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Back in January, I reported that the Blu-ray player announcements from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) included the next models from Samsung, the BD-P1500 and the HD DVD/Blu-ray combo player, the BD-UP5500.
The BD-UP5500 was cancelled due to the death of the HD DVD format, but the BD-P1500 was scheduled for a May release. The main problem I had with the Samsung (aside from the difficult time its predecessor had getting out of the gates in a functional form) is that the BD-P1500 was going to be released in May without BD-Live functionality.
Samsung appears to be fixing that omission by saying in a press release issued yesterday that the player will be capable of Bonus View (aka Profile 1.1) and will be "BD Live ready." Possibly as a result of this addition, the release date for the unit has been pushed from May to June.
The press release says that the original $399 MSRP was now "to be determined" but EngadgetHD is reporting that Samsung will stick with the $399 price tag.
The news from CES was that the unit would support the lossless audio formats of PCM, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio, but the press release now says that DTS-HD High Resolution audio support will be available via firmware update later this year. If you look at our DTS Digital Sound on HD DVD and Blu-ray Explained document, you'll notice that there is a difference between DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio. "High Resolution" is not lossless, even if it is better than standard DTS that we are happy with on DVD. Since quite a few Blu-ray discs are coming out with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, it would be nice if a $400 player would be able to support the full quality made available on those discs. Let's hope it was an act of omission on the part of the person writing the press release.
So, if you're looking for a Blu-ray player, and you don't want to wait until June for the Samsung and Sony standalone players to become available, my recommendation for the best Blu-ray player still stands.
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