Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDS) company, a large producer of optical disc drives, will showcase its first drive for personal computers (PCs) that can record Blu-ray discs (BD) and read HD DVDs. The price of the device, however, will be akin to LG’s hybrid video player unveiled in January, therefore, the new GGW-H10N will hardly suit for building a home-theater PC (HTPC).
Hitachi-LG plans to demonstrate its GGW-H10N “Super Multi Blue” drive at CeBIT 2007 show in mid-March. It does not mean, however, that the company plans to start selling it right away: the expected arrival timeframe is May, according to CDRinfo web-site and the projected price is roughly $1200, which means that the PC drive alone costs the same amount of money as the BH100 player compatible with both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats.
The Hitachi-LG GGW-H10N drive can read, record and re-write CDs and DVDs (10x speed for DVD±R, 8x for DVD±RW, 6x/8x for DVD±R DL) as well as playback, read and record single- and dual-layer Blu-ray discs (4x or 3.5x speed), it also can playback HD DVDs. The device is designed for Serial ATA interface.
The history of LG's hybrid player and its PC successor is rather strange. 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.
Blu-ray disc fiercely competes with HD DVD format to replace conventional DVD in future. While Blu-ray offers larger storage space for content, HD DVD drives and discs are easier and cheaper to produce.