BLU-RAY PLAYER REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 22, 2007 0 comments

Samsung was first to market with a Blu-ray player in mid 2006: the <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/hddiscplayers/706dsamsungbd/">BD-P1000</A>. While it's no secret that that player drew serious criticisms from us, and others, it's also true that the first batch of Blu-ray titles did it no favors.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 12, 2007 0 comments
The $499 BDP-S300 is an important product, giving Blu-ray some much needed traction in the affordable player category. Combine that with recent news from rental powerhouse Blockbuster that it is expanding Blu-ray titles in its stores (at the expense of HD DVD in most cases), and the BDP-S300 looks like a no-brainer.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 12, 2007 0 comments

The price of machines that will play Blu-ray or HD DVD high-definition discs is coming down. The drop is faster on the HD DVD side of the battle lines, but at $499 Sony's new BDP-S300 is half the price of its (still available) first generation <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/hddiscplayers/1206sonybdps1/">BDP-S1</A>.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jul 09, 2007 Published: Jun 09, 2007 0 comments
Two that do one; one that does two.

LG shocked the consumer electronics world at CES when they announced that, not only were they coming out with a player that would play Blu-ray and HD DVD, but it would be shipping in less than a month. True to their word, it did, and I got one in to try out. Around the same time, Toshiba released a pair of second-generation HD DVD players. The model I look at here, the HD-XA2, is notable as it is the first HD DVD player to output 1080p. The Blu-ray camp (seeing as they had just released most of their players) had no such exciting newness beyond what you read about in our April issue. So, we got in the Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player, which is unique in that it doesn't seem to be a clone of any other players (which you can't say for many of the BD players out there). Where should your money go (if at all)? Just keep reading.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: May 18, 2007 Published: Apr 18, 2007 0 comments
No, for real this time.

After a rocky start with the flawed-out-of-the-box Samsung BD-P1000 player, Blu-ray finally hit the stores for real at the turn of the year with several new players. These range from the top-of-the-line Pioneer BDP-HD1 ($1,500), to Philips' the more sedate BDP9000 ($1,000), to the Sony PlayStation 3 ($499 or $599).

Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 29, 2007 0 comments
Shoot the robot dog. This is an HT gamer's new best friend.

It's just so beautiful. I realize that's a pretty shallow initial evaluation of Sony's much-hyped super-fun-happy-smile machine, the PlayStation 3. But the lines are so bold, the shape is so commanding, and it's all just so. . .shiny. Of course, it's what's inside that counts, and, in this case, that would be the imposing new Cell Broadband Engine, which Sony developed in collaboration with IBM and Toshiba. The Cell engine features a mind-blowing eight processors working in parallel—a main CPU, plus seven Synergistic Processing Units. It's 40 times as powerful as the PlayStation 2's processor, performing 208 billion floating-point calculations per second. This translates to highly detailed, highly interactive environments, complex effects, and bigger battles with a greater number of enemies. Backing this is the RSX graphics-processing unit, which is capable of 4X antialiasing. This can be a real boon in the large-format high-definition universe. The games themselves spin on the PS3's Blu-ray drive and arrive on high-capacity BD-ROM discs.

Posted: Mar 17, 2007 0 comments

Going back to those heady days of wine, roses and Laserdiscs, the general public, if aware at all of LD's existence, would yawn and claim to be interested when a recordable LD is introduced. Of course that never happened and LD is currently residing in the "where are they now" of consumer electronica.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 02, 2007 0 comments
Blu-ray and HD DVD in one box.

Well, no one saw this coming. We’re not that far into the format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray, and LG has come out with the BH100, a player that plays both formats. So, is that it? Format war over? Hardly.

Posted: Jan 18, 2007 Published: Jan 19, 2007 0 comments

  • $1,199
  • Digital Video Output: HDMI
  • Video Upconversion: 720p, 1080i
  • Audio Decoding: DD, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Ins and Outs: HDMI, others TBD
  • Feature Highlights: The world's first Blu-ray/HD DVD combi player, upconverting outputs for standard-def DVDs
Posted: Dec 18, 2006 0 comments

Even though this format war is a pain in the butt, I have to admit that it's funner to come in to work than it's been in years. I'm getting a charge out of seeing the hardware and seeing my favorite movies come out in HD on a silver disc that I've probably not felt since my Laserdisc collection gave way to DVDs back in the late 90's. To the cynic the next-gen HD formats are an Enron-esque scheme to perpetuate royalty streams and to keep selling movie libraries over and over (and over) again. I acknowledge all that, and say, "hooray!"

Posted: Dec 15, 2006 0 comments

In the years I've been covering consumer electronics I haven't seen anything like the introduction of Sony's PlayStation3 game console. The thing is a bonafide rock star. At the PS3's gala introduction in San Francisco gamers who had been camping out on the street for days actually cheered as an 18-wheeler with a full police escort rolled up carrying the game consoles, which went on sale at midnight and sold out Sony's initial US run of 150,000+ units within minutes.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 11, 2006 0 comments

We've waited what seems like an eternity for a top performing Blu-ray Disc player to challenge the head start HD DVD seized when it hit stores this past spring. Blu-ray's launch was dampened by the format's first player being the underperforming and poorly reviewed Samsung BD-P1000, which shipped with an incorrect noise reduction chip setting that caused soft imagery but that has since been corrected by a firmware update (a <I>UAV</I> follow-up is pending).

Posted: Dec 08, 2006 0 comments

In one significant way, the Blu-ray Disc format got off to an even more inauspicious start than the rival HD DVD format. <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/hddiscplayers/706dsamsungbd/">Samsung's BD-P1000</A> player was the first, and for months, the only BD player on the market. It had shipped with a Noise Reduction circuit cranked up to 11, softening the picture substantially and actually increasing the noise in the image by several orders of magnitude. On top of that, many BD titles released over the last several months have been surprisingly variable in image quality, even compared with broadcast HD. In short, a lot of the BD titles released so far just don't look very good.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Oct 21, 2006 Published: Oct 22, 2006 0 comments
Inside Samsung's BD-P1000 Blu-ray player.

It's rare that a product will get journalists from different publications all calling each other—and by rare I mean never. But that's what happened with Samsung's BD-P1000. There have been calls back and forth between different magazines, then different manufacturers. Even content providers have been keeping the phone lines busy for the past few weeks. At first, it was to see if everyone was seeing the same things, stemming from disbelief. Then, it was thoughts on what was going on. Next, it was trying to find answers. And it all started with this little DVD, er, Blu-ray player. (See my full review on page 126.)

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Oct 14, 2006 0 comments
The war begins. . .with a whimper.

With more than a little excitement, I hooked up the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray disc player. Here it is, the first Blu-ray player to hit the world. I put it right on top of the Toshiba HD-XA1 HD DVD player, which I'm sure the Blu-ray people would love to hear, and the HD DVD people not so much. I ran the HDMI cable to the virtually reference-quality Yamaha DPX-1300 projector, put in my old standby The Fifth Element (of course), and sat back, ready to enjoy. The disc started up promptly (take that, Toshiba!), and, within seconds, there was Blu-ray. It only took a few seconds more before I uttered something along the lines of, "What the hell?"

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