Samsung announced the BD-P1500 back at CES 2008, but our enthusiasm for it has always been tempered by the fact that the original announcement pegged it as a Blu-ray Profile 1.1 player. Well, Samsung made the BD-P1500 a little more interesting this morning by announcing that the BD-P1500 will be "BD-Live Ready" when it's released in June (pushed back from its original May release date). This means that the BD-P1500 won't be BD-Live (also known as Blu-ray Profile 2.0) capable when it's released, but owners will be able to update the BD-P1500 via a firmware update in the future. Samsung hasn't officially specified when that upgrade will be available, but we're hearing that it'll likely be in the October time frame.
But while Samsung giveth future BD-Live support, it taketh away DTS-HD Master Audio decoding. We originally reported that the BD-P1500 would have onboard DTS-HD Master Audio decoding--based on what we were told by Samsung--but now we're been told that the BD-P1500 won't have DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and that DTS-HD High Resolution decoding will only be supported by a future firmware update, no word as to when that update is coming. The BD-P1500 will have onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD out of the gate, but we really expect all but the cheapest Blu-ray players to have full support for DTS-HD Master Audio at this point, especially after its been added to the PlayStation 3.
Pricing wasn't included in the news release, but Samsung has told us the BD-P1500 will have a list price of $400. That's identical to the Sony PS3, which offers BD-Live and DTS-HD decoding now, and $100 less than the anticipated price of the Panasonic DMP-BD50, which will offer both of those features when it hits stores later this spring. As always, we'll reserve our final judgment until we get our hands on some review samples, but at this point--even with the promised firmware upgrades--it looks like the BD-P1500 is going to have an uphill battle in the increasingly competitive Blu-ray marketplace.