Samsung Cites Time's 'Ovation' in Blu-ray Mixed Review

It can be amusing how two parties can see the same product review and walk away with very different opinions of what it says. A few days ago, Samsung sent out its monthly "Samsung Ovations" e-mail that typically includes positive reviews of its products.

One review that caught our eye was Samsung's heads up this week that a noted magazine had tapped its new Blu-ray disc player as its "Gadget of the Week" under Samsung's headline, "Time Talks Up the BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc Player." Yet a quick look at the review found something a bit more subdued than an ovation.

While the June 28 review by Time's Wilson Rothman, at one point, did refer to the Samsung unit as producing a "smooth and flawless" picture, it wasn't without some difficulty for the Time reviewer to view the "picture," to begin with. Rothman said that the first set of new Blu-ray discs he tried were not recognized by the new player (although it did recognize a traditional DVD disc right away).

The reviewer said it took nearly a day for the Blu-ray player to start accepting Blu-ray discs (including the previously rejected ones). Samsung, the review noted, assured Time that the problem could be overcome with a firmware upgrade via a disc. (This apparently was not the same correctible problem, later noted by Samsung, which also affected the BD-P1000. See HD Notebook, July 26, 2006.)

Rothman reported that Samsung assured him the review samples were not from the same production run as the ones now on retail shelves, "but I still urge caution. The BD-P1000 is first-generation equipment, and it, like Toshiba's HD DVD player, may be buggy."

The Time reviewer said (also cited in the firm's Samsung Ovations e-mail), "Once again, tables may turn when the $600 Blu-ray-equipped PlayStation 3 launches this November, but for the moment, Samsung's Blu-ray player costs twice as much as Toshiba's HD DVD player, and just isn't twice as good."