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Samsung Unveils 2nd-Generation Up-Conversion DVDs

Looking to advance the DVD up-conversion technology it introduced a year ago, Samsung unveiled at CES its next generation of up-conversion players, which joined select DVD models with universal multi-channel music compatibility.

The company’s 2004 video lineup also includes big-screen portable DVD players, a trio of DVD recorders, and a new line of miniDV camcorders, including the company’s DuoCam concept.

Samsung is offering two up-conversion DVD players that will process standard definition DVDs to output 720p or 1,080i HDTV format signals. Both models will playback a variety of disc formats, including SACD and DVD-Audio multi-channel music discs.

Model DVD-HD841 up-converts 480p to a selectable HD format in the digital domain, eliminating data loss and artifact introduction through D-to-A and A-to-D conversion. It will ship in third quarter at a $249.99 suggested retail.

The step-up model DVD-HD941 adds Faroudja’s Directional Correlational De-interlacing (DCDi) technology, HDMI output, black-level adjustment, increased resolution settings and discrete IR codes. It will ship in the third quarter at a $349.99 suggested retail.

Samsung will also continue to offer a lineup of portable DVD players, including the DVD-L1200 ($1,199.99, first quarter), which the company said has “the world’s largest screen of 12 inches.” The unit measures just over 1-inch thick, and includes a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, three headphone jacks, A/V inputs and outputs, including an S-video connection and a credit card-sized remote control. The player also offers Adaptive Image Control, which enables the viewer to select one of four different viewing settings that maximize LCD performance based on ambient lighting conditions.

In DVD recorders, Samsung offers three new decks, all of which are capable of supporting three different recording formats. The formats are DVD-RAM, DVD-RW and DVD-R.

The entry deck, DVD-R100, offers a Time Shift function when using DVD-RAM media. This allows simultaneous recording and playback, as well as live picture pause and replay. It also has one-touch and timer recording options, digital noise reduction and 480p progressive-scan video output.

The step-up DVD- VR300 combines the DVD recorder with a VHS VCR for multi-recording and easy tape-to-DVD (and vice versa) dubbing capability. The unit has progressive scan DVD, VCD, VHS and S-VHS video output.

DVD-HR800 combines a DVD recorder with a 120GB internal hard disk drive capable of storing up to 160 hours of programming. In addition to progressive scan-playback and a super-slim (79mm) form factor, the DVD-HR800 has 6-in-2 Multi Flash memory card slots. It can playback JPEG and MP3 files with Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Multi Memory Card, Secure Digital Card, Smart Media Card or CompactFlash Card. A Gemstar TV Guide Onscreen electronic programming guide is also featured, enabling the user to easily select and record any program.

In camcorders, Samsung showed its latest MiniDV format lineup, featuring multi-format memory card slots and multi-language OSD options.

A highlighted model is the DuoCam SC-D6040, which combines two lenses for optimal video and still-image photography. The lens design allows switching between a 4.13 megapixel digital camera and a DV camcorder at the push of a button. It includes a 2-inch LCD screen and a color LCD viewfinder.

The DuoCam SC-D6040, which is slated to ship this summer at a $999.99 suggested retail, includes Samsung’s Power Nite Pix technology for capturing low-light video and additionally supports a MPEG-4 video clip recording onto flash memory cards. USB and IEEE 1394 ports are included for fast data transfer between the camera and a PC or Mac. Other features include a 3x optical/6x digital zoom, built-in auto flash and Schneider optics. It will accept Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Secure Digital and MultiMedia flash memory cards.

The SCD-100 Series features the SC-D103 and the SC-D107, which both sport a new compact shooting design, measuring 12 percent smaller than last year’s models. Each offers a 680,000-pixel CCD and lens system, color slow shutters, video lights, Digital Image Stabilization, MPEG-4 support and an EZ-Dial Navigator ease command setting. Also included are IEEE 1394 and USB ports for downloading, and Samsung’s Power Nite Pix technology for capturing video in low-light situations.

The SCD-103 ($349.99 suggested retail, March) uses an 18x optical/900x digital zoom, a 112,000-pixel 2.5-inch LCD, a black-and-white viewfinder and Memory Stick Slot. The SCD-107 ($449.99 suggested retail, April) adds a 20x optical/900x digital zoom, a 225,000-pixel 3.5-inch LCD, a color viewfinder remote control and a Multi-Card memory slot.

SCD-300/400 series includes the SC-D303 ($399.99 suggested, April) and the SC-D407 ultra-compact models. Both feature a 123,000-pixel 2.5-inch LCD, slow shutter, Digital Image Stabilization, EZ-Dial Navigator and IEEE 1394 and USB ports. The SCD-303 offers a 680,000-pixel CCD, 20x optical/900x digital zoom; color viewfinder, MPEG-4 support and a Memory Stick slot.

The SCD-407 ($549.99 suggested, August) offers a quarter-inch, 1.33 megapixel CCD, a 10x optical/800x digital zoom, SXGA resolution, a manual focus dial, digital PCM stereo, external microphone and Multi-Card memory slot.