Electronics giant Samsung Electronics must not have gotten the message that HD DVD is dead because the company Sunday unveiled a high definition disc player that accepts both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD discs.
There have long been rumours of the existence of the BD-UP5000 dual format player by Samsung, but the Sunday revelation made it formal, and at an awkward time for the HD DVD format.
On Friday, Warner Bros announced it had decided to drop HD DVD and back Blu-ray Disc exclusively, citing the need to reduce customer confusion by offering titles in only one format. The decision tilts the format battle to Blu-ray Disc because now, five of the big seven Hollywood studios back Blu-ray Disc with only two, Paramount and Universal, still behind HD DVD.
A number of analysts called the Warner move a death blow to the HD DVDcause because so much content will now only be available on Blu-ray Disc. The two have been battling for the past few years to become the high definition discs to replace DVDs.
Someone forgot to tell Samsung. The company is a Blu-ray Disc camp veteran and has up to now only put out Blu-ray Disc players. But the BD-UP5000 will be available in the second half of this year in major markets, and shows that at least some companies still believe in HD DVD.
The BD-UP5000 is an attempt to reduce confusion in the market by making the choice easy for consumers because it will accept discs in both the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats, Samsung said.
There are other dual-format high definition disc players on the market, including one made by LG Electronics. The trouble with combining Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD into one machine is cost. Samsung's BD-UP5000 is expected to retail at around US$1000, an official at the launch ceremony said. Some stand-alone HD DVD disc players retail for less than $300 on Amazon.com, while stand-alone Blu-ray Disc players sell for under $500.