By James Wells

SYDNEY: Samsung Electronics Australia has announced the launch date for its next two generations of Blu-ray Disc players in the local market – including a model with 7.1 channel surround sound which will be followed by a Blu-ray Disc recorder.

Samsung expects to launch the 7.1 channel Blu-ray Disc player in January 2007 and a Blu-ray recordable product by Christmas 2007.

“We have a recordable Blu-ray product that we are working on and we expect that will arrive in the second half of the year. It could be the last quarter, but we are working towards being the first to market,” Samsung Electronics Australia – digital AV product manager, Sagar Dave told

“For the recorder we already have 25GB single layer Blu-ray discs available now. The 50Gb discs are expected before Christmas and we are working on 200GB – so the possibility is goodbye hard discs,” Dave said.

TDK announced a 200GB prototype Blu-ray Disc at the recent IFA exhibition in Berlin.

Next month, Samsung will launch the 5.1 channel BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc player for $A1,599.

“The first people that will purchase this product are the technocrats and the technophiles that have been waiting for it to launch,” Dave said.

Samsung is expected to provide consumers who purchase the BD-P1000 with an HDMI cable as well as two Blu-ray titles within the box as a gift with purchase.

According to Dave, although consumers that are paying $1,500 for the Blu-ray player are unlikely to require an incentive to purchase, the brand is looking to provide instant gratification.

According to Samsung, the demographic of the consumer that purchases a Blu-ray player as a stand-alone component is expected to be different to the consumer that receives a Blu-ray player built in to the video gaming console -PlayStation3.

“The gaming consumer is totally different. If someone is wanting to watch movies in high definition – they are going to buy a PS3. If they are into gaming, then they are not going to buy a Blu-ray player. There is no doubt that the gaming consoles will open up the Blu-ray market, but it is the mums and dads that will purchase a player for the lounge room,” Dave said.