After its BH100 dual-format HD player failed to fully support HD DVD, LG has been quick to render it obsolete with the launch of a follow-up, the BH200.
Also known as the 'Super Blu Player', the BH200 attempts to fix the technical shortcomings of the older BH100. Specifically, while the BH100 was touted as the world's first Blu-ray and HD DVD player, its lack of support for HD DVD's HDi-based interactive features effectively made it useless as a true combo player.
Plays HD DVD and Blu-ray
The BH200, says LG, now supports both Blu-ray's BD-Java and HD DVD's HDi software, so users can access the special features on HD discs regardless of the HD format. If proof of its HD DVD compatibility is needed, you only need to look at the HD DVD logo on the BH200's jet-black chassis. The BH100 wasn't awarded one by the DVD Forum.
The BH100 was also criticised for downconverting Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD audio to either 2 or 5.1 channels (depending on the format). The BH200 replaces the BH100's HDMI 1.2 port with version 1.3, enabling the raw digital audio to be passed along to a compatible amp.
As our colleagues on Home Cinema Choice pointed out in their review of the BH100, being first to market with a deck that supports both hi-def disc formats is a considerable technological achievement. The disappointment was heightened when the BH100 failed to match up to the hype.
On paper, at least, the new and improved BH200 finally looks like a viable solution to the HD format war. No pricing has yet been announced by LG, but a sub-$1,000 tag in the US looks likely. This will probably convert unfairly into £1,000 in the UK. The BH100 launched at this price earlier in the year.
For more info about the LG BH200, read the LG press release here.