Samsung to Launch New Blu-ray Disc Player

Samsung Electronics on Sunday unveiled a new Blu-ray Disc player billed as its next-generation player, with technology similar to that used by Hollywood studios.

The BD-P1200 player isn’t out yet, and the company did not say exactly when it expects the device to hit store shelves or at what price. But it will mark a significant improvement over the BD-P1000 player launched in the United States in June 2006, executives said.

The company said the new device will offer the best video and audio quality available in high-definition (HD) disc players via its Hollywood Quality Video processor. The processor offers true 1080i (1080 lines with interlaced scanning) and 1080p (1080 horizontal lines of resolution and progressive scanning) output, which is the best of several standards deemed HD. The technology also enables the BD-P1200 to provide the best possible images from non-Blu-ray formats.

"The Blu-ray player will be a core part of our 2007 offerings," said David Steel, vice president for digital media at Samsung, during a news conference at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The BD-P1200 plays DVDs and CDs as well as Blu-ray discs, and supports the 192KHz LPCM, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, MPEG-2, DTS and MP3 formats.

The BD-P1200 will also play multimedia content from a variety of formats including 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolutions.

Blu-ray Disc technology is meant to replace DVDs and is backed by a long list of electronics companies including Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic). The discs can hold 25GB of data on a single-sided disc.

The main rival to Blu-ray is HD DVD, another high-definition disc backed by Toshiba, Microsoft, Intel and others. A single-sided HD-DVD disc can store 15GB of data. The discs these two technologies mean to replace, DVDs, store 4.7GB of data.

On Sunday, South Korean electronics giant LG Electronics shook up the format battle by unveiling a dual-format player and PC drive that plays both Blu-ray Discs and HD-DVD discs. The company expects to start selling the two devices in the United States in February for about US$1,199.

-Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service (Taipei Bureau)

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