Samsung to sell dual-standard DVD player

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Thursday, September 8, 2005

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Samsung announced it will market DVD players capable of playing back both Sony's Blu-Ray and Toshiba's HD DVD next-generation optical storage formats, if the two camps refuse to compromise on a single format. Assuming development is successful, consumers could expect to see such a device on store shelves next year.

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Blu-Ray and HD DVD are projected to be the successor formats for current DVDs. Samsung, while leaning towards the Blu-Ray camp, hopes it can cover both bases by distributing a player with dual-compatibility. While this means spending more in development to unify the two technologies and develop a cost-effective production method, dual compatibility may pay off for the company if the formats challenge each other as VHS and Betamax did twenty-five years ago. Despite the support for Blu-Ray, Samsung has also been supportive of a unified standard to avoid such costly competition.

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HD DVD offers single layer capacity of 15GB, more than triple the size of standard single layer DVDs, and benefits from similarities with current DVDs, such as cheap production and compatibility with current DVD players. Blu-Ray can hold 23GB on its smallest single layer version, and is reported to have superior durability and interactivity over current DVD-based technology and HD-DVD. HD-DVD is currently promoted by Toshiba, NEC, Sanyo and Microsoft; while Blu-Ray's base of support is the Blu-Ray Disc Association, which is led by Blu-Ray developers Sony and Philips. It is notable that Sony and Philips, who developed the Blu-Ray format, also competed against the Toshiba-designed SuperDisc DVD standard, which is the standard that is followed today.

The first Blu-Ray and HD DVD products are expected to start appearing in mainstream markets within the next year.