The LG HD-DVD/Bluray player

In a world of competing high-definition formats, it looks like corporations are finally beginning to see the light. At CES this year, consumer electronics giant LG announced the first commercially available dual-format player, capable of playing both HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs. Of course, the product has been public for close to two weeks now, but American electronics store Best Buy are now showing that the player is in stock despite a scheduled release date of February 4th. Nevertheless, the store apparently has the items already, with an attached price tag of US$1200.

Unfortunately, The LG BH100 has its problems. First up, it only provides HDMI 1.2 output, rather than the market standard HDMI 1.3. That means both inferior video and audio, despite the fact that 1080p remains a capability. That, in the minds of the more technologically inclined, is a major downturn and there's a reason for that - who wants to play high-definition video at anything but the highest definition? Nevertheless, that problem isn't likely to turn off the majority early adopters.

However, the other, and possibly more grating problem, is the fact that, in its current state, the LG BH100 does not provide interactive menu capability for HD-DVDs. While BD-J, Blu-ray's interactive layer, can be played on the LG player, HDi is not a functionality on this particular product. As such, many are beginning to doubt whether or not the player can actually be called dual-format, considering the great bias it places on Blu-ray. Some are even suggesting that the product can't be sold until it gains full HD-DVD compliance, which in turn can't be accomplished until HDi is added.

The failure to incorporate these basic functionalities in the BH100 is definitely questionable. However, the fact that LG has been brave enough to be the first to come out with this product is definitely worthy of appreciation. A first-generation player is inevitably succeeded by a second, more capable, generation. Now that LG has got the ball rolling, it is only a matter of time before its main competitor, Samsung, unveils its equivalent.

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