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Samsung Electronics, which Blu-ray disc players are about to hit the U.S. retail market on the 25th of June, has reaffirmed its intentions to release a dual-format high definition video player that could playback both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs soon enough. The hybrid player may catalyze price drops on single-format players.

“We don’t have a plan to make an HD DVD-only player, but are considering a universal player. We are preparing HD DVD [support] now and if we launch a universal player it will be the end of this year or early next year,” said Kim Du-Hyon, an assistant manager in Samsung’s home-platform product planning division, in a briefing with reporters at the company's headquarters in Suwon, South Korea, IDG News Service agency claims.

Samsung is reportedly already working on a drive that handles both Blu-ray disc and HD DVDs, according to Mr. Du-Hyon. It is unclear how much time it takes to finalize the development of the drive and electronic components of the player, however, this is not the first time when Samsung promises a dual-format high definition video player, which may indicate that the company is on-track with its roadmap.

Given that Samsung Electronics and Toshiba Corp. operate Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corp., the South Korea-based company should have access to the HD DVD technology backed by its partner.

LG Electronics is another company, who, according to some reports, has plans to introduce dual-format player. But this company went further and had reportedly cancelled its Blu-ray disc player on favour of the universal one, which may see the light of the day as early as in late summer or during the fall.

Both LG and Samsung are extremely aggressive in terms of pricing. Even Samsung’s Blu-ray disc player – which is the first to come to the U.S. market well ahead of the competition – is priced at $999, whereas Pioneer’s device, for example, will cost $1500. In case both launch dual-format players at a price-point comparable with that of Blu-ray disc players, the makers of appropriate devices will have to make the prices lower so that to maintain sales. The introduction of Blu-ray/HD DVD players along with presumable price-drop on BD players will catalyze the HD DVD-only devices to decrease the pricing too, something which will increase their popularity among mainstream customers.

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