Samsung considering hybrid Blu-ray, HD-DVD player

— 4:20 PM on June 21, 2006

With its first Blu-ray player just days away from hitting store shelves, Samsung has revealed that it is building a hybrid drive with support for both Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats. At a briefing in Samsung's South Korea HQ, company Home-Platform Product Planning Assistant Manager Kim Du-Hyon stated the following:

"We don't have a plan to make an HD DVD-only player but are considering a universal player," he said. "We are preparing HD DVD [support] now and if we launch a universal player it will be the end of this year or early next year."

Kim underlined Samsung's belief that Blu-ray Disc will beat HD DVD in the commercial marketplace, but said Samsung will consider a universal player should HD DVD prove as successful as Blu-ray Disc.

If Samsung chooses to introduce a hybrid player, it will join LG as one of the first manufacturers to unite the two formats. Three months ago, LG disclosed that it had a hybrid Blu-ray/HD-DVD player in the pipeline for a release in the fall. This type of convergence may bode well for consumers, but neither LG nor Samsung seems to have indicated a price range for their hybrid players. Considering the $1,000 launch price for Samsung's upcoming BD-P1000 Blu-ray player and the $461-499.99 street price of Toshiba's HD-DVD player, hybrid models may not be cheap.
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