September 20, 2006 10:50 AM PDT

LG: No go on combo of Blu-ray, HD DVD

The dream of many gadget kooks these days--a box that can play both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD movies--may come some day, but it doesn't appear likely in the near future.

Earlier in the year, Korean electronics giant LG indicated it was considering such a product, but now says it doesn't have such a device on its current road map. Other major electronics makers had already decided to pursue single-format players for now, so LG's indicated direction gave hope to some analysts that the format war might be bridged this year.

"We have had discussions about having such a device, but there are no official plans at the moment," said John Taylor, a spokesman for LG in the U.S. "The product in question was never really fleshed out in a lot of detail publicly."

LG already released Blu-ray products this year.

Technically, building a home player that could read discs from either high-definition format is feasible, according to many. The problem is cost, according to, among others, Sony Electronics COO Stan Glasgow. Both HD DVD and Blu-ray players are just going into mass production this year and thus remain expensive. Standalone HD players sell for around $500, while Blu-ray players sell for about $1,000. (The price of Blu-ray players, however, will drop to around $500 by next year, Glasgow said.)

Others have noted that the licensing agreements also make coming out with a combination device difficult. The companies that contributed intellectual property to the standard will also likely earn revenue from licensing royalties. Licensing royalties to CDs lead to millions in revenue for the companies behind the standard.

A ray of hope in the standards war, however, is a disc that could be played in either type of player.

Blu-ray and HD DVD are formats for storing high-definition video. The first films based around the formats came out this year. Consumers in surveys have said they may hold off buying Blu-ray or HD DVD systems until the format war is worked out. The fight over the format is similar to the old Betamax-VHS conflict but has greater consequences.

If consumers bought Betamax, they got stuck with a player and some movies on a dying standard. PC makers already include Blu-ray and HD DVD drives in PCs, so picking the wrong standard could also mean consumers would need to upgrade their computers.

Sony, Philips, LG, Samsung, Dell and a host of movie studios back Blu-ray. HD DVD is backed by Toshiba, Microsoft, Intel and a few studios, with some studios and PC makers supporting both standards. HD proponents claim the format has better backward-compatibility with existing DVD technology and that the players cost less.

Steve Baker, an analyst with the NPD Group, said the lack of a combo player this year won't be a big deal. "These are early-adopter products. It is fine if there is a fight right now," he said.

Baker further added that Pioneer has ditched the idea of coming out with a combo player.

See more CNET content tagged:
Steve Baker, HD-DVD, LG Electronics Inc., Blu-ray, electronics company


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fine to have a fight???
It is NOT fine to have a fight right now. There should never have been a fight in the first place. All the companies involved can kiss my shiny metal ass.
Posted by herkamur (115 comments )
Reply Link Flag
would you back down?
Personally, I don't like the idea of a standards war. However, if I was a head man in one of the companies that is backing either standard, I would be very unlikely to back down to the competition. Each company has their own reasoning for why their product is better and so far, no one has made a convincing argument that either is better.
Posted by lukenova (6 comments )
Link Flag
RE: Fine to have a fight???
you have a shiny ass? is it a naturally occurring luster, or does it
require ass polish? do you buff it regularly? and most importantly,
is said ass on display somewhere? i'd like to see that tour come
through my town.
Posted by jbondo (26 comments )
Link Flag
It's all about money, but what's the benefit?
Whichever side "wins" the format war stands to rake in billions in licensing revenue, so I can understand why neither side will back down.

However, I feel if and when the format war ends, many consumers will simply not want to buy the "winning" product.

Personally, I find DVDs good enough for my entertainment needs. What benefit would I gain from either format, without spending a few thousand dollars for a nice, high-quality HD TV to watch them on?
Posted by bluemist9999 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's already been patented! DVD/BluRay/HD-DVD combo!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Boffins patent three way DVD format

Runs DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD on one disk

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

"The patent application was filed by three Warner Bros. employees, two of whom are engineers for the company."
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is for a DVD disc.. not a player.. so no need for a multiplayer
nm nm nm
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Link Flag
Rooting for HD-DVD
Personally, I really hope the HD-DVD standard wins. I have previously had a horrible experience with one of Sony's subsidary companies and now boycot all of their products. So if they win this format war, despite typically being one of the early adopters refered to in the article, I will just completely sit out the next gen format.

