The format war between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD has finally reached consumers, now that Samsung is shipping the BD-P1000 Blu-Ray player to retailers. The BD-P1000 ($999.99 list) will go on sale June 25, making it the first Blu-Ray player to hit the market. Until now, the only high-definition video player shoppers could buy has been the Toshiba HD-A1, which has been in short supply.
The BD-P1000 is twice the price of the HD-A1, but Jim Sanduski, senior vice president of marketing for Samsungs Audio and Video Products Group, says that wont hurt sales. "Dealer demand is really strong," Sanduski says. "Yes, we are double the price of HD-DVD, but we are confident people will buy as many as we can build."
The Samsung BD-P1000 supports full 1080p playback, something the first generation of HD-DVD players do not. The BD-P1000 also up-converts conventional DVDs to 1080p to improve video quality. The player comes with HDMI, Component, S-video and composite outputs. Samsung has also included a 10-in-2 multi-memory-card interface for viewing digital images directly from flash cards.
There will be just 10 Blu-Ray titles available when the BD-P100 ships, including 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, A Knights Tale, The Last Waltz, Resident Evil Apocalypse, and xXx. Sanduski says by the end of year the number of titles will swell to as many as 200.
This is one area where Blu-Ray could have a potential advantage over HD-DVD. "Eighty-four percent of all the movies released last year were made by studios that have announced support for Blu-Ray," according to Sanduski. "That is a huge strike against HD-DVD." To be fair, some studios plan to release movies on both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.