Samsung's HD disc player was going to be the first to do both HD DVD and Blu-ray completely right. But now, it's perfect: Samsung just sent us an alert saying the dual-format BD-UP5000 Duo HD player will come hardware-ready for BD Profile 1.1—at least 256MB of internal storage, secondary audio and video decoders, virtual file system. You realise that the rest of the Blu-players this fall totally lack this, and it's a wonder how Sony and everyone else can get away selling old spec Blu players while calling them new. This player ends that, and is the only one we recommend. At the risk of being hyperbolic, this player could be the beginning of the end of the format war's significance to consumers.
But Samsung had to make tradeoffs to deliver the goods: The BD-UP5000 will only start appearing in stores in "mid to late December" and it wouldn't actually play BD Profile 1.1 discs until it receives a firmware update slated for the end of January 2008. Also, to focus its attentions on this sexy $1,050 flagship, Samsung has killed off its $600 HQV-equipped BD-P2400 Blu-ray player. [Samsung]