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Friday, April 18, 2008
Samsung to Release Blu-ray/HD DVD Combo Drive

Samsung confirmed to CDRInfo the company's plans to release its first Blu-ray drive for PCs that will also read HD DVD discs.

The new BD combo drive is expected to be available in September, followed by a new Blu-ray burner in Q1 of next year. Specifications and speeds were not revealed.

This is Samsung's second Blu-ray drive after the SH-B022, a 2x Blu-ray burner announced in 2006. The device did not enjoy significant market success as the market was immature and the product was considered as a 'premium' one, mainly due to its high retail price ($500).

Samsung had been always considered as a Blu-ray supporter despite the fact that the S. Korean company could have access to the rival HD DVD technology and patents through the Toshiba Samsung Storage technology (TSST) company - at least in theory. On the other hand, the company had decided to enter the CE segment with a combo BD/HD DVD player, a decision hit by Toshiba's announcement to quit HD DVD business earlier this year.

Toshiba's decision relieved the Blu-ray camp from any pressure, allowing them to re-schedule their promotion activities as well as their product releases. The market was there and the Blu-ray domination was just a matter of time. However, with the format war ending earlier than expected, Blu-ray manufacturers are unlikely to increase their investment in parts suppliers due to fears over lower profits. Samsung and its rival LG are included in these companies and they do not have immediate plans to massively inject fresh capital into their Blu-ray business.

BD combo drives for PCs are cheaper to produce compared to CE players, offering Samsung (and LG) the chance to offer consumers a solution that would allow them to read their purchaced or rent HD DVD discs.

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