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Thursday, January 08, 2009
 Samsung, Pioneer Sharp and LG Showcase Latest Blu-ray Players at CES
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Samsung

Samsung unveiled three profile 2.0 BD players, including its flagship wireless player, a 1.5-inch thick, wall-mountable BD-P4600, which includes Netflix streaming, 1080p resolution, the latest HD sound quality, and can eject a disc in one second.

The enthusiasts' choice, the BD-P3600 promises top-notch video playback, comprehensive audio decoding, and unprecedented networking capabilities. Both players set a new direction for the Blu-ray category with wireless networking, access to video and music streaming services, such as Netflix and Pandora, as well as sleek designs.



"Samsung is heralding a new direction for the Blu-ray industry with the BD-P4600 and BD-P3600," said Reid Sullivan, vice president of Audio/Video and Digital Imaging Marketing at Samsung Electronics America." "The BD-P4600 makes it easier than ever to bring Blu-ray into the living room with its unique, wall-mountable design, while the BD-P3600?s comprehensive specs place it on the short list of even the most discerning home theater consumers."

The BD-P4600 and BD-P3600 include BD Live (Profile 2.0) and Bonus View (Profile 1.1) support, Full HD 1080p Blu-ray playback with DVD upscaling, and total HD soundtrack support. Standard CD playback, with support for JPEG photos and DivX videos, ensure even more entertainment value with the BD-P4600 and BD-P3600.



The BD-P3600's traditional set-top form is just over two inches tall, and comes encased in deep black with grey highlights curving along the outer edges. The wall-mountable BD-P4600 is just 1.5 inches thin with a piano black design infused with ruby highlights, and finished with clear edging. If wall-mounting is not an option, an integrated stand lets the BD-P4600 be placed on a table at a 25 degree angle.

Both of these models are due in the first half of 2009. Pricing was not announced.

The two players have 1GB of internal flash memory and improve traditional disc loading time to begin fast playback and can eject a disc in a single second. They are also offering upconversion of standard DVDs through the HDMI 1.3 connection. Both players can internally decode the latest high-resolution digital multichannel audio soundtracks, including Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD HR / MA. The BD-P3600 can also output any of the soundtracks as a bitstream through its 7.1-Channel analog audio outputs, or as an uncompressed PCM signal, for consumers desiring the best cinematic sound with an older A/V receiver. They are also offering 802.11b/g/n wireless connectivity via a USB dongle and multimedia playback via USB.

Samsung also bowed the HT-BD8200 Blu-ray home theater system that, like most televisions at the show, features wireless technology, including wireless subwoofer, compatible wireless display and audio system.

Pioneer

Pioneer unveiled their plans to release three BD-Live Blu-ray players in April: The sub-$300 BDP-120, the sub-$400 BDP-320 and the $600 Elite BDP-23FD.

The $250 BDP-120 player comes with BD-Live, a 1GB flash drive, fast disc loading, USB expandable memory that includes bus-powered hard drives.

The higher end units will sense picture settings when connected to the company's 9G Kuro plasma, and will adjust video output accordingly. For those without Kuro 9Gs, the technology will soon be able to sense what TV you do have and make adjustments. It's called the "KURO LINK Picture Mode"



The two higher-end models will also stream surround sound audio including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio when paired with an upcoming Pioneer Elite receiver. The famed Precision Quartz Lock System can now sync up multichannel, making sure all that sound data is processed.

The new models combine a chip set and video processing solutions with Pioneer?s 1080p True24FPS (frame per second). Pioneer also utilizes professional-grade digital audio decoders (DAC) and jitter-reduction advancements in all three Blu-ray Disc players for enhanced movie and music sound reproduction. Pioneer also plans to add streaming technologies like that offered by LG's Blu-ray Players in the future.

Sharp

Bob Scaglione, SEMCA Senior Vice President, then detailed Sharp offerings at this year's show, including Blu-ray Disc players and an AQUOS LCD TV with a built-in Blu-ray Disc player (Blu-ray AQUOS). Sharp incorporated a BD player into a new line of Aquos HDTVs (37-inch to 52-inch) priced from $1,000.

A "Pure Mode" can also intelligently optimize Blu-ray display settings, such as aspect ratio. As gimmicky as the idea initially sounds, the combo looks pretty convenient in practice and could be a sign of things to come.

Other features include a new ASV Superlucent panel that Sharp says "applies an ultra-smooth finish that minimizes gloss while intensifying panel brightness and contrast", in addition to a 176-degree viewing angle, and a PC input allowing each TV to double as a computer monitor.

The Aquos BD series includes entry-level 32- and 37-inch models (reported to start at about $1100), in addition to 120Hz-calable 42-, 46- and 52-inch models. The two largest will start shipping in February; everything else launches this month.

The Japanese manufacturer also unveiled its first profile 2.0 players with BD Live, the BD HP22U and BD HP16U for $299 and $279, respectively.

LG

LG Electronics introduced two new Network Blu-ray Disc Players (BD370, BD390) and three Network Blu-ray Disc Home Theater Systems (LHB954, LHB977, LHB979) with expanded content options and wireless connectivity.

The 2009 Network Blu-ray Disc Players with LG's "NetCast Entertainment Access" offer consumers an array of content-on-demand options through new alliances with CinemaNow and YouTube, as well as access to the growing library of HD streaming titles from Netflix.

Offering unlimited access to online content, LG's alliance with YouTube will allow consumers to stream millions of Web videos directly from the Internet to an LG Network Blu-ray Player for viewing on their television (without a personal computer).



Highlights of LG's Network Blu-ray Disc Players include:

- LG BD370 Network Blu-ray Disc Player - The BD370 offers broadband connectivity and advanced audio capabilities with audio format decoding such as Dolby TrueHD/Digital Plus and DTS-HD.
- Full HD 1080p Blu-ray disc playback with BD-Live and BonusView
- NetCast Entertainment Access
- Netflix instant streaming ready
- Instant access to the latest movie titles from CinemaNow
- YouTube access
- 1080p Upscaling for standard DVD
- Dolby TrueHD
- DTS-HD Master Audio Essential
- USB Media Host
- Availability: Second quarter of 2009

LG BD390 Network Blu-ray Disc Player - The BD390 boasts all the same core functionalities of the BD370 model but takes performance and connectivity a step further featuring integrated wireless home networking for easy connection to the home network, and 1GB of built-in memory, offering an easier option for enjoying BD-Live content without the need for a flash drive and discrete 7.1 channel audio outputs for exceptional connectivity and performance. Availability slated for third quarter of 2009.

LG Network Blu-ray Home Theater System (LHB954) - The LHB954 is LG?s first home theater system to incorporate a new spherical speaker design that increases sound clarity and volume throughout the listening space. Other features include:

- Full HD 1080p Blu-ray disc playback with BD-Live and BonusView
- 1000W 5.1 channel spherical speaker system
- NetCast Entertainment Access
- Netflix instant streaming ready
- Dolby TrueHD
- DTS-HD Master Audio Essential
- iPod Direct Docking
- Availability: Second quarter of 2009

LG Network Blu-ray Home Theater System (LHB977) - The LHB977 includes the same core feature set of the LHB954 but with two HDMI inputs. Availability: Second quarter of 2009.

LG Network Blu-ray Home Theater System (LHB979) - The LHB979 features 1000W of performance with a champagne speaker silhouette and two wireless rear satellite speakers designed by renowned audio expert Mr. Mark Levinson. Availability: Second quarter of 2009.
 
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