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IFA 2006 report


Welcome to our Blu-ray and HD-DVD coverage of Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) 2006, the world's largest electronics and IT show, which was held from September 1-6, 2006 in Berlin, Germany. We were of course there sweeping the trade show floors for everything related to Blu-ray and HD-DVD to bring you all the latest developments.

Welcome to IFA 2006 held at Messe Berlin
from September 1st to September 6th, 2006
Over 225,000 people visited IFA 2006 Over 1,000 exhibitors
were at the show


Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA)


The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) as usual had a joint booth where member companies displayed their upcoming Blu-ray players, recorders, drives, movies, media, and software. The biggest news from the BDA was their plans to expand Blu-ray beyond the US and begin rolling out Blu-ray in Europe and other territories this fall. There was also a myriad of other announcements by movie studios and members companies about upcoming Blu-ray products and movie releases, including the first wave of releases from 20th Century Fox, and TDK's development of a recordable 200GB Blu-ray Disc prototype.

Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) booth at IFA 2006 with
Blu-ray players, recorders, drives, movies, media and software
Blu-ray media

Dell and Sonic

Samsung, Pioneer, Panasonic, Philips, Sony TDK, Panasonic, Sharp, Hitachi, LG
Philips, Sony, Nero, CyberLink, HP

TDK video about
Durabis2
DTS-HD demo



Blu-ray Movies


We were also on the lookout for any unannounced movies that might be coming soon to Blu-ray. The following lists include movies that we haven't seen announced anywhere yet, where either covers/packaging was shown at IFA or where the movies were featured in movie trailers as "Coming Soon to Blu-ray". Of course this doesn't mean that these titles will be released anytime soon, but some might still find the information interesting.


Blu-ray covers/packaging shown Distributor
Caddyshack Warner
Flightplan Buena Vista
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Buena Vista
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Warner
Pearl Harbor Buena Vista
Perfect Storm Warner
Sky High Buena Vista
Starship Troopers Sony


Featured in "Coming Soon to Blu-ray"-trailers Distributor
Alien vs Predator Fox
Bad Boys II Sony
Big Fish Sony
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Sony
Chronicles of Narnia Buena Vista
Day After Tomorrow Fox
Independence Day Fox
Lawrence of Arabia Sony
Master and Commander Fox
Moulin Rouge Fox
Once Upon a Time in Mexico Sony
Patriot Sony
Spider-Man 2 Sony
Vertical Limit Sony
X2: X-Men United Fox
X-Men: The Last Stand Fox


Philips


Philips had an entire hall to themselves and like several other companies they had quite a large section dedicated to Blu-ray Disc. They showed off a wide range of Blu-ray products, including their upcoming Blu-ray player, Blu-ray TripleWriter, as well as Media Center PCs with Blu-ray drives. The BDP9000 Blu-ray player, which supports 1080p output via HDMI as well as upconversion of DVDs to 1080i/1080p, is currently scheduled for US release in October and will be available in Europe in early 2007. The Blu-ray TripleWriter SPD7000 drive, which can record and playback all optical storage formats including Blu-ray, DVD and CD, will be available in the US and Europe in September. The Philips Showline Media Center MCP9480i, which features triple recording (BD/DVD/CD), a 320GB hard drive, 1GB RAM and a keyboard, will be released in Europe (UK, Germany, Holland and Belgium) in December for about €2,300.

Philips' exhibition

Philips' Blu-ray section at IFA

BD Media Center
demonstration
Philips' Cineos-brand BDP9000 Blu-ray player

Backside of BDP9000

Philips' Showline Media Center MCP9480i

MCP9480i with front open

Philips' Blu-ray TripleWriter SPD7000 in silver and black

SPD7000 box



Panasonic (Matsushita)


Panasonic, which had their own hall at IFA 2005, didn't even have a booth this year, but they were still displaying some of their upcoming Blu-ray products in the joint BDA booth. The DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player, which features 1080p output via HDMI as well as upconversion of DVDs to 1080i/1080p, had a slightly different look from what we've seen before which should be close to the final design. The player is scheduled for release in September in the US and sometime this Autumn in Europe. Panasonic also displayed three Blu-ray drives, a half-height Blu-ray drive (SW-5582), a slim slot Blu-ray drive (UJ-215) and a slim tray Blu-ray Drive (UJ-210). All of the Blu-ray drives support reading and writing of Blu-ray Discs and are fully backwards-compatible with DVDs and CDs.



Panasonic's upcoming DMP-DB10 Blu-ray player

BD drives, slim tray
half height, slim slot


Pioneer


Pioneer once again showed their upcoming BDP-HD1 Blu-ray player, playing Blu-ray movies and displaying information about Blu-ray and the BDA. Like most other companies with Blu-ray players, they also had a designated "Studio" with their own HD home theater setup to showcase Blu-ray.

