Blueblueblue. It's all that I've heard about lately. I'm starting to turn blue. Last week, Samsung announced the official launch of their first Blu-ray player, which is scheduled for June 25th. Samsung will set the stage for what's to follow. Right on the heels of the Samsung announcement was Sony Pictures telling everyone who would listen that their first BD titles were shipping to retailers. The previous week, I had met with Pioneer who talked about their new Blu-ray player coming in September. Except for Samsung, it's going to be a very blue Fall. Sony, Pioneer, and Panasonic will all be doing cross-promotions with plasma HDTVs and SXRD displays. Normally, in September, the leaves starting turning various colors of reds and oranges. Well, this Fall, all of the leaves are going to be turning blue.
Today, I spent part of day at Panasonic's headquarters in Secaucus, NJ. The theme of Panasonic's press meeting was Blu-ray, of course. Panasonic officially introduced their first player -- model DMP-BD10 -- that will be priced at $1,299. At the same time, Panasonic also announced an A/V Receiver that is designed to work specifically with their BD player via their one button EZSYNC circuitry. Panasonic also talked about bundling one of their 65-inch HD Plasma TVs (TH-65PX600) with their BD player, BD A/V Receiver (SA-XR700), and a new 5.1 home theater speaker system (SB-TP1000). This would be the ultimate home theater in a box. Is Panasonic's Blu-ray player like everyone else's? No. First and foremost, it is backwards compatible and can play CDs. Not every BD player can playback CDs, which I find puzzling.
Panasonic has added two new key video features that may separate its player from everyone else's BD player. The first key feature has to do with video processing called 'P4HD,' which stands for 'Pixel Precision Progressive Processing.' P4HD combines a precise pixel generator with 16-level motion detection, diagonal processing, 3:2/2:2 pull-down, and 1080p upconversion. On top of P4HD, Panasonic is the first company to offer a 296MHz/14-bit video D/A converter that provides 4x oversampling for 1080i/720p. And, via HDMI, all DVD discs will be upconverted and output at 1080p. Besides the standard Dolby Digital and DTS decoders found on other BD players, the Panasonic DMP-BD10 also includes a Dolby Digital Plus decoder to process 7.1 channels of surround sound. Dolby Digital Plus adds additional layers of audio information for a more compelling aural experience. And, the player's firmware can be upgraded by a special disc that will be provided by Panasonic for multi-channel Dolby True HD and DTS-HD decoding, when available next year
September is going to be a very blue month. I expect the upcoming C.E.D.I.A. show, which will be held in Denver starting Sept. 12th, to be blue from top to bottom. Blue will be the theme of the show. I wonder if I have to coordinate my shirts and slacks accordingly. Maybe, the boys and girls in blue will be out in full force too! Will the HDTVs be showing 'Blue Velvet," and the high-end audio equipment playing "Blue Moon?" So, I guess that I have will to turn in my rose-colored glasses for blue-colored ones this September.