LG's Second-Gen Blu-ray/HD DVD Combi Player

I'd say that LG got CEDIA 2007 off to a fast start, but the truth is that LG bent time and space by making an impact on CEDIA before CEDIA actually occurred. The press release for this player came to me a week ago under "embargo," which means I've been biting my virtual tongue for a week!

The essential truth is this: LG is releasing the BH200 "Super Blu," its second-gen combi Blu-ray/HD DVD player. And for all appearances it's one of the most advanced next-gen players yet released on either side. It will cost $999 and be available in mid-October. But unlike a few BD players hitting the market in that time frame this one isn't sneaking in to get out of offering advanced interactivity.

While the "Super Blu" name is an "e" short of inspiring thoughts of HD DVD, LG is claiming that this player is fully compliant with both HD DVD's HDi interactivity layer and upcoming "BD Live" network enabled Blu-ray advanced interactivity features. My understanding is that the latter would require the player's hardware to be BD-ROM Profile 2, which could well be an industry first for a standalone player. Further bolstering this claim is that the player's press release states that the Ethernet port is compatible with "network interactivity" and not just firmware updates.

The player is spec'd for 1080p output at 24, 30 and 60 frames-per-second (fps), HDMI 1.3 and decoding of Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD. LG will be exhibiting here at the CEDIA Expo and I'll get to the booth as soon as possible (Thursday is when the show floor opens) to try and discern if Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding are on the menu as well.

LG's first-gen combi player missed the boat by not offering HDi interactivity, which severely lmimted its ability to navigate HD DVDs and play back their advanced interactivity, and it also was limited in its audio decoding and transmission capabilities. This new player looks like it solves many if not all of these issues. Stay tuned for more as the show floor opens Thursday.

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