Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

I just had some hands-on time with Samsung's BD-UP5000 Duo HD, their first hybrid Blu-ray and HD DVD disc player. It's so good, it might as well be called BD-UP-Yours-Format-War. (Get it? Yeah, sorry, that wasn't too funny.) It's not the industry's first hybrid disc player—the LG BH100 has that honor. But it is the first to actually be fully compatible with both, and therefore the one that could end the HD Disc bitch fight.

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Hands-On Samsung's BD-UP5000 Hybrid HD DVD and Blu-ray player (Verdict: So Far, the Best)

Unlike the LG, the BD-UP5000 is fully HD DVD compliant, able to play back all the interactive menus and features that are the hallmark of the format. I tested it with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and things came out flawless. Even though this was a prototype drive. Also, the drive has local storage and Ethernet, which are part of the HD DVD spec.

The UP5000 also features an HQV Reon processor, the same video scaler and deinterlacer that made the current gen Toshiba HD DVD player's images so good.

Blu-ray discs played fine, and I wish I'd brought along the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest to see if the Blu-ray Java problems persisted. But I doubt that is an issue, given the fact that the bug is well known and was patched across the board last month.