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High definition movie fans that want to buy a Blu-ray player have to be a patient lot.
For quite some time, the only player available was the Samsung BD-P1000, but it was plagued with a video glitch that softened the picture. Blu-ray fans were told to wait for a firmware update for the Samsung (it was supposed to have been released by yesterday, but it doesn't appear to have happened).
Fans who didn't want the Samsung unit were able to hold on to the promise that Sony, Pioneer, Philips, and Panasonic all had Blu-ray players ready for release soon after the Samsung. Since Sony is one of the major backers of the Blu-ray technology (it's going to be in every PlayStation 3 game console), there were high hopes that Sony would turn out a flagship model that would set the standard for the technology. Pioneer's player would be from their "Elite" line, which is highly regarded by people willing to pay for their performance. Panasonic is likewise regarded for their DVD players and the performance they deliver at a reasonable price.
However, all of those models have seen delays from their original launch schedules.
The Sony BDP-S1 was originally due in late June, but it was delayed in the middle of that month until August. Then, it was delayed until October. Now, it has been delayed until "on or about" December 4, 2006, according to SonyStyle.com. The delay is being attributed to a problem "specifically related to the functionality of the unit," according to a Sony spokesman. (Source: Electronic House Magazine) The unit retails for $999.95.
The Pioneer BDP-H1 was originally slated to be released in May, and then October, but it now appears to have been delayed until December as well. (Source: Electronic House Magazine) This news is confirmed by first-hand reports on the AVS Forum, where some members have placed pre-orders with a Pioneer retail store for the $1500 player with a delivery promise of "December." According to Electronic House, a Pioneer spokesperson stated that "the player's specifications had not been finalized in time to meet Pioneer's quality control requirements" in an E-Mail to that publication.
The good news is that the Panasonic DMP-BD10 and Philips BDP9000 players have been spotted in the wild! Amazon.com carries the Philips unit for $999.99 with free shipping, and says that they are in-stock. Amazon.com also lists the Panasonic DMP-BD10 through Crutchfield for $1,299.99, but it is backordered until November 13th. Other online stores we checked were also backordered on the Panasonic, so it may not be out in any real quanities just yet. If you're interested, please see our Journal article "Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray Player Now Available, First Reviews Posted" for reviews and specs.
Enthusiasts in any hobby aren't known for their patience, so this year has been especially trying for the Blu-ray faithful. Hopefully, this will be the end of the repeated delays, and we'll finally have some more players out there to provide some real competition for the 2nd generation HD DVD players from Toshiba that are being released this month and next.
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