That being said, I'm not ready to spend $500 on an HD-DVD player either. I want to see how this one develops.
Posted by jphillips1868 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
same here
sony has been making bad products lately lately and after a few bad pirchases i no longer support sony in any of there ventures. movies(paramont) sony music or any other products.
i recently found a camera a wanted to buy but didnt because sony made the lens.

sony needs to make good products again or perish.
Posted by itsallj (19 comments )
Link Flag
same here
sony has been making bad products lately lately and after a few bad pirchases i no longer support sony in any of there ventures. movies(paramont) sony music or any other products.
i recently found a camera a wanted to buy but didnt because sony made the lens.

sony needs to make good products again or perish.
Posted by itsallj (19 comments )
Link Flag
That's a great reason for ignoring a superior standard
Youll have to remember to abstain from buying CDs as well since that format was largely developed by Sony and Philips. In fact youll have to forget music entirely since DAT is still commonly used by professional recording studios and you wouldnt want to be supporting a Sony format after your bad experience with a subsidiary.

Maybe you can get away with Blu-ray though since its hardly exclusively Sonys format. Many other companies assisted in the development of Blu-ray and hold patents in the technology. Consumer electronics companies like Panasonic, Hitachi, Pioneer, Sharp, Samsung, Philips, Mitsubishi, LG and Thomson all back Blu-ray as well as computer companies like Apple, HP, Sun Dell and movie producers like Paramount, Universal, MGM, Disney.

But Im sure youll do great with your 30GB HD-DVD discs. But wait, isnt the optimum bitrate for VC1 18Mbit/sec? And doesnt DTS HD Lossless Master Audio use up to 24Mbit/sec (not sure what the optimum is)? So that means a movie with a single audio track can use up to 18.457GB per hour making a three hour movie as much as 55.37GB so we can look forward to more Lord of the Rings style disc swapping experiences if Toshibas format is again allowed to win. Now granted you wouldnt be using a maximum bit rate for the audio constantly but what if the film has multiple audio tracks and what about the extras?

HD-DVD currently allows 2 15GB layers and can support up to 3 layers for 45GB which means, like DVD, its going to have insufficient capacity and will mean compromises in audio and video quality and movies split onto multiple discs. Blu-ray currently supports 2 25GB layers and can support up to 8 layers for a 200GB disc meaning it has things about covered from the start with lots of room for expansion.

Yes, Sony make unreliable low quality products these days and I had a lot of trouble with a Sony projector I bought and trouble with Sony headphones so I dont buy their products anymore. However, Im not so foolish as to let these issues stand in the way of reason. Due to a bad experience with products from one division I wont be ignoring a technically superior standard with greater industry backing in favour of a standard lacking in capacity that will result in compromises in my viewing experience.

But maybe you dont care about video or audio quality and just like to follow the cool kids in the latest trend of bashing everything Sony do, whether justified or not.
Posted by Hummer2097 (6 comments )
Link Flag
Sony is a big no!
Posted by paulsecic (298 comments )
Link Flag
Winning format: First one to come out with a cheap sub $200 HD writer
If one of the two competing format comes out with a cheap disc and cheap writer capable of writing at least 20GB on a disc, and for under $200 for the writer and under $10 for the blank disc, then it will be a no brainer... As of now, whoever is more expensive would probably be the loser...
Posted by roland827 (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Combo will become necessary
For computers, things will eventually end up recorded to an HD disk of one variety or the other. Data backups, submitting large sets of data to customers or vendors, or Joey's first birthday party video. Some PCs ship with HDDVD drives, some with Blueray. Obviously at some point these data disks and home videos are going to hit a conflict, such as if Mom makes Joey's video on her HDDVD drive and grandma has a Blueray player.

