Samsung's Duo HD Due In December

Samsung sent over information earlier today confirming its plans for its next-gen disc players throughout this year. The BDP-2400 Blu-ray Disc player has been officially "removed from the 2007 Holiday Line-up," but the BD-UP5000 Duo HD Blu-ray/HD DVD combi player remains on track for a mid to late December debut.

First, on the late BD-P2400, this player was to be a higher-end model, featuring Silicon Optix HQV processing. This player apparently wasn't going to be able to meet the BDA's October 31st deadline, after which all player models released must conform to BD-ROM Profile 1.1. This hardware spec mandates secondary audio and video decoders for Picture-In Picture interactivity and 256MB of local storage.

The BDA mandate took some of the mystery out of the Duo HD's functionality. The player was originally scheduled for an October release which would bring it in under the Profile 1.1 deadline. Samsung's reps had told us earlier that this player would not in fact meet this hardware spec, a stance met with derision here and elsewhere. This is at least Samsung's gen 3 if not gen 3.5 or 4.

While Samsung deserves kudos for stepping up and delivering a Profile 1.1 player, but there is a catch, and perhaps an interesting loophole in the 10/31 mandate. Samsung's release noted that while the Duo HD will meet the hardware specs for Profile 1.1, a January 2008 firmware update will be required before the player will actually "allow playback of Profile 1.1 discs." Hopefully, this means that the player will be able to play the movies on these discs even if it can't access PIP streams and so forth.

And I have to play curmudgeon and point out that there is no mention of whether the player will meet Profile 2 specs. Profile 2 mandates 1GB of local storage plus networking capabilities, which as we understand it are required for BD Live enhanced Blu-ray Disc titles. Reports are that Buena Vista (Disney) will have BD Live titles available in the Spring. Just curious since I think some people will expect their player to playback all the interactive features available for at least a few months.