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Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s leading producers of consumer electronics as well as microchips, on Friday said it would release the Duo HD player capable of Blu-ray disk (BD) and HD DVD playback this summer. Originally promised almost two years ago, Samsung’s BD-UP5000 will enable consumers to watch high definition movies regardless the disk type they are released on.

“We are very pleased to announce the upcoming release of our Duo HD player. Consumers are hungry for more HD content but are currently confused about competing formats. Samsung’s Duo HD player will allow consumers access to every HD movie title available regardless of the authoring format. Samsung is committed to making life simpler through technology and will market next generation DVD products which will satisfy the consumer and market requirement. This is a big win for the consumer,” said Dongsoo Jun, executive vice president of the digital AV division at Samsung Electronics.

Samsung’s Duo HD player (BD-UP5000) will fully support both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats and their interactive technologies, HDi and BD-Java, something that the currently shipping LG’s universal player lacks. Samsung decided to remain tight-lipped over specifications of the player as well as its peculiarities.

The competition between the Blu-ray and HD DVD has cost consumer electronics makers hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars already and it seems that LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics do not want this fight to continue going forward. Back in January last year, the Consumer Electronics Association predicted that more than 600 000 high definition DVD players, worth $484 million, would be sold in 2006. However, delays of shipments and manufacturing issues have twice caused the organization to lower its forecast, and it expected back in November that U.S. sales would reach only 200 000 players, worth $181 million, by the end of 2006. Analysts, however, claim that high definition DVD players that use blue lasers fell short off expectations because consumers were uncertain regarding which format will eventually win and decided to keep away from both.

Besides promising to release the universal player in time “for the holidays”, Samsung also said that if market demands HD DVD player from the S. Korea-based maker, who already sells notebooks with HD DVD drives, the company will release an appropriate device.

“As a member of the DVD Forum and contributor to the DVD Industry, we recognize that both HD DVD and BD formats have merits. As such, we have decided to market a dual format player. Samsung is flexible to market a stand-alone HD DVD player whenever consumers demand it. Our main concern is not technology, but consumer choice” said Mr. Jun.

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