I'm also telling people not to buy movies this holiday season. I don't trust some people to guess correctly about which one I can or cannot play, and surely at some poine grandma or somebody will grab the first copy they see, not knowing the difference between DVD, Blueray and HDDVD and I'll have some exchanging to do. If you have to explain how to get hte right one, then it's going to be a mess, because someone will forget, not pay attention, or whatever.
Posted by amigabill (93 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't buy or support either, this is moronic...
To go out and buy either one or both of these technologies is supporting the idea of once again "screwing the consumer" by using them as a beta tester.
That's all this is, one big test to see which if either will win the hearts and pocketbooks of the average consumer.
Even the studios are gun-shy about putting too much investment into this fray.
Best bet, stay away and a new technology using a hybrid of these and newer technologies will come along that will be one-tenth the price.
Seeing that you will wind up repurchasing your DVD library just wait, don't buy.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No Decision on Standard / No Purchase of Products
I, for one, will not purchase any new recording/playback device till the industry decides on which format is the standard . . . or agrees to a hybrid product that carries all three formats.
Posted by allantlg (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The industry wont decide - consumers will...
The industry wont decide - consumers will...
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
ND-DVD and Blue-Ray are irellevant
Anyone else have a shelf full of watched-once-DVDs?

I think the future is video-on-demand and not the antiquated "go to a shop and buy a copy" model so perhaps both will fail!

Consumers haven't been demanding HD-DVD or Blue-Ray - it is just something that large corporates are trying to create a demand for.

While the change from Video to DVD produced major benefits, the change from DVD to 'a slightly better DVD' is going to be a hard sell IMO.

I favout HD-DVD but only if they are sold as normal DVDs (ie. not at a premium). This would mean that more HD-DVD discs were around and playable in normal DVDs (which friends and family borrow) before you have to invest in a new player. It's also simpler in shops to have one format that plays on DVD players old and new.
Posted by Caliban67 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Both formats deserve nothing but contempt
For some reason the purpose behind both these formats is almost never spoken about by the people who should be shouting a warning to the public right now.

The purpose of both BluRay and HD-DVD is to clamp down on the consumer, paving the way to Hollywood's vision of what should and shouldn't be allowed with their content.

They almost got what they wanted from DVD, that is the profits of VHS movies without the ability to make 480p recordings of your own by simply subscribing to a movie channel or renting a movie.

However they didn't understand technology or the internet, and in the end the public was saved by those that produced software to bring fairness back to the consumer.

The DCMA has given them the legal tools they require, and the next generation of DVD player will complete the picture.

When fully implemented - something that will not happen until enough players are sold and they've got the software perfected, your ability to play a movie in the resolution you desire on the device you own will be firmly in the hands of Hollywood.

Less than 10% of the HD TVs on the market today, and absolutely none of the computer monitors comply with the hardware and software copy protection that will be forced upon those that are suckered into either format.

If you don't own a media player that conforms, if your intended display device doesn't have the required HDMI compatibility (as well as the output device - which means Microsoft's forthcoming HD-DVD addon for the XBox 360 will not play commercial movies in HD resolutions for more than about a year or so) you will end up with a very expensive HD media player and a collection of $50 movies that will play at a resolution not quite as good as that of your existing DVD collection.

Couple this with the intended broadcast flag, which will prevent any fair use back ups of your media, the entertainment industry will have the tools necessary to prevent you from recording then playing back any TV shows they want to profit later.

The prediction is in less than a decade you will be forced to pay a licensing fee to Tivo any show that the entertainment industry considers successful. If you were to do this, then burn a copy or transfer it to your computer, the broadcast flag technology that Congress will mandate in all future technology will prevent those copies from displaying on any modern screen.

Obviously the tech industry is not particularly happy with this - its hard to sell $2000-$5000 tvs if the public realises they will get less for their money than their existing setup will allow for - but the entertainment industry has bought more powerful politicians than the tech industry, so they will be forced to comply.

Eventually your old TVs and your old computer screens will no longer be compatible with Satellite or Cable broadcasts or for that matter, future operating systems.

