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LG Electronics, a leading maker of consumer electronics, told its customers that it plans to abandon its Blu-ray disc player that was aimed to be released this spring in favour of a player that supports both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. The move comes because of uncertainties with the standard that is going to become the successor of the DVD.

“In light of uncertainty in this early stage of the market for pre-recorded high-definition optical discs, we have decided not to introduce the BD199 as originally planned for this spring,” a message reportedly signed by Bob Perry, vice president sales and channel marketing for LG Electronics, reads. The memo that was read by CEPro web-site claims that the dual-format player is planned for late summer/early fall instead.

LG Electronics is the second major maker of consumer electronics who said it would consider a player that can playback both types of next-generation media. Earlier Samsung Electronics expressed opinion that it would introduce a player capable of playing back Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, two formats that are expected to compete fiercely against each other in the coming years.

There are a lot of industrial collaborations between backers of the Blu-ray and HD DVD: Toshiba, a promoter of the HD DVD, runs an optical devices joint venture with Samsung Electronics, who supports both camps; Sony, the main backer of the Blu-ray, recently agreed to form optical drive joint venture with NEC Electronics, a sponsor of the HD DVD.

Even though the cancellation of the Blu-ray disc player release has potential to affect earning of LG and its partners, the company remains optimistic. “While these changes are not welcomed, we do not expect any negative effect on our overall business growth rate as we begin our roll-out of new models, and focus on the dramatic growth of flat-panel television in 2006,” Mr. Perry is reported to have written.

Blu-ray and HD DVD formats compete for replacing the DVD standard. HD DVD discs can store up to 15GB on a single layer and up to 30GB on two layers. Its competitor, Blu-ray, can store up to 27GB per single layer and up to 50GB on two layers, but Blu-ray discs are more expensive to produce. The HD DVD is pushed aggressively by Toshiba and NEC as well as being standardized at the DVD Forum, which represents over 230 consumer electronics, information technology, and content companies worldwide. Blu-ray is backed by Sony and Panasonic, which are among the world’s largest makers of electronics. Among Hollywood studios HD is supported by Warner Bros. Studios, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, whereas Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox endorse Blu-ray.


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