Samsung announces dual format HD DVD

Since the HD DVD and BluRay camps don’t seem to be able to come to terms on a single format for the next generation of high-definition DVD drives, Samsung has already announced that the company will build a single drive that supports both HD DVD and BluRay formats.

I think that this “superdrive” approach is an excellent solution for consumers, at least in the short term. It means that you are less likely to get stuck with a dead-end product, and will be able to play either format. It could take time for the content publishers — such as the major movie studios — to settle on which format to use, so there may well be a period when titles appear in both formats. On the other hand, there are still many production issues to be worked out, so it is possible that one or the other format may gain an insurmountable advantage by being first to market.

And before we get too excited about Samsung’s announcement, remember that talk is cheap. There are enormous technical challenges involved in supporting both HD DVD and BluRay in a single drive, and it remains to be seen that Samsung can accomplish this at a competitive cost.