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Blu-ray first to market in the UK

Erik Hanson

Perhaps Samsung, Panasonic, and the Blu-ray Disc Association took their virtual beating in the forums and here online to heart, as they launched their Blu-ray player in the United Kingdom in the past day or two (who knows with all these time zones and International date lines and whatnot!) and released their players and some titles, beating HD DVD to market. Samsung's player is available now, and Panasonic's will be in the next week, with a somewhat lackluster release of four titles -- hey, better than nothing, right? As mentioned in our post yesterday about the Sony Blu-ray media PC review, the titles have a different region than the US market, so perhaps they needed the time to ramp up European production lines to produce the discs. Hostel, SWAT, Tears of the Sun, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose are the titles you can grab in England, with many of the other titles currently available in the US coming in November. The Guardian mentions that a HD DVD player will be out next month for £500, with the Samsung at £999 and the Panasonic for £1299. While other posters in recent articles have mentioned that British electronics prices are usually fairly high compared to other countries, with the currency exchange to US Dollars, that brings the prices up much higher than existing US market, at $932 for the (presumably) Toshiba player, $1863 for the Samsung, and a whopping $2423 for the Panasonic. At least the UK has some high-definition content available besides SkyHD or other broadcast sources, and hopefully those in the United Kingdom enjoy their new hardware and software as much as we in the US do.

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