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Samsung Electronics, a major maker of consumer electronics, said that it would not release its highly-anticipated player that can playback both next-generation DVD standards – Blu-ray and HD DVD. The company did not explain the reasons for the decision.

“Samsung is going all-out for Blu-ray. We were the first one to market the Blu-ray player,”David Steel, vice president of Samsung Electronics, is reported to have said in an interview with The Korea Times news-paper. He also added that Steel also said that Samsung had no plan to develop HD-DVD players or combo devices, which support both the Blu-ray and HD-DVD platforms.

For many months now Samsung Electronics has been talking about intention to produce a combo player that would support both formats. In fact, Samsung was the first company to start talking about universal players for next-gen DVD format. For example, in mid-2006 the company’s executives said they did not have plans to create HD DVD only devices, but the hybrid players would be launched in late 2006 or early 2007.

“We don’t have a plan to make an HD DVD-only player, but are considering a universal player. 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,” said Kim Du-Hyon, an assistant manager in Samsung’s home-platform product planning division, in a briefing with reporters at the company's headquarters in Suwon, South Korea.

The reasons to scrap the universal Blu-ray/HD DVD player plans are unclear, but apart from technological or cost issues there could be “political” motives. Samsung is known for lower-priced consumer electronics and considering the fact that at the moment its Blu-ray disk players costs $999, 50% less than that from Pioneer, it is likely that a hybrid player would cost the same amount of money (e.g. $1500) compared to others’ BD-only device. If Samsung would have launched the dual-format players at a price-point comparable with that of Blu-ray disc players, the makers of BD-only devices will have to make the prices lower so that to maintain sales. The introduction of Blu-ray/HD DVD players along with presumable price-drop on BD players would catalyze the HD DVD-only devices to decrease the pricing too, something which will increase their popularity among mainstream customers.

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