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LG Unveils Dual-Format High-Definition DVD Player

LG Electronics will begin selling a dual-format high definition player designed to call a truce in the continuing war between rival DVD formats.

The model BH100, dubbed "Super Multi Blue," will play discs in the Blu-ray format, backed by a group led by Sony Corp. (SNE) LG is a member of the Blu-ray consortium.

It will also play discs in the rival HD DVD format, which is backed by a consortium headed by Toshiba Corp.

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But while it will display the full range of interactive features contained on Blu-ray discs, such as menus that appear while the film is playing, it will not play similar interactive elements contained on HD DVD discs.

The player, unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show Sunday, is designed to end confusion caused by the two incompatible formats as well as boost the sale of high definition TV sets and displays.

"Customers are no longer forced to choose between the two formats," Dr. Hee Gook Lee, president and chief technology officer of LG Electronics, said in a statement.

LG also said it will make a multi-format disc drive for computers that also displays DVDs in both rival formats.

The player is not cheap. It will sell for $1,199 when it becomes available sometime in early February, the company said.

It also does triple duty, playing standard definition DVDs as well and upgrading the picture quality to 1081i high definition resolution. The unit does this with a single tray for holding the DVDs, but two different lasers for reading the content stored on them.

The two DVD formats have been battling for market share since being introduced last year. Both are expected to get a boost this year as more studios release films in the formats and more players become available.

Later this week, Warner Bros. will introduce a high definition DVD disc that can hold films and TV shows in both Blu-ray and HD DVD.