Hybrid HD DVD, Blu-ray players draw closer

NEC says it has begun shipping a chip that will allow next-gen set-top players to read both Blu-ray and HD DVD media. The chip’s introduction comes three months after Ricoh announced that it had developed an optical component compatible with both high-definition disc formats. The component is scheduled to become available to device manufacturers by the end of the year, so the introduction of NEC’s chip is rather timely. NEC is selling the chip for ¥10,000 ($84,) which is the same price the company charges for its Blu-ray- or HD DVD-only chips. According to Reuters, NEC intends to ship 300,000 of the chips between April 2007 and April 2008. It’ll be interesting to see how Warner’s hybrid media patent, which promises discs with both Blu-ray and HD DVD layers, fits together with future hybrid players.

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