LG launches dual format HD DVD/Blu-ray player

By James Wells in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS: LG Electronics today launched its Super Multi Blue Player and Super Multi Blue Drive for PCs which are the world’s first combination Blu-ray and HD DVD devices that are expected to help resolve a high definition format war in the CE industry.

LG revealed the products at the first press conference at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas held at 8.00am on Sunday morning (local time) to a packed press conference attended by hundreds of the world’s top consumer electronics journalists.

A collective gasp echoed throughout the room when the price of the much-anticipated product was announced – $US1,199. To put this in perspective, Sharp released a standalone Blu-ray player today for the same price.

According to LG, the first generation ‘player’ which has been rushed to market does provide users with access to all interactive features on HD DVD discs, but all interactive features on Blu-ray discs are accessible. The PC ‘drive’ has the ability to offer full interactivity for both discs. The drive also offers CD playback which the deck does not.

LG said that the lack of CD functionality on the player is not expected to be a limitation for consumers.

It is hoped that the launch of the dual-format device will encourage consumers to embrace the new formats and help a greater proportion of consumers and software companies to embrace full high definition content.

LG said there are no intellectual property issues in creating the device and welcomed any competitor that was interested in developing a similar product. LG said they have not investigated any potential licensing or OEM deals for the two hybrid products.

According to LG Electronics president and chief technology officer, HG Lee, the dual format product is designed to eliminate uncertainty for high definition consumers.

“Most consumers feel confused and they are not sure which format player to purchase. As they are reluctant to purchase, the growth is much slower than it could be. Some time last year we realised the two formats were here to stay and believed that there will be unification at some stage so we created a product that plays both in one single machine.”

The Super Multi Blue Player will be distributed to Best Buy and Circuit City retailers in the US market at the end of January for an early February release.

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