NEC opens way to hybrid players

Co. shipping dual format chips for Blu-ray, HD DVD

TOKYO — NEC Electronics has started shipping chips able to handle both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats, paving the way for the production of hybrid players.

According to NEC, the chips, made in two types, will sell for about the same price as chips for the Blu-ray or HD DVD formats only. The company intends to ship 300,000 monthly by next April.

Several companies, including Samsung and LG, plan to make hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD players, a development that could signal the end of the format war between the Blu-ray camp, led by Sony, and the HD DVD camp, headed by Toshiiba.

Optical pickup technology for both formats remains to be developed, however. More worrying for consumers hoping to avoid shelling out for Blu-ray and HD DVD players is the fact that licensing terms for Blu-ray players may rule out hybrids.

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