So by supporting this technology, and thinking that your about to embark on a brave new world of 1080P HD movies, think again. Sure you'll get that, but only on one player and on display device (unless you're okay with buying multiple copies of the same movie).
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
right on the money less the OS part
Eventually your old TVs and your old computer screens will no longer be compatible with Satellite or Cable broadcasts or for that matter, future operating systems.

Nah, Free (as in speach) software will remain developed to support the user not cripple them. It's the propiatery software markets that will be forced in to license deals and ultimately screw the customer.
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
Link Flag
If MS plays dirty, and allows the HD-DVD copy protection to be broken - they will flood the market and make quick adoption of HD-DVD.

Sony won't have a chance.

Then MS can lock the **** down and then enforce the copy protection.

This is what they are currently doing with ZUNE.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Reply Link Flag
By delaying the PS3 in the worlds largest consumer market until 2007 Sony have really screwed up big time. Now with Microsoft shipping an HD DVD drive for £89 that you can connect to your PC by USB they are going to swamp the market. Blu Ray (read Betamx V2) doesnt have a chance.

Who wants to pay $1000 for the lower quality video provided by the current BluRay players, when you can get an Xbxo 360 capable of 1080P with an HD DVD drive or a dedicated HD DVD player for half the price??
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
Who cares...everyone will be using the combo disc
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

One disc is what everyone will end up using. Awh shucks the big boys trumped again!
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wrong Comparison
"The fight over the format is similar to the old Betamax-VHS conflict but has greater consequences."

No it's not. That format conflict provided a very great benefit to consumers that they didn't have without chosing one format over the other: The ability to record TV shows.

Neither HD DVD nor Blu-Ray provides such an obvious benefit over DVD. In fact, except for folks who want to sit very close to their monitor (5-6 feet), or folks sitting at more typical distances and buying very large monitors (50-inches and up), chances are that the typical consumer will notice only a modest improvement over a similar movie played on DVD on a widescreen, non-high def monitor.

The more apt comparison is the upgrade from CD to DVD-Audio/SACD. And we all know what happened there!

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But it will never make it to market
They patented an idea. They havnt even got a workign prototype. Forget it - it will never happen. Blu ray / Betamax V2 will fade and die long before this hits the market.
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Reply Link Flag
following the cool kids!
Following the cool kids. lol. That's pretty funny. However, its not my intent. I supect my reasons are different that the cool kids, whoever they are, but perhaps not.

As for CDs, I can live without them. I probably haven't even purchased a CD in 2 or 3 years. So I can definitely live with. I'm quite certain I haven't bought any CD's since my extremely negative experience.

Your point is well taken tough, assuming your are right that Blue Ray is a superior product. Ordinarily, my vote, or more appropriately dollars, would go to the one with the one that technically superiour. And it pains me not to do so, but principals aren't worth much if they are disregarded when inconvenient.
Posted by jphillips1868 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Michael Kanellos is an ignorant racist.
What does it take for him to write an informative article, professionally?

Please re-edit your article and remove the racial slang "kooks" from it.

It speaks loudly of your ignorance in this nation of multi-culture. Especially when it is widely read by people from other countries.

Posted by kenu80 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Uhm, you're Joking right??
I HAVE to believe that you're joking on this matter. Otherwise you're the ignorant one.

Kook means 'crazy' or 'fanatic'. Kooky means having the characteristics of a kook. Look it up, ya kooky nut.
Posted by TMB333 (115 comments )
Link Flag
What are you talking about?
Are you serious or you joking? "kooks" is an American slang term for crazy people. Please do your research before you post such an inflammatory statement. I think you're confusing the word "kooks" with another word.
Posted by mk3_nyc (2 comments )
Link Flag
Combo drive petition
There is a combo drive petition at <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a> .
Posted by Urvabara (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Combo Bad for consumers
Combo drive/disc require royalty payments to both camps.
And also result in more expensive drives and confusions. (just look at DVD+R,-R,+- etc)

It favours the companies rather than consumers.
Bluray drive royalty amounts to $20 alone.
Posted by rslc (93 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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