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Samsung Bows Blu-ray With HQV, BD Live

Ridgefield Park, N.J. — Samsung unveiled a new step-up Blu-ray Disc player that will include Silicon Optix’ HQV video processing support and BD-Live interactive playback capability.

The BD-P2500, which ships in October at a $499 suggested retail, includes an Ethernet connection to allow for firmware upgrades and BD-Live support.

The company said the unit will be BD-Live compatible out-of-the-box and will enable playback both BD-Live and BonusView interactive features. Samsung said the unit has built-in 1GB of memory into the player so users will not be required to connect external memory from USB thumb drives or flash memory cards to run BD-Live features.

In addition to adding HQV processing for DVD upconversion, the player will include 7.1-channel analog audio outputs, for consumers with A/V receivers with multi-channel input support.

Other features include a USB port for memory expansion and JPEG image file playback; an HDMI 1.3 output with xvYCC Deep Color support, and a 24fps film mode for smoother playback of film-based material.

The player also provides out- of the-box support for the following surround sound formats: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and dts as an uncompressed PCM signal, as a bitstream, or via the 7.1 analog outputs for cinematic sound that is comparable with the latest movie theaters.

In addition, dts-HD HR (high resolution) decoding will become available with a firmware upgrade in the fall, Samsung said.

The BD-P2500 will also pass these and dts-HD MA (Master Audio) as a bitstream output to a separate, external surround sound decoder.

Samsung said users can make firmware updates three different ways: via the embedded Ethernet connection, USB port, or on CD/DVD/BD disc.

The BD-P2500 represents a step-up over the currently available BD-P1500, which is BD-Live upgradeable via a firmware update and the addition of 1GB of memory via a USB thumb drive connection. That unit also omits HQV video processing and the 7.1-channel analog audio outputs.

Meanwhile, Best Buy recently introduced the BD-P2550 ($499), which is a similarly configured and priced model to the BD-P2500. The BD-P2550 was said to be a derivative model offered as an exclusive to the retail chain.

Reid Sullivan, Samsung A/V and imaging marketing VP, told TWICE that Samsung expects the industry to sell about 3 million dedicated Blu-ray Disc players in the United States for the full year of 2008. Sluggish sales, due to limited availability in the early part of the year, have picked up significantly during the second half, he said. That pace is expected to accelerate next year to over 5 million U.S. player sales, he forecasted.