Pioneer's exhibition

BDP-HD1 playing BD movie trailers and BDA info

Pioneer's home studio
demonstration
Pioneer's Elite-brand BDP-HD1 Blu-ray player

BDP-HD1 from behind



Samsung


Samsung also had a large Blu-ray section which was split into different areas, including a Blu-ray Vision Zone where they were playing Blu-ray movies and showing HD vs SD comparisons, a Blu-ray Technology Zone showing the internals of the Blu-ray products, and a popular Blu-ray Home Theater where they were showing Blu-ray movies and offering presentations of the Blu-ray format. They once again showed their BD-P1000 Blu-ray player, which already is out in the US and which will be released in Europe in October. The player will soon get a firmware update to fix the problem with the faulty setting for the noise filter reduction circuit that has generated some negative reviews because of the softness of the picture. The firmware update will also enable the player to play Java-enabled bonus features. Samsung also showed their SH-B022 Blu-ray writer, which supports reading and writing of Blu-ray Discs, DVDs and CDs.

Samsung's exhibition

HD versus SD
comparison
Blu-ray technology
demonstration
Blu-ray home theater

Blu-ray home theater presentation

Samsung's BD-P1000 Blu-ray player

Samsung's SH-B022
Blu-ray writer


Sony


Sony showed a wide range of Blu-ray related products, including a Blu-ray player, Blu-ray writer, as well as a VAIO notebook with a Blu-ray drive. The BDP-S1 Blu-ray player, which supports 1080p output via HDMI as well as upconversion of DVDs to 1080i/1080p, is currently scheduled for US release in October. The BWU-100A Blu-ray writer, which reads and writes Blu-ray Discs as well as DVDs and CDs is already available for about $750. Sony also showed their PlayStation 3 (PS3) game console, which drew a lot of attention as usual and with over one million consoles pre-sold the demand is not an issue. Unfortunately the supply is, which is why the PS3 recently was delayed in Europe until early 2007. The US and Japan will still get their PS3s in November, but with less PS3s than originally planned because of problems ramping up production of some key components. However, there should still be twice as many PS3s available for launch compared to when the Xbox 360 launched back in 2005. According to the Sony representative at IFA they had a "problem" with some people coming to IFA with their PS3 pre-order receipts and demanding to get a PS3 ;-)

BDP-S1 playing
movie trailers
Sony VAIO VGN-AR21S notebook

Sony's BWU-100A
Blu-ray writer
PS3 demo, currently showing
"Resistance Fall of Man"
PlayStation 3

PS3 supported formats



Sharp


Sharp had a lot of Blu-ray stuff on display including two Blu-ray players and a complete HD Home Studio System with Blu-ray functionality. The DV-BP1 Blu-ray player, which has been upgraded to support 1080p output via HDMI and upconversion of DVDs to 1080i/1080p, had a completely new design from the one we saw earlier this year at CES 2006. What surprised us more though was that we found another mysterious Blu-ray player that looked very slick in another section of their hall. The player doesn't appear to have a model number yet and when we asked a Sharp representative about the player they weren't able to provide us with any more information other than that it was a prototype for a newer model. Sharp also had a "BD Cinema" room where they were demonstrating playback of Blu-ray movies using the BD-MPC10, a complete HD Home Theater System with Blu-ray functionality and a new Time Domain Speaker Technology which produces coherent and low distortion sound waves that result in true, crystal-clear sound. The retail price for the BD-MPC10 will be about €2,999 in Europe, which will include the special tower speakers. The Sharp representative couldn't give us an exact launch date for the system, but hinted at Q1-Q2 2007.

Sharp's exhibition

Sharp's AQUOS-brand DV-BP1 Blu-ray player

BD versus SD demonstration

BD Cinema demonstration

Sharp's HD Home Studio System BD-MPC10

BD-MPC10 from the back

Sharp's prototype AQUOS-brand Blu-ray player, no model number yet



LG


LG, which previously has shown both a Blu-ray player (BD199) and a HD-DVD player (HD199) only displayed their Blu-ray player this year. When we last saw the Blu-ray player at CES 2006 the player was called BD199, but it now appears to have been changed to BD100.

LG's exhibition

"X-Men 2" interactivity
demonstration
LG's BD100 Blu-ray player



Hitachi


Hitachi displayed their prototype Blu-ray recorder (000BD) playing movie trailers for upcoming Blu-ray movies. When asked about their plans for the recorder the Hitachi representative informed us that it was unlikely to be commercialized in this form, but that they planned to introduce other Blu-ray products sometime next year. They had Ice Age 2 playing on a desktop computer using their GBW-H10N Blu-ray drive, which supports reading and writing of Blu-ray Discs, DVDs and CDs. They were also displaying various Blu-ray media under their Maxell-brand.

