LG's Dual-Format HD Disc Player Hits Store Shelves

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LG Electronics says the innovative dual-format high-definition optical disc player it unveiled at the CES show in Las Vegas last month is now available at major national retail stores including Best Buy, Circuit City and CompUSA.

LG's "Super Multi Blue Player" (model BH100) is aimed at resolving the format battle between Sony's Blu-ray optical disc, which is supported by a number of major studios, and Toshiba's HD-DVD format, championed by Microsoft and NBC Universal. The $1200 LG unit will play both Blu-ray and HD-DVD 1080-line progressive (1080p) discs from a single tray and single optical drive, which LG executives demonstrated at CES by playing two Warner Bros. movies, first an HD-DVD version of "Batman Begins," then a Blu-ray version of "Superman Returns." The device will also play back conventional DVDs, up-converting them to 1080-line-interlace (1080i) HD.

"With Full HD [1080p] beginning to take off, we expect the industry-changing Super Multi Blue Player to trigger expanding market volume for both Full HD displays and high-definition discs," said Michael Ahn, president and CEO of LG Electronics North American Headquarters, in a statement.

A quick check of retail Web sites showed the BH100 player was available online at Circuit City but sold out at Best Buy.

Of course, Warner Bros. announced at CES its own effort at resolving the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD battle, a new format called Total HD. Total HD discs are able to store movies in either Blu-ray or HD-DVD formats and work on either type player, as well as LG's Super Multi Blue Player. While several studios expressed support for the format, Total HD discs have yet to hit retail shelves but are expected to be released later this year.