Samsung was the first to roll out a Blu-ray player last year, and now they're the first company to roll out a standard form-factor player with HDMI 1.3. The new BD-P1200 offers many of the same features as last year's BD-P1000: 1080p playback; DVD upconversion to 720p, 1080i, and 1080p; and a stylish design. The BD-P1200's HDMI output is also compatible with the consumer electronics control (CEC) format, which should enable compatible products to send commands between each other--for instance, a CEC-compatible TV could send commands to the BD-P1200 and tell it to turn on and start playing a disc.
HDMI 1.3 is definitely the main selling point, and it should allow for encoded Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS HD Master soundtracks to be sent to a compatible receiver--such as the cutting-edge Sherwood Newcastle R-972 and R-872 we saw at CES. We emphasize should because there's a lot of confusion over next-gen high resolution soundtracks--we've contacted both manufacturers as well as Dolby and DTS several times and received conflicting reports about the audio capabilities of several Blu-ray and HD-DVD players.
Samsung says the BD-P1200 will sell for $800 and will be released in March. Anyone in the market for a Blu-ray player should remember that the PS3--if you can find it--can be bought for $500, and that LG's Super Multi Blue Player will get you both Blu-ray and HD-DVD compatibility for $400 more ($1,200) than the Samsung costs.