Hitachi's exhibition

Playback of Hitachi's
Blu-ray recorder
Hitachi-LG's GBW-H10N Blu-ray rewriter

Hitachi's prototype BD/HDD recorder

Maxell's BD media
25GB/50GB BD-R/BD-RE


Lite-On


Lite-On, which we haven't seen any Blu-ray products from before, showed their upcoming internal/external Blu-ray writers as well as their Blu-ray player. The internal LX-2B1S Blu-ray writer is scheduled for release in October and will sell for about €799 and the external LX-2B1U Blu-ray writer will be released a couple of months later (November-December) and will sell for about €999. The BDP-X1 Blu-ray player will be released sometime in the middle of 2007 and the price will be set depending on the market.

Lite-On's booth
left view
Lite-On's BDP-X1 Blu-ray player

Lite-On's booth
right view
Lite-On's external LX-2B1U Blu-ray writer

LX-2B1U and LX-2B1S

Lite-On's internal LX-2B1S Blu-ray writer



Dell


Dell showed a desktop computer (XPS 700) and notebook (XPS M1710) featuring Blu-ray drives from Philips and Panasonic. They were using PowerDVD BD to show movie trailers and demonstrate the interactive features of Blu-ray.

Dell's section at the BDA booth

"X-Men 2" interactivity demonstration
using PowerDVD BD


AMEX


AMEX is a Hong Kong based company which showed their upcoming M505-BDR Media Center PC with Blu-ray playback and recording functionality. The M505-BDR will feature an Intel Pentium 3.0GHz 64bit dual core processor, 1TB HDD, 2GB RAM, 10/100 Base-T LAN 802.11bg Wi-Fi Compliant, HDMI-out and HD-audio. It supports playback of all BD/DVD/CD formats as well as recording of Blu-ray Discs and DVDs. While they couldn't give us an exact launch date as they're still looking for distributors, the price is expected to be around $2,000.

AMEX booth

AMEX M505-BDR Media Center PC



Mitsubishi


Misubishi didn't have any of their own Blu-ray products on display this year, but they did have a really nice home theater setup in a dark room where they were demonstrating their latest 1080p projector, the HC5000. The really nice Japanese technician gave us a quick private show of his equipment. He was using Sharp's Blu-ray recorder (because it has an HDMI-output) to play Blu-ray movies on the HC5000. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any photos, but the image quality was incredible. With a retail price of €3,990, this projector might not appeal to the average consumer, but we think it's a really good price for this kind of projector.


Toshiba


While there was no HD-DVD Promotion Group booth at this years IFA, Toshiba did their best to make up for it by showing a wide range of HD-DVD related products in their own booth, including two HD-DVD players, multiple HD-DVD drives, as well as some of their Qosmio laptops featuring HD-DVD drives. The HD-E1 HD-DVD player, which corresponds to the upcoming HD-A2 but for the European market, was plentiful on display in various locations throughout the booth. The HD-XE1 HD-DVD player on the other hand, which corresponds to the upcoming HD-XA2, was nowhere to be found but we did manage to locate a prototype HD-XA2 HD-DVD player. The HD-E1 and HD-XE1 will be launched in Europe in November and will retail for €599 and €999, respectively. On display were also several HD-DVD drives (half-height, slim slot, slim tray), as well as some Toshiba Qosmio laptops with internal HD-DVD drives. We also happened to run into Toshiba's RD-A1 HD-DVD recorder (which only is released in Japan) being used by another company to demonstrate their HD products, so we took a few photos of it.

Toshiba's booth

HD-DVD presentation

HD-DVD movies

Toshiba laptops with HD-DVD drives

HD-DVD drives

Toshiba's HD-E1 HD-DVD player

HD-DVD media

Toshiba's prototype HD-XA2 HD-DVD player

HD-XA2 from the back

Toshiba's VARDIA-brand RD-A1 HD-DVD recorder

RD-A1 from behind



Lite-On


Lite-On, with the exception of Toshiba, was the only company we found showing a HD-DVD player at IFA this year. While we weren't able to get any details about the pricing for the HDP-Z1 HD-DVD player they said they expect to release the player sometime next year.

Lite-On's booth

Lite-On's HDP-Z1 HD-DVD player



Final words


That's the end of yet another IFA report, we hope you found it interesting. As usual we'd like to thank all of the companies and exhibitors at IFA that allowed us to take photos of their products and answered all of our questions. To discuss the new Blu-ray players, recorders, writers, drives, movies and media, check out the Blu-ray Forum.




 


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