Computer maker Hewlett-Packard is expected to embrace hybrid next-generation disc offerings, beginning by offering the LG Super Multi Blue Blu-ray Disc Rewriter and HD DVD-ROM Drive as a built-to-order option in selected systems available via its online store, likely including the Pavilion Media Center M8019y and d4890y systems. The hybrid drive should become available as an option beginning this week.
The move not only makes HP the first major computer maker to offer a hybrid next-generation optical drive as an option, but also may mark yet another change in direction for the computer maker. Most recently, Hewlett-Packard has been a supporter of HD DVD (and has been offering HD DVD drives in selected machines for some time). However, HP was originally a Blu-ray supporter, switching sides when Microsoft announced its support for HD DVD over Blu-ray (although HP did continue efforts to get the two camps to compromise on a unified format).
The LG drive will enable users to read either Blu-ray or HD DVD discs, letting users access content in either format without coming down on any particular side in the HD format war. However, the LG drive also enables users to burn both single and double-layer BD media; the drive cannot be used to write HD DVD media. The drive is expected to add between $600 and $900 to the cost of a build-to-order systems, although exact pricing is not yet available.