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New Blu-ray Player Is Rock Soup

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The Samsung BD-P1600 seems to have it act together.  For an almost entry level Blu-ray player, it sports a name brand disc player, BD-Live functionality, and also can stream video from a NetFlix account.  All in all, I'd think that it would be capable of everything that you would expect a new Blu-ray set top box to do these days, and the $300 price tag is not too far off the mark for the fuller feature set offered.


However, when delved into a little deeper, not all is so well done.  The BD-Live function needs "an additional 1 gig of storage."  Huh?  Where is that coming from?  A flash drive maybe?  Couldn't they just put the memory into the device already?

If that wasn't enough, it also is wireless capable, but needs another Samsung adapter to enable this.  Personally, I'd just rather have an Ethernet port, and let me choose if I hook it up via Powerline, or a wireless bridge adapter.  The mere thought of being locked into a propietary network solution sends a shiver down my spine.

At any rate, the player is showing up in Best Buys.  Just be aware that it needs some more dough to make it fully featured.

Samsung Produces Some Sexy Blu-ray Players

Bdp4600

Samsung's non-HTiB Blu-ray players for 2009 are lookers to be sure. They were debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show today and include the very sexy, wall mountable BD-P4600 and the more traditional, but still cool looking, set top form BD-P3600.

The BD-P4600 measures around 1.5-inches thin and comes with a piano black design infused with ruby highlights, and finished with clear, prism-like edging. It also has an integrated stand in case one doesn't want to wall mount it. The BD-P3600, meanwhile, comes encased in deep black with charcoal grey highlights curving along the outer edges.

Features abound on these two players, including BD Live, Bonus View, 1080p playback, DVD upscaling, support for JPEG photos and DivX videos, wireless/wired Internet connection options to bring Netflix or Pandora online entertainment choices to the viewer, 1GB of internal memory and touch sensitive controls.

Samsung Rolls Up Blu-ray Player into Sound Bar

Samsungbd8200

Samsung brought a number of new innovate Blu-ray products to the Consumer Electronics Show this year. One catching eyes in the home theater in a box category is the HT-BD8200, a Blu-ray home theater sound bar which is self contained.

The HT-BD8200 features a fully integrated Blu-ray player with 1080p playback and virtual 5.1-channel surround sound. It is a wall-mountable home theater bar only 2.6-inches deep. It supports BD-Live, sports integrated wireless 802.11n, supports streaming Netflix videos, makes use of a wireless subwoofer, has an iPod dock, offers Bluetooth support and does its own volume level adjustments on the fly.

Other Blu-ray home theater in a box systems announced by Samsung include the HT-BD7200 and HT-BD1250. The former is a self contained system with simulated 5.1 channel surround sound using just two speakers and 400W output and optional wireless networking. The speaker unit is also constructed from kelp, said to provide more audio clarity compared with conventional paper cone units. The HT-BD1250 also has kelp speaker units, 1,000 watts of output and is Wi-Fi ready.

Thin Is In

Samsungbdp1400 These days, when it comes to electronics, it is often all about making the thinnest product available.  For example, when it comes to flat panel TV's, while the current crop is plenty slim, they will be replaced by even thinner models, likely using OLED tech, in the next few years.

Now, what will you put next to that really thin HDTV?  Well, if Samsung has their way, it will be a seriously svelte Blu-ray player.  Sporting a shiny black finish (that is often a "dust magnet" in my experience), and plenty of curves, this Blu-ray player is a mere 39 mm thick.  Pricing and availability are still not set, but details are expected at the this year's CES, due to start this Thursday.

In the meantime, maybe someone can do something about the thickness of my cable box.  No matter how thin my HDTV is, the cable box still looks like it is a surplus piece of electronics from the Apollo moon missions!

Blu-ray To Go

Samsungr610laptop What's better than a Blu-ray player?  How about a notebook with a Blu-ray drive built in?  Then all that hi def goodness can go wherever you need it to.  In the UK, Samsung is introducing their R610 notebook that takes an intriguing approach to a portable Blu-ray notebook.  Forgetting about the drive for a moment, it features an Intel Centrino 2 processor.  Add in a 16 inch screen (Ever try dragging around a 17" notebook? Trust me, this is big enough.), Vista Home Premium, and 4 gigs of RAM.  Don't let me forget the 320 gig hard drive, or the included webcam, not to mention Bluetooth.  While the 2 Watt speakers don't exactly point to a home theater experience while on the road, the rest of the specs should provide a solid viewing platform, as well as above average mobile computing power.

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Blu-ray: "I'm Not Dead Yet."

Samsung_logo I think we can all admit that despite Blu-ray smacking down HD-DVD in the next gen disc format battle, it has not taken off like a rocket going into orbit.  Rather, many folks have taken a wait and see attitude pending less expensive players with a fuller feature set including BD Live 2.0.  In this down economy, none of us want to own the next laser disc after all.

However, one Samsung exec offers a view that this is the hey day of Blu-ray, and the decline is soon.  He is already talking about the replacement (the next gen of the next gen disc format, aka: Nex Gen 2.0?):

Samsung has said that it sees the Blu-ray format only lasting a further 5 years before it is replaced by another format or technology.

"I think it [Blu-ray] has 5 years left, I certainly wouldn't give it 10", Andy Griffiths, director of consumer electronics at Samsung UK told Pocket-lint in an interview.

Hoping to capitalise before it's too late, Griffiths believes that 2008 is the format's year.

"It's going to be huge", he told Pocket-lint. "We are heavily back-ordered at the moment."

Citing online rental sites like LoveFilm's adoption of Blu-ray titles, the move to offer cheaper players and a now clear path to adoption following the Blu-ray HD DVD battle, Griffith says the format will be a winner, although not for long.

Instead Samsung is putting its faith in its OLED technology. The new technology, which is "ready to rock", is being held back at the moment due to high manufacturing costs.

"We will launch the OLED technology when it's at a price that will be appealing to the consumer, unfortunately that's not yet."

What the heck is he talkin' about?  Last time I checked, OLED is not a way to store video, but the likely replacement for LCD TV's.  While they promise brighter colors, more energy efficiency and even thinner screens, I have no idea why they will replace Blu-ray discs.  I think in this case, the reports of Blu-ray's death are somewhat exaggerated. 

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New Samsung Blu-ray Player

8901227_ra Just when we thought the trend was for sub-$300 players (with sub-$200 not too far behind), our friends over at Format War Central find a player bucking this trend.  Some serious scouring of the Best Buy site reveals a Samsung Blu-ray player that is seriously new, and sports a $499 price tag.  For this amazingly high price, we don't even get a media card slot, and it's unclear what the story is on BD Live support.  While it is always nice to see new hardware, it seems to me that this is the wrong player for our current economy.