Hitachi-LG to Show Blu-ray/HD DVD PC Drive

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HItachi-LG, a joint venture of South Korea’s LG Electronics and Japan’s Hitachi, is reportedly planning to show its GGW-H10N "Super Multi Blue" drive at the CeBIT later this month, making the unit the first PC drive that can read both HD DVD and Blu-ray media.

Earlier this year, LG introduced its BH100 hyrid disc player, a consumer model which can read both Blu-ray and HD DVD high-definition video titles. With suggested retail pricing around $1,200, the BH100 doesn’t come cheap, but was being carefully watched as a possible solution to the high-definition format war between the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps: if technology supporting both formats became widely adopted, it would be like the counter-culture dream of someone throwing a war, and nobody showing up. However, this also means hyrid solutions have a vested interest in perpetuating a format war—because there’s no point in supporting multiple formats if those formats don’t matter to a significant number of people.

The GGW-H10N can read, record, and re-write standard DVDs at speeds ranging from 6× to 10×, and standard CDs at 24–32×. The GGW-H10N can also read and record single and dual-layer Blu-ray discs at 4× and 3.5×, and play back HD DVD discs, meaning it will be able to burn a single-layer Blu-ray disc in about 24 minutes. The unit includes with a SATA interface.

Hitachi-LG doesn’t sell directly to consumers; instead, the GGW-H10N will be made available in May 2007 to partners, manufacturers, and OEMs. But here’s the kicker: the GGW-H10N won’t be any less expensive than LG’s BH100, with per-unit prices expected to be around $1,200.

We know that seems expensive…but if you listen to Sony, Blu-ray has already won the format war and by May will just be engaged in mop-up operations, so maybe some folks can skip the whole thing.

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