Samsung yesterday unveiled a high-definition (HD) disc player that accepts both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD discs.

There have long been rumours of the existence of the BD-UP5000 dual format player by Samsung, but yesterday Samsung made it formal, and at an awkward time for the HD-DVD format.

On Friday, Warner announced it had decided to drop HD-DVD and back Blu-ray Disc exclusively, citing the need to reduce customer confusion by offering titles in only one format. The decision tilts the format battle to Blu-ray Disc because now, five of the big seven Hollywood studios back Blu-ray Disc with only two, Paramount and Universal, still behind HD-DVD.

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Warner dumps HD-DVD & goes Blu-ray only

A number of analysts called the Warner move a death blow to the HD-DVD cause because so much content will now be available only on Blu-ray Disc. The two have been battling for the past few years to become the high-definition discs to replace DVDs.

Someone forgot to tell Samsung. The company is a Blu-ray Disc camp veteran and has up to now only put out Blu-ray Disc players. But the BD-UP5000 will be available in the second half of this year in major markets, and shows that at least some companies still believe in HD-DVD.

The BD-UP5000 is an attempt to reduce confusion in the market by making the choice easy for consumers because it will accept discs in both the Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats, Samsung said.

There are other dual-format high definition disc players on the market, including one made by LG Electronics. The trouble with combining Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD into one machine is cost. Samsung's BD-UP5000 is expected to retail at around US$1000, an official at the launch ceremony said. Some standalone HD-DVD disc players retail for less than $300 (£150) on, while stand-alone Blu-ray Disc players sell for under $500 (£250).

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