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as first tipped by SHN the new Samsung BluRay Player has a bug which Samsung has now issued an online fix for.

Samsung’s BD-P1000, the first stand-alone Blu-ray player was shipped with the “noise-reduction circuit in the player’s Genesis scaler chip ..enabled, causing the picture to soften significantly.” The company announced they would be releasing a firmware upgrade, which is now available, reports Samsung. The firmware apparently update fixes the image stuttering caused by the use of the DTS tracks, but not the softened image from the scaler chip.

High definition movies arrived in Australia some weeks ago when Samsung launched it’s new BD-P1000 Blu-ray player with the Company claiming that the Australian versions are bug free. So lets see.

For more than two years we have been tantalised with promises of knockout picture quality that would make ordinary DVD video look tired and monochromatic. But does the reality match the hype?  Blu-ray DVDs are capable of holding 50GB of information, almost 10 times that of ordinary DVD discs. That ability to hold much more data means movies with much greater resolution can be stored on the disc.

The Samsung player can output movies in 1920*1080 (1080p) resolution, the highest quality that today’s high definition TVs can offer.

Those are the raw numbers but what is the visual experience actually like?  We were watching movies on a Samsung HDTV (high definition television) and the leap from DVD to high definition was immediately obvious.

Colours seemed richer, everything on the screen had a tangible sharpness and the range of light from the sun of a pavement to the shadows of an alleyway was rendered beautifully like a high dynamic range photo.

High definition picture quality is sumptuous although my television, like many other HDTVs, struggled in darker scenes.

 
Rival HD-DVD players are set to be released in Australia next year.

The BBC in the UK who reviewed the new player said that had a few problems with the Samsung player, they could not get the player to output audio in 5.1 surround sound.

Darren Waters the technology editor at the BBC wrote,  the player told me it was sending 5.1 audio to my amplifier but it was resolutely telling me that the sound was mere 2.1 surround sound. After an hour of trying to solve it I gave up. The other problem, and one that is rather more worrying, is that despite being advertised as backwards compatible, I could not get the machine to play ordinary DVDs.

Time and time again it told me to either “check the disk” or “check the TV screen”.  All Samsung’s advertising states the machine can indeed play ordinary DVDs so I must assume this is a one-off problem with the player I was testing.

The first batch of Blu-ray videos have had their pictures encoded in Mpeg 2, a codec that is shared by ordinary DVDs. That has led to some complaints about picture quality when compared to rival HD-DVD, which is encoding movies using a more advanced codec.

Unfortunately we have not been able to compare the two rival formats side by side yet. I could also see no discernible difference between watching movies in 1080p (the best quality resolution) and 1080i, which is used by the majority of high definition TVs.  There is no doubt that high definition is a leap forward in picture quality and that the results from the first Blu-ray players is very impressive.

Part of this story is the Copyright of the BBC.

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