Blu-ray is almost upon us—and has been for months. The oft-delayed technology was supposed to have launched by now, but problems with the AACS encryption scheme and interoperability concerns have already helped delay the launch of Sony’s PS3. Now they’re delaying the launch of two consumer players, the BDP-S1 from Sony and the BDP-HD1 from Pioneer.
Though the AACS issues have been solved, other problems are now placing speedbumps in front of Blu-ray. “What sort of problems?” you ask. Well, Pioneer’s Andy Parsons has your answer.
“We decided to hold off for bit just to make sure everything works well relative to all the various studios that are planning to ship BD titles… Launching a new format is fairly big effort, and you have such a broad spectrum of capabilities with the media itself, including BD-Java, content protection layers and various authoring tools that are being brought up to speed.”
The third manufacturer scheduled to launch a Blu-ray player is Samsung, which has named June 25 as the big day. When contacted by Ars, the company insisted that their own launch remains on schedule for a New York introduction in two weeks. If Sony and Pioneer are still having significant technological issues with the players, though, it’s not clear how (or if) Samsung has solved the problems encountered by the other firms. Sony and Pioneer have both delayed their products into late August or September, suggesting that the fixes will require more than simple tweaking. What this means for Samsung’s own player is still unknown, but we’ll find out in a couple of weeks.
Samsung had already delayed its own launch, but will now turn out to be the first to market. Will a two month lead give them an edge over rivals Pioneer and Sony? This will depend in part on the company’s engineering. If they did in fact solve the problems bedeviling the other companies, they could be in good shape. If, on the other hand, technical problems have already reared their ugly heads and Samsung is planning to issue firmware patches to correct them down the road, they’re taking a gamble with their image. Early adopters are unlikely to be amused by a combination of high prices and low compatibility.