Korea's LG Electronics said on Thursday it planned to launch a next-generation DVD player that will bridge the yawning gap between two competing formats by playing both HD DVD and Blu-ray.
The dual-mode player will be launched next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company said in a statement. The player is expected in the U.S. market early 2007.
LG Electronics has been a high-profile Blu-ray supporter until last March, when the company announced that it would also support HD DVD. LG's move was expected, after the conclusion of the company's cross-license contract with Toshiba, last April. The agreement implicated worldwide patents of both companies on optical disc, optical disc drive and optical disc player/recorder products.
However, LG spokesman had refused the rumors about a combo drive that would support both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD movies, in an interview last September.
Samsung Electronics, LG's domestic rival, said last November that the company had not intention to develop HD-DVD players or combo devices (Blu-Ray/HD DVD). This statement had followed information indicating that Samsung
could sell HD-DVD devices in the future. However, LG's decision could put some pressure to Samsung to change its plans again.
Japanese NEC had also announced in October a Blu-ray/HD-DVD player to be available in 2007.
LG's indicated direction has given hope to some analysts that the format war might be bridged this year.