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LG Electronics, a leading maker of consumer electronics, has reportedly announced its second-generation hybrid optical disk drives for personal computers (PCs). The novelties can read all four disk formats currently sold, including Blu-ray discs (BDs), CDs, DVDs and HD DVDs, which brings quite some value to end-users wishing to watch high-definition movies on their PCs.

The new drives in the Super Multi Blue family of LG are LG GGW-H20LI and LG GGC-H20LI. The former can read and record CDs, DVDs and BDs as well as read HD DVDs, whereas the latter supports recording on CDs and DVDs and reading all four types of discs. Both feature LightScribe technology that can create labels on optical discs.

It is interesting to note that LG GGW-H20LI and LG GGC-H20LI will cost $499 and $399, respectively, which is much closer to mainstream price-points at which customers will really start to get the novelties. Earlier Blu-ray disc burners could retail for about $1000, which did not allow them to become really popular. Meanwhile, the most affordable HD DVD drives for PCs from Toshiba cost approximately $250 in the U.S.

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. But despite of the fact that HD DVD is much more affordable compared to Blu-ray, consumers still have not fully endorsed the new format, as it is unclear which of them will ultimately win the battle. Universal, or hybrid, players that support both types of discs are projected to solve the dilemma for early high-def video adopters.

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