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CES2006: Samsung Heralds 'Era of Blu-ray' with First Player

And so it begins.

Both sides in the next-gen DVD wars seemed to have put up impressive fronts at the CES last week, although based on the sheer number of announcements, events and press releases (a highly unscientific yardstick!), the Blu-ray guys seemed to have edged out the HD DVD team by less than the depth of a DVD disc. Alas, amid the avalanche of announcements in both camps, there was nothing publicly disclosed on any renewed talks to work out a single compatible format that will not daze and confuse consumers starting in a few months.

Samsung (opens in new tab) said in published reports that it formally kicked off "the era of Blu-ray" with its BD-P1000 Blu-ray disc player, which was unveiled at Internationale Funkausstellung last September, and demoed at CES at 720p and 1080i. Samsung said the new player will ship in early spring and will become the first BD player to be sold in the United States. Starting at an manufacturer's suggested retail price of about $1,000, it does not come cheap.

The Samsung Blu-ray player includes an HDMI (HD multimedia interface) output, an uncompressed, digital audio/video interface on a single cable for connection to existing sets, and reportedly will decode standard multichannel audio. The South Korean firm said it developed all components of the BD-P1000 internally, and it's backwards-compatible for playing standard DVDs and CDs.

The supported formats include DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+RW, and DVD+R.