Samsung launched its BD-P1000 Blu-ray player earlier this morning and I feel I need to put my cards on the table. I've been watching the stars and I have a gut feeling that HD DVD is going to lose this bout, friends. It will not disappear completely, but it will be an also-ran down the line. Because the electronics market runs so quickly now—stuff disappears faster they can pump it out in Taiwan. UMD is off the shelves, Zip drives gave up the ghost, and thanks to Google, Microsoft Office might be getting consumptive pretty soon. The more things change, however...
Samsung has produced a very interesting product. The BD-P1000 is a large, healthy device with a 20 second BRD load-time and a crisp, clean picture. On a full 1080p set, the picture is as crisp as fresh-baked pizza and the audio is surround-sound-alicious. Whereas our experience with Toshiba's offering was sub-par, the brief time that we were able to spend with the BD-P1000 proved two things: Samsung knows their shit and the BR is probably the horse to bet on.
The card reader doesn't do very much except display still images at HD quality. It's a nice addition, but nothing to write home about.
Feel free to flame me in a year when HD DVDs become the reigning king, but BR is backed by Samsung and Sony as well as a few other players. HD DVD gets lip service, but I don't see much else coming out of that camp except for computer peripherals, which means HD might make a good backup medium down the line. In terms of usability and genuine content, however, BRD is probably the winner.
We'll be getting a player next week, but until then, let's mull over the various possibilities for the two formats and see what we, the Gizmodo quorum, feel.