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Samsung Electronics, a leading maker of various equipment, has quietly started to sell its BD-P1400 Blu-ray disc (BD) player for $299 in certain locations. The decision moves Blu-ray format into the same price range as HD DVD players from Toshiba that support 1080p output and may pose a serious threat to the standard pushed by Microsoft and Toshiba.

At press time Amazon.com, Best Buy, Circuit City and Costco offered Samsung BD-P1400 players for $299, which is tangibly below the official manufacturer suggested retail price of $499 for the device, reports HighDefDigest web-site. Unfortunately, it is still not completely clear whether the price slash is temporary, or end-users will be able to get the BD-P1400 for $299 going forward too.

By offering a Blu-ray disc player for just $299 Samsung Electronics makes the BD technology available at the price-point of Toshiba’s HD-A20/HD-A30 players, which sport 1080p (1920x1200, progressive scan) output. Even though there are players from Toshiba that cost $199, they do not have full-HD output capability, which is important for those, who have large flat-panel TV with maximum resolution.

With pricing of Blu-ray and HD DVD players equal, the former may find itself being more popular than the latter because of enlarged media capacities and broader support from consumer electronics companies. Still, even $299 is the price-point that it too high for average buyers, which is why it will take quite some time before either Blu-ray, or HD DVD wins the format war against each other.

Blu-ray and HD DVD formats compete for replacing the DVD standard. HD DVD discs can store up to 15GB on a single layer and up to 30GB on two layers. Its competitor, Blu-ray, can store up to 25GB per single layer and up to 50GB on two layers, but Blu-ray discs are more expensive to produce. The HD DVD is pushed aggressively by Toshiba, NEC, Intel and Microsoft, as well as being standardized at the DVD Forum, which represents over 230 consumer electronics, information technology, and content companies worldwide. Blu-ray is backed by Sony and Panasonic, which are among the world’s largest makers of electronics. Among Hollywood studios HD DVD is supported by New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Studios, whereas New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox endorse Blu-ray.

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