CES: LG to show dual HD DVD/Blu-ray player

LG Electronics will soon begin selling a high-definition video disc player compatible with both the HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc standards, it said Thursday.

The player will be unveiled at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and go on sale in the U.S. in early 2007, LG said. No further details were immediately available.

A player compatible with both formats could do a lot to kick-start the high-definition movie disc market. To date consumers have taken a dim view to the format battle and most have stayed away from the incompatible technologies.

Both use blue lasers to achieve a storage capacity several times that of existing DVDs. Combined with advanced video compression systems they offer enough space to store movies in high definition.

Blu-ray Disc is backed by Sony and Panasonic along with a long list of electronics makers and achieves a capacity of 25GB on a single-sided disc. HD DVD’s main backer is Toshiba and the format also has broad support in Hollywood. A single-sided HD DVD disc can store 15GB of data. In comparison a DVD stores 4.7GB.

LG initially supported just Blu-ray Disc but at this year’s Cebit show in Germany it confirmed it was also developing an HD DVD drive. Later in the year, Samsung said it was also considering development of a dual-format drive.

It’s easy for most Blu-ray Disc backers to quietly research the addition of HD DVD technology to their drives. HD DVD is supported by the DVD Forum, the standards body behind DVD and to which most Blu-ray Disc backers are already members. That means HD DVD technology has been available to them since the format was first adopted several years ago.

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