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The major consumer electronics maker LG Electronics has reportedly started to sell its “Super Multi Blue” BH100 player that is capable of Blu-ray disc and HD DVD playback ahead of the officially proclaimed commercial launch date in the U.S.

Apparently, BestBuy.com online store is currently taking orders on LG BH100 universal disc player, whereas at least some Circuit City stores have them on shelves. Officially, the LG “Super Multi Blue” player, the world’s first and yet the only device that can playback both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats, should be on sale starting the 1st of February, 2007.

It is a somewhat surprise that LG BH100 is available ahead of launch, as this hybrid next-generation digital video disc (DVD) had a pretty strange history. In the past LG Electronics changed its attitude towards next-generation DVD players at least two times. In March, 2006, LG pulled back with the release of a Blu-ray disc only player and wrote a letter to its clients saying that it would enter the market with a player that can tap two different markets – Blu-ray, which had negligible market presence in 2006, but has serious potential in the future, and HD DVD, which had stronger market share in 2006 and also potential to grow. In July, however, the company said that it wanted to remain a consistent member of the Blu-ray camp and would introduce a Blu-ray-only player, whereas plans for the dual-format one would be scrapped. That player – LG BD199 (according to some information) or LG BD100 (according to other data) – has never seen the light of the day.

Earlier it was reported that highly-anticipated universal player – LG Electronics' BH100 – that can playback both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, does not support iHD feature, advanced interactivity technology used by HD DVD and required to be supported to carry HD DVD-compliant logotype. Without iHD, only the video content from HD DVD discs will playback, while menu systems and other interactive features cannot be used. According to LG, the company has invented a software overcome and now the BH100 will be able to use HD DVD menus, though, the destiny of interactive features is unclear.

LG’s BH100 is currently sold for $1199, which is somewhat higher than a Blu-ray disc player by Samsung (e-tail price in the U.S. starts at about $600, according to Froogle) and an HD DVD player by Toshiba (e-tail price in the U.S. starts at about $330, according to Froogle) combined. On the other hand, recommended pricing by LG should be down in several months and eventually pricing of one player should be lower than that of two.

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