Proving that it is the consumer that drives the market, not the whims of competing standards, Samsung is unveiling one of the first hybrid hi-def players. The Samsung "Duo HD", model BD-UP5000, will be able to support Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, including their "interactive technologies" such as HDi and BD-Java. That gives them an advantage over some existing hybrid players, and gives them full support across all known and forthcoming HD media. The exact specifications of this drive, such as read speeds and backwards compatibility with other optical formats isn't mentioned. However, they did state they are leaving themselves open to creating standalone players in the future:
"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.
A year from now, perhaps, you won't have to make a choice between supporting Blu-ray or HD-DVD - you'll be able to do both without sinking oodles of money into multiple drives. The BD-UP5000 is expected to be available before the end of the year.