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The major selling point of this player is its ability to play both of the new competing High Def DVD formats.

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1080p scaling of standard DVDs

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Advanced interactivity support for both formats

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Compatible with both HD DVD and Blu-ray

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No S-Video output

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The LG BH200 is the second generation LG Super Blu HD DVD/Blu-ray combo player coming out in mid-October for $999 (see the previous generation LG BH100). The major selling point of this player is its ability to play both of the new competing High Def DVD formats. Since not all movies are release in both formats, this player can play up to 60% more titles than standalone players. This ability comes at a steep price tag, with the BH200 retailing for $600 more than the Toshiba HD-A30 which boasts similar specs, but only plays HD DVDs.

  • 1080p/24fps playback of both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs
  • 1080p scaling of standard DVDs
  • HDMI/Component/Composite (no S-Video)
  • LAN connected to make use of web interactivity features
  • Advanced BD-Java and HDi support

The BH200 improves on some problems encountered in the previous generation BH100: 1) full HD DVD playback including menus, 2) 1080p upscaling of standard DVDs (instead of 1080i), and 3) deep color output with HDMI 1.3 support.

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09/27/2007 01:04

I remain skeptical about any streaming HD content over the next few years. We're not technology-limited anymore. The technology progresses faster than can be adopted by the consumer, and then you throw in annoying corporations (Blockbuster, Comcast, SBC, Roger's) trying to squeeze out every last buck while they scramble to fight illegal downloads you get stuck with antiquated tech. Video dystopia?

09/27/2007 12:38

Even with better pricing I think you'll see the formats languish. The pricing isn't too bad right now, so I don't think that's the barrier. It's the confusion. Everybody agrees that there should only be one format. What I'm saying is that you can effectively get the marketing of one format while not having one format. Essentially I'd say going forward the only thing that should be released are combo players. Then change the stupid packaging of Blu-Ray/HD-DVD movies to be the same thing. Companies can use their existing production lines to make what they currently make, but to the consumer it won't MATTER which format the movie is on. It'll be a non-issue.

As for digital distribution, that's my bet on what will be the next big thing. I wrote some stuff last year (link). I'd be REALLY interested to see how sales of movies on Xbox Live Marketplace compares to the high-def releases. In a few years bandwidth will be improving, so streaming HD content won't be unreasonable.

09/27/2007 12:23

Conversely, there are professionals who argue that the existence of two formats along with combo players will only prolong and confuse the format war with neither side really winning. These industry pros point to the abysmal failure of SACD and DVD-Audio both and suggest that the entrenchment of various companies in either camp and the existence of combo players only contributed to the demise of both formats as opposed to the eventual success of only one (as with Beta vs. VHS). Personally, I disagree. I believe that both formats could have coexisted successfully but for poor marketing decisions and failure to differentiate themselves in a market which, at the time of their introduction was coming to be dominated by MP3 etc. Obviously, there are no comparable market factors for HD-DVD or Blu-ray (it takes far too long to download HD content and the notion of file-sharing is prohibitive). What would really accelerate the growth of both formats is a reasonable price structure for trhe disc themselves as well as broader support from video renters such as Hollywood or Blockbuster.

09/26/2007 05:13

Yeah, but in 2-3 years the format war will be finished.

09/26/2007 11:10

Combo players need to exist, because that is the future of the HD formats. Similar to how DVD-/+ is no longer an issue the same will eventually happen with the new formats. However it has to start somewhere, and expensive players like this one are that start. In as little as 2-3 years you'll be able to buy a combo player for just a couple hundred dollars more than a single format, and it'll all be a no-brainer.

09/25/2007 11:19

Also, not having an S-video input is hardly a con in my book. Realistically, if you don't have an HDTV, you have no business buying an HD disc player. You just won't see the benefit and you'd be wasting your money. If you do have an HDTV, then you shouldn't even be considering using an SD connector (composite or S-video) again, you won't see then benefit. Even if you are using a multi-zone and/or multi-source system, the signal degradation that S-video suffers over longer cable runs makes it less likely to be used than a composite video output.

09/25/2007 11:15

Both formats have their pros and cons, and both have about equal support from studios which seem to be fairly divided between the two (a very recent development). Just from a performance standpoint Blu-ray ought to win hands down due to its greater storage capacity and therefore greater potential for video/sound quality. However, HD-DVD has been generally acknowledged to have more movies which look and sound like HD ought to. That being said, your better single format players are still being priced somewhere between $500 and $1500 (although HD-DVD player prices are consistently lower), so you may actually spend less money overall on a multi-format player if your tastes run to the higher end of things. That being said, there are numerous good reasons to buy a single multi-format player: system simplicity, consistent ergonomics/usability, and using fewer HDMI inputs are all reasons which top my list.

09/25/2007 10:06

I disagree. HD DVD's name sucks. If you say it to fast, it sounds like HG DVD. There's to many D's in it. Besides, Blu-Ray is winning so I say Blu-Ray.

09/24/2007 06:09

I don't know about these combo players; you can buy two players for less than the price of this combo. Let's just pick a winning format already. I say HD DVD, if for no other reason than the name "Blu-ray" sucks.

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