Current spectroscopic optical coherence tomography (OCT) methods rely on a posteriori numerical calculation. We present an experimental alternative for accessing spectroscopic information in OCT without post-processing based on wavelength de-multiplexing and parallel detection using a diffraction grating and a smart pixel detector array. Both a conventional A-scan with high axial resolution and the spectrally resolved measurement are acquired simultaneously. A proof-of-principle demonstration is given on a dynamically changing absorbing sample. The method's potential for fast spectroscopic OCT imaging is discussed. The spectral measurements obtained with this approach are insensitive to scan non-linearities or sample movements. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.