CEDIA: Dual-Format Finds

Having to buy separate Blu-ray and HD DVD players to watch high-def discs is a hassle. Which is why I was glad to see a pair of dual-format players on display at CEDIA amidst the new HD DVD models from Toshiba and Blu-ray models from Sony, Sharp, Pioneer, Samsung, Denon and others.

LG’s BH200 should arrive in stores this October for $999. Unlike the company’s previous dual-format deck, the BH100, it earns its HD DVD logo by supporting the full suite of HDi interactive features. That minimally means you can view HD DVD disc menus —yeah! The player’s other features include an HDMI 1.3 output and Ethernet jack, 1080p/24/30/60 video output, and built-in Dolby True HD decoding. An LG rep suggested that the player might also support Blu-ray’s BD-Live interactivity, but couldn’t confirm that fact.

Samsung has also been threatening for some time to deliver a dual-format player, and it finally saw the light of day here at CEDIA. The company’s BDUP-5000 should hit stores by the end of 2007, also for $999. Along with full HDi interactivity for HD DVD, the 5000 will deliver 1080p/24 video via its HDMI 1.3 output. And there’s also HQV processing onboard to make your legacy DVDs look good. --Al Griffin