Samsung Shares Blu-ray Disc Plans

LAS VEGAS -- Samsung Electronics will get a jump on its competitors by launching a Blu-ray Disc player in April this year, the company said this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show here.

Most other Blu-ray Disc supporters that have talked about shipping dates have set mid-2006 targets, so the Samsung machine currently stands to be the first to market. Toshiba is planning to launch two players that support HD-DVD, the competing format to Blu-ray Disc, in March this year.

The BD-P1000 player will cost $1000 and will be able to output high-definition video on an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) at 720p and 1080i (720 lines progressive scanning and 1080 lines interlaced scanning) resolutions. That's the same as the Toshiba players and means that both first-generation high-definition optical disc players won't be able to output a signal at 1080p, which is considered the best of several high-definition picture standards.

Samsung said it didn't implement 1080p support in the interest of speeding up development.

"It allows us to get to market quicker, and so as we look at future models we'll look at 1080p output," Jim Sanduski, senior vice president of marketing for Samsung Electronics America's digital and audio products group, explained to reporters at CES.

For the full 1080p picture, consumers will have to wait until the middle of the year for Pioneer to launch a Blu-ray Disc player. It will cost $1800, the company said this week.

Samsung's April launch could be delayed if BD Java, the standard for interactive features on Blu-ray Discs, isn't completed in time.

"BD Java is one thing that is still being worked out. The timetable, as I understand it, is late March," said Sanduski. "So that's why [our timetable is] end of April. We think we can do it."

For more CES coverage, head to PC World's CES Info Center.

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