I must say, 2006 is really starting to feel like the year of HD DVD and Blu-ray — those two shiny new technologies that promise to bring us high-definition movies on disc — with a cascade of news coming from both camps pretty much daily. Now if only we could get some actual players in stores. On that topic, you'll have to wait until September to get your hands on Panasonic's Blu-ray Disc (BD) machine, the DMP-BD10 — that's four months after the first BD player hits the market (though it looks now like that one might be delayed until June). Panasonic says it's waiting until the fall so it can release the player at the same time as a new plasma TV capable of displaying 1080p signals, the HD format that trumps all others (Blu-ray and HD DVD players will be capable of outputting 1080p signals, though whether 1080p video will ever become common is another story). The company's also planning a "high-definition" receiver to complement the player. To make using the gear as easy as possible, Panasonic's new HDAVI system will sync up your components by turning them on, switching them all to the right inputs, and starting your movie by pressing just one button. Nice perk, though if I had the coin to lay down on a Blu-ray player (which should cost less than $1,500, by the way), a 1080p plasma, and a state-of-the-art receiver, chances are I could spare a few hundred for a decent universal remote control that does the same thing.
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