UPDATED March 11 (in italics below):
As Samsung and Panasonic prepare major media announcements in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, about their 3D products hitting stores this month, reports have begun to surface that Samsung’s 3D Blu-ray players already in Best Buy stores do not work.
Not that the average consumer would notice since there are no 3D Blu-ray movies on the market yet but industry insiders have told 3DHollywood.net that the players were recently tested with 3D Blu-ray movies compliant with industry standards that are being prepared for market and that they do not work at all in the Samsung players. That could mean Samsung may have to recall or modify their players.
Sources say that Samsung’s players have come to market before the Blu-ray Disc Association has issued its final certification specs for the industry standard that the organization announced in December.
Any products released now by a company not intimately engaged in the day-to-day tweaks and revisions of the format will simply be guessing at the final approved standard. Apparently Samsung guessed wrong.
A spokesperson for Samsung responded to an inquiry from 3DHollywood.net admitting that Samsung is “in the process of finalizing full certification at the authorized testing center” and that “the next step is for the BDA to release official test discs based on the new 3D specification, which Samsung will use to confirm certification.”
“Samsung is fully committed to upholding all technology standards issued by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). Samsung’s 3D Blu-ray player has passed all the BDA Blu-ray 3D verification tests issued to date…
“Samsung is confident that the new 3D Blu-ray player will pass certification once the process is complete.”
Update March 11: As the BDA members meet in Tokyo this week and have discussed this topic, the BDA has this week issued some certifications to several manufacturers, including Samsung. The same company spokesperson then sent this statement to 3DHollywood.net on March 11: “Samsung is fully committed to upholding all technology standards issued by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). The Samsung Blu-ray player (BD-C6900) has passed all tests based on Blu-ray 3D test specification of BDA issued to date, and has officially obtained Blu-ray 3D certification at the authorized Testing Center. Samsung products that were shipped to the US prior to receiving final certification are 100% certified and do not require any modifications to play Blu-ray 3D discs.”
Samsung has already said it will bundle the first home 3D versions of DreamWorks’ “Monsters vs. Aliens” with its 3D players starting March 21. Paramount distributes DreamWorks animation titles.
The company also promoted its 3D TVs a lot during Sunday’s Academy Awards program and during the run-up to the Oscars heavily promoted a special “3D Hollywood” contest (no connection to this site) for viewing KABC’-TV’s “One the Red Carpet” arrivals live program in 3D on Samsung’s LED TVs via closed circuit feed at an invitation-only event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills to which the media was not allowed.
Blu-ray Disc Association officials and several execs at other studios said they were not at liberty to comment about the status of the certification process or Samsung’s 3D Blu-ray players.
In addition to the products already in stores, Samsung is expected to officially introduce a new 3D Blu-ray player and a 46-inch LED-LCD HDTV that joins Samsung’s already-available 55-inch 3D TV, all of which feature active shutter glasses.
As there is presently no 3D product available on Blu-ray and no 3D programming on TV, Samsung says much of your existing 2D content can be converted into 3D.
The company has said that starting March 21, Samsung will include a starter kit (a 3D Blu-ray Disc version of “Monsters vs. Aliens” and two pairs of Samsung 3D active glasses) with the purchase of a Samsung 3D-ready HDTV and Blu-ray player.
More than 900 Best Buy stores will have Samsung 3D experiences beginning March 21.
Panasonic is expected to announce Wednesday that iis introducing 50-inch Viera 3D TVs for $2,500 this week and is setting up special branded demo sections at Best Buy stores.
Sony is announcing it will wait until June 10 to introduce its first 3D TVs just in time for World Cup Soccer, which Sony is sponsoring on ESPN. The 46-inch Sony will sell for about $3,800 and come with two pairs of active shutter glasses. A 40-inch model will also be available. Sony’s battery-operated active shutter glasses will be priced at about a whopping $133 separately, and may not be compatible with other manufacturer’s 3D TVs.
Meanwhile, in related news, four entertainment company giants — Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Thomson Licensing, Toshiba Corporation and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment — formed a worldwide joint licensing program for Blu-ray patents that was announced Monday (March 8) to be called the BD4C Licensing Group.
— By Scott Hettrick