Samsung delays US Blu-ray players until June 25

Seoul (South Korea) - In a clear indication that Blu-ray player manufacturers are indeed having trouble implementing high-definition technologies that haven’t quite rolled off the assembly line yet, Samsung announced late today it is delaying the US rollout of its BD-P1000 Blu-ray players from 23 May to 25 June.

Samsung’s BD-P1000 Blu-ray disc player. (Courtesy Samsung) 

Although the company says it needs more time to test its product’s compatibility with test discs that will only become available to manufacturers this month, the company also said it intends to add new features to the product, including one which many had already believed to be standard equipment. Samsung says the system will now provide native 1080p output via the HDMI interface, for discs mastered in 1920 x 1080 resolution. Blu-ray proponents, especially those speaking on behalf of the Blu-ray Disc Association, have long stated that 1080p (progressive) resolution will be one of the key distinguishing factors between its components and HD DVD, the first editions of which - due later this month from Toshiba - will only be capable of 1080i (interlaced) output. HD DVD proponents discount the weight of those distinctions.

Also, Samsung states it will add the capability to upconvert the resolution of conventional DVDs to 1080p. The efficacy of upconversion has been a matter of considerable debate, especially since few working examples from 480 to 1080 lines have ever been seen outside the laboratories.

Finally, Samsung is adding, of all things, a memory card reader for Mini-SD and Memory Stick Pro Duo, enabling high-definition photographs to be projected through the player, onto the high-def display. Memory card readers had been expected to be a feature of new high-def displays themselves. Samsung continues to report an "expected street price" of $999, which means the MSRP will probably be somewhat higher.

Samsung may be one of the first manufacturers, after Sony, with a Blu-ray player available on the "street," with Pioneer’s models expected in July, and Panasonic’s recently slated for September.

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