LG Hybrid High-Def Player at Retailers

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LG‘s proposed hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD disc player was the subject of much speculation when it was announced a month ago just prior to the CES show in Las Vegas. Now, it looks like consumers will get a chance to say whether devices like these can end the so-called “format war” between HD DVD and Blu-ray: LG’s Super Multi Blue hybrid player is now available at U.S. retailers

“With Full HD beginning to take off, we expect the industry-changing Super Multi Blue Player to trigger expanding market volume for both Full HD displays and high-definition discs,” said Michael Ahn, president and CEO of LG Electronics North American Headquarters. “We are proud to offer consumers the next generation of HDTV innovation, addressing consumer hesitancy and confusion, and we’re excited that the LG player has captured the attention of retail partners and enthusiasts.”

LG’s hyrid player—which goes under the BH100 model name—aims to quash the high-definition disc format war by supporting both Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs in a single unit. The idea is that consumers won’t have to worry about which format disc they purchase, or whether a given title is available in a format they can view. The BH100 does it all: want to watch a HD DVD title, pop it in. Want to watch a Blu-ray title? The procedure is exactly the same.

The BH100 offers full 1080p output at either 24 or 30 frames per second, and supports interactive functions using BD-Java, managing advanced menus and interactivity which can be incorporated into Blu-ray discs. The unit also upscales standard DVD discs to 1080i output, so the unit is compatible with buyers’ existing DVD collections. Also on board: composite, component, and HDMI output, S/PDIF and HDMI audio output, and support for MPEG-2, VC-1, H.264 video, MPEG1/2 audio, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital+, DTS and DTS-HD audio.

But convergence doesn’t come cheap. Although LG’s Web site currently lists the MSRP for the BH100 at $0, that’s a little optimistic: expect to see retailers offering them at prices near $1,200.

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