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Samsung shows second-gen dual-format HD disc player

Will it ever arrive?

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CES Samsung has introduced its second Duo HD-branded dual-format next-gen optical disc player, though the machine isn't due to go on sale until the second half of the year.

Samsung Duo HD BD-UP5500

Samsung's BD-UP5500: second-gen dual-format player

Presumably it'll replace the current Samsung Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD player, the Duo HD BD-UP5000, when it does. There's not a massive difference between the BD-UP5000 and the new BD-UP5500. The latter supports Blu-ray's Bonus View picture-in-picture commentary mode, along with BD Java for on-disc interactive applications.

It also supports HD DVD's HDi interactivity technology, which was once the BD-UP5000's advantage over rival manufacturer LG's dual-format player, the Super Blu BH100, which would only play HD DVD movie content. However, LG's recently released Super Blu BH200 supports HDi too.

Samsung Duo HD BD-UP5500

Fully interactive, very shiny

Mind you, given last week's Warner Home Video move to support solely Blu-ray, and claims that Paramount might now do the same, does the world really need dual-format players any longer? Well, with almost a million HD DVD player owners in the US alone, undoubtedly Samsung and LG reckon their products provide those folk with the safest upgrade path.

The 5.8cm-high Samsung machine has an HDMI 1.3 port to allow it to support 10-bit Deep Colour when disc content is so encoded. There's an Ethernet port for network connectivity, both to get firmware updates and to download online add-ons bundled with discs.

On the audio side, the player supports 7.1-channel PCM sound, DTS-HD High Resolution and Master audio, and Dolby TrueHD Bistream via HDMI.

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