updated 06:30 pm EST, Wed January 7, 2009
Samsung Blu-ray at CES 09
Samsung has launched a multi-tier approach to CES that includes the third generation of its Blu-ray players. The BD-P4600 is the company's first player to show the "touch of color" design trait and is designed primarily for thinness: at 1.5 inches thick, the player can not only better fit into some AV racks but can be wall-mounted or placed on an angled stand. It also offers subtler touch-sensitive controls and the full Blu-ray Profile 2.0 feature set with Internet access through either Ethernet or a bundled 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter.
This includes access to Netflix streaming videos and Pandora radio stations, Samsung adds.
The BD-P3600 supports all these same features in a more conservative casing but with the addition of putting its 7.1-channel bitstream surround sound through either analog or uncompressed PCM signals.
Those seeking integrated home theaters also have two choices from the expo. The HT-BD8200 is billed as the first Blu-ray sound bar and hides a full movie player inside the main bar, which generates virtual 5.1-channel surround and gets bass through a wireless subwoofer. The system also incorporates an iPod dock and has the same networking features as the stand-alone Blu-ray readers. A conventional setup, the HT-BD7200, uses discrete half-height satellites and a subwoofer to output 400W and virtual 5.1 alongside its Blu-ray reader. It too handles 802.11n Wi-Fi and Profile 2.0 playback.
One DVD player is joining Samsung's lineup. The DVD-H1080 consciously recalls the look of a pebble and is only just larger than the DVD disc itself. It nonetheless supports 1080p upscaling and playback of DivX movies, JPEG photos and MP3 songs from a USB port.
Samsung doesn't mention pricing or specific release dates for any of the new Blu-ray offerings, but does promise the DVD-H1080 in the first half of the year.