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Dual HD DVD/Blu-ray player launched

LG to show dual-format device at CES

LG Electronics plans to launch a high-definition video disc player compatible with both the HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc standards at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The player will go on sale in the US in early 2007, LG said. No further details about UK availability have been announced.

The availability of 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 are based on 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 manages 4.7GB.

LG initially supported just Blu-ray Disc but at last year's Cebit show in Germany it confirmed it was also developing an HD DVD drive.

Later in the year Samsung Electronics said it was also considering development of a dual-format drive.

Quietly researching the addition of HD DVD technology to existing Blu-ray Disc drives is easy for most backers of the format. 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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