It had to happen, didn't it? Just when things were looking good for the humble consumer of HD TV hardware, after LG announced its dual-format HD DVD/Blu-ray player , naysayers are suggesting that the Super Multi Blue might never see the light of day for legal reasons.
Even though the player is already available to pre-order at Circuit City (opens in new tab) in the US, industry observers claim it's likely that the DVD Forum , the body behind the development of HD DVD, will not allow the player to be sold because it doesn't play HD DVD discs properly.
The problem lies in the iHD element of HD DVD discs, which is much like a souped-up DVD menu. Because iHD is powered by proprietary Microsoft and Toshiba software, the unlicensed Super Multi Blue is forced to simply play movies straight through without any of the interactive menus.
Naturally, the DVD Forum is likely