We were given an early treat last week when we were tipped off on the pricing of Samsung's 2009 HDTV lineup, but we had to wait until today to get the official word on its new Blu-ray drives and home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems.
The company is releasing three Blu-ray players this spring, including a wall-mountable unit that comes in Samsung's Touch of Color rose (a.k.a. red). The BD-P4600 (pictured) is only 1.5 inches thick, but you do get restricted to two-channel analog audio out, and of course you'll pay more for the cutting-edge design when it becomes available next month: $499.99. It shares most other features with the other players that are now available: the $399.99 BD-P3600 and the $299.99 BD-P1600. These include BD Live (Profile 2.0) support, an Ethernet connection, and two USB ports, one of which can support a Wi-Fi dongle for wireless streaming of content from Netflix and Pandora. The two pricier units come with the dongle, while it's an option for the BD-P1600. The BD-P3600 has the Touch of Color charcoal finish, while the cheapest player is basic piano black.
Conceivably, you'll want to pair the BD-P4600 with the new HT-WS1 sound bar (pictured above), which can come in Touch of Color rose or charcoal and can also be wall-mounted. It offers 260 watts of output and includes a wireless subwoofer for $349.99 for next month. Samsung also unveiled pricing for its home theater systems that include a Blu-ray player, including the HT-BD8200 sound bar, which has the optional Wi-Fi dongle for Netflix and Pandora streaming and BD Live support. It's available in July for $799.99.
The two other Blu-ray-equipped HTIBs are the 5.1 channel HT-BD1250 and the 2.1 channel HT-BD7200, which is actually pricier thanks to its tiny size and Touch of Color finish. The $549 HT-BD1250, available now, delivers 1000 watts of power and includes an iPod dock, while the $799 HT-BD7200, ready in June, offers 400 watts and simulated 5.1 sound. Finally, Samsung rolled out a new home theater system that lacks a Blu-ray player but delivers eco-friendly features like speaker cones made from kelp instead of paper pulp and is Energy Star certified. The $499.99 HT-AS730 (pictured above), due in April, is a 5.1 channel option, but you can purchase two optional satellites to turn it into a 7.1 system. It also has an iPod dock, three HDMI inputs, and an auto calibration mode that optimizes surround sound settings to the particular room it's sitting in.