Samsung Duo player does Blu-ray and HD DVD, will upconvert DVDs to HD… if it must

Been waiting on the sidelines of the HD-disc war between Blu-ray and HD DVD? If so, you may have been noticing that your regular DVDs don't look so good compared to HD broadcasts on that new HDTV of yours. The bad news: It may be awhile before one side or the other declared victory. The good: Samsung's just announced a dual-format player that can handle both formats. Huzzah!

Since Samsung is part of the Blu-ray group, it's no surprise that the BD-UP5000 plays Blu-ray Discs, but its HD DVD abilities are even more unusual since it boasts full compatibility. LG's dual player that debuted earlier this year couldn't handle HD DVD's interactive features. Samsung's Duo machine has no such weakness.

Of course, it has all the chic features you'd find in a player like this, with HQV processing to help upconvert DVD video to 1080p, HDMI 1.3 for serious 7.1-channel sound, and a "Shrine Mode" so you can give thanks to the HD gods. While we can't confirm that last feature, we can tell you the price: $1,050, available before Christmas. We like the idea of this player — no complaints about making things easier on consumers — but by then you'll probably be able to buy one player for each format for less.