Samsung Bows Combi Player And 3rd Gen Blu-ray Players

Samsung this week made official its plans to introduce two new, 3rd generation Blu-ray Disc players as well is its highly anticipated Duo HD combi player, which will play both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs.

Arriving first at the party is the BD-P1400 in September at $549 MSRP. This will be followed by the $649 BD-P2400 (pictured above) in October. Both players are spec'd to feature HDMI 1.3 outputs, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master lossless audio decoding, and 1080p/24 output. The BD-P2400 ups the ante by including Silicon Optix HQV video processing.

The BD-UP5000 (pictured below) is due in Q4 of 2007 at just over a thousand bucks ($1,049). In addition to playing back both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs it too will feature HDMI 1.3, Silicon Optix video processing, and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA decoding. Unlike the industry's first combi HD player, LG's Multi-Blue, the BD-UP5000 is spec'd for both BD-Java and full complicity with HD DVD's HDi navigation and interactivity.

However, after reading the press materials a number of questions remain. For instance, although the BD-UP500 is clearly specified to be compatible with Picture-In-Picture interactivity with HD DVDs, none of these players is explicitly specified to meet the hardware requirements required to support PIP functionality with Blu-ray Discs (BD-ROM Profile 1.1). BD players released after October of this year must comply with these requirements, but these players could hit the market prior to the deadline.

Also, the BD-UP5000 is touted as offering 1080p/24 output for Blu-ray Discs, but the same is not clearly spelled out for HD DVD discs. The press release merely says it offers 1080p HD DVD playback. We've followed up with Samsung on all these issues and will report any clarification we receive.

BD players are living in dog years. We just received Samsung's second generation BD-P1200 for review a couple of weeks ago,m and now here's official word on third-gen players that will be here in September. Will 4th-gen players be in stores for Christmas? Stay tuned!

7/30 Update:
Samsung responded to our inquiries, confirming that these new players will NOT be compatible with Picture-In-Picture based interactivity with Blu-ray Discs, and that the Duo HD player will output 1080p/24 with Blu-ray, but not HD DVD.

8/13 Update:
Samsung's PR re-responded that the Duo HD player will offer 1080p/24 output with HD DVDs as well. As of now, the story remains that these players will not support PIP features for Blu-ray when those features appear on discs. I did not merely go back and change the article so that those of you who read it previously don't start thinking you're crazy. Also, note that I asked these questions directly and received direct answers. The first answer unequivocally said no 1080p/24 on HD DVD, and then a subsequent email from the same person corrected this info.