Sony and Samsung are releasing Blu-ray Disc products, confident that consumers are ready to start upgrading to high-definition video discs. Sony and Samsung were two of the biggest backers of the Blu-ray Disc format during its battle with rival HD DVD.
Sony's new machines, the BDZ-A70 and BDZ-T90, are both Blu-ray Disc recorders that pack a hard-disk drive and dual-tuners for Japan's digital TV broadcasting system. The former model has a 320GB hard disk and iLink port for hooking up to a DV camcorder while the latter a 500GB drive but comes without the camcorder connection. Both cost ¥168,000 (around £800) and for the moment are available in Japan only.
Last year Sony said it would make Blu-ray Disc standard on its digital video recorders. Sony, which developed much of the technology that sits at the heart of Blu-ray Disc, is beginning to promote the format strongly after Toshiba pulled the plug on HD DVD in February.
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Samsung's new player, the BD-P1500, supports "full HD" 1080p playback and accepts not only Blu-ray Disc but also DVD and CDs. In the case of DVDs it offers upconverting to 720p, 1080i and 1080p.
But it won't support BD-Live, the next major addition to the Blu-ray Disc format, out of the box. BD-Live is an interactive system that brings functions such as gaming, e-commerce and new content to a Blu-ray Disc player through an internet connection, due to be available in coming months.
The first buyers of the BD-P1500 will have to upgrade their players to support BD-Live through an Internet or USB memory drive.
The player will be available worldwide from May and will cost around £200.
Samsung BD-P1500 and friends