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Pioneer blasts Samsung Blu-ray debut

July 3rd, 2006 · 5 Comments

Phillip Coppens, Pioneer’s Manager for HBD (Home Business Division) Technology and Product Info-management, has blasted Samsung’s debut player, the BD-P1000, claiming that it isn’t doing justice to the quality of the first round of Blu-ray disc releases.
Speaking at a press event in London, he defended MPEG-2 as the best quality option for BD HD encoding ( is using MPEG-4) and dismissed the drubbing the first wave of BD releases have had in the States.
“You have to look at the device those discs are being played on,” he said. “There’s more to this than just the encoding process used for Blu-ray.”
Until other Blu-ray players come to market it’s difficult to access the validity of Coppen’s remarks, but his comments seem to undermine one of the key propositions of Blu-ray: 1080p picture quality. Just how will consumers react if they can’t trust all Blu-ray players to deliver the highest level of HD? Pioneer says it will not launch a Blu-ray player in Europe until 2007.

Tags: HD DVD and Blu-ray · Trade

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gary Bryant // Jul 3, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    I must agree, I purchased a samsung BP1000, and two BD movies and rented three others, every one had no better picture than my old DVD player, I was very disappointed in this player. I tried both the HDMI input and the component input on my HD DLP monitor, it looked no better than a regular DVD on both inputs, but the sound was great. I took the unit back and now will wait until I can compare more that just a couple of BD units.

  • 2 Zombie Fox // Jul 6, 2006 at 12:50 am

    Pioneer is surely right in suggesting the Samsung might not be the best device to judge Blu-ray / 1080p. The problem is in the basic design: the Samsung Blu-ray player is constructed around the same decoder chip as the Toshiba HD DVD player; neither could ever output a “source direct” 1080p signal (and as we all know, the Toshiba doesn’t deliver 1080p at all).

    For the techies, this is what happens inside the Samsung: from 1080/24p encoded content the Broadcom decoder (BCM7411) will output 1080/60i, which is then processed to 1080/60p by the Genesis FLI8638, and next output by the Silicon Image HDMI transmitter (SiI9030).

    Nice corrective marketing move from Samsung – remember, the original announcement at WCES 2006 only specified 1080i – to try to benefit from the 1080p advantage Blu-ray surely has over HD DVD. But absolutely for from ideal as hardware design. Should also explain why nobody sees a difference between 1080i and 1080p with the Samsung.

    http://www.broadcom.com/collateral/pb/7411-PB05-R.pdf
    http://www.genesis-microchip.com/products/FLI8638%20Product%20Brief.pdf
    http://www.siliconimage.com/docs/9030_PB_0701.pdf

    The Pioneer – and likely others – is (still being?) built around the Sigma Designs SMP8634 that does output 1080/24p (and if wanted 1080/60p scaled in the “progressive domain”). And that probably explains the self-confidence of Pioneer – see also Bill Hunt’s June 26 blog at http://www.thedigitalbits.com/mytwocentsa123.html#comp

    http://www.sigmadesigns.com/public/Company/press_releases/051212.pdf
    http://www.sigmadesigns.com/public/Products/SMP8630/pdf_files/SMP8634_br.pdf

    Apart from that I guess we all agree that MPEG2 will only outclass the new codecs as long as these haven’t matured fully yet, and on the assumption that MPEG2 in the meantime gets what it needs in abundance to really shine: storage capacity and bandwidth.

  • 3 Talkstr8t // Jul 21, 2006 at 4:27 pm

    Why does the proposition that “You have to look at the device those discs are being played on” invalidate Blu-ray? Does the fact that some el-cheapo LCD HD displays do a lousy job displaying a 1080i HD broadcast invalidate the basic value of HDTV broadcast? No, it just says the consumer has a responsibility to ensure the piece of equipment they plan to buy does an adequate job implementing the features they expect.

  • 4 Buck // Jul 21, 2006 at 6:55 pm

    Note that all of the HD DVD titles so far are using VC-1 for encoding, not MPEG-4 (H.264) as stated above. VC-1 is the only advanced codec with the tools in place right now. I’m not including MPEG-2 as “advanced”.

    And Zombie Fox is right — Samsung did a clever bit of marketing by adding in another chip to spit out 1080p/60, but any decent 1080p display can handled that task (just as it handles it for the 1080i output on the Toshiba player.) The result — the same image, but you’re paying an extra $500 for a redundant process with Samsung.

  • 5 Administrator // Jul 22, 2006 at 9:30 am

    The VC-1 video codec is based on Windows Media Video version 9, which is effectively an evolution of MPEG-4 codecs.

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