Samsung unveils first portable 3D Blu-ray player (with a catch)

Samsung introduces 3D-capable portable Blu-ray player, but you need to connect it to an HDTV to see in 3D.

Samsung Wednesday took the wraps off what the company touted as the "first portable Blu-ray player with 3D capability," but there's a catch: You have to connect it to a 3D-capable TV and watch the Blu-ray content on that screen with Samsung's 3D active shutter glasses.

Nevertheless, there's still a lot to like about the $500 Samsung BD-C8000, unveiled with a handful of other home entertainment products at a Samsung press conference in New York. The unit, which has a 10.3-inch display and a built in Wi-Fi adapter, has preinstalled apps for the same online content available with Samsung's Internet-connected 3D-capable HDTVs. These apps include popular services like Netflix, Vudu and Pandora.

The BD-C8000 can deliver 1080p HD video output when connected to an HDTV via its HDMI 1.4a port, the latest and most versatile version of the HDMI audio/video interface. The player comes in a shiny black case, has illuminated controls and has a battery that lasts up to three hours, according to Samsung.

Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, said there are almost 100 Samsung TV apps available now and said he expected there to be 200 by the end of the year. New on the apps list are premium channels, including a 3D video-on-demand app which offers access to 3D video trailers.

Baxter, who said Samsung currently has 80 percent of the 3DTV market, said that 50 percent of owners of Internet-connected TVs are making use of TV online apps. "We see a huge potential in connected TVs or in what people call the smart TV space," said Baxter.

To increase the speed of Samsung TV app development, the company announced Wednesday a new contest backed by $500,000 in prizes for innovative apps. Software developers can access information on Samsung's "Free the TV Challenge" and download a free software developer's kit at www.FreeTheTVChallenge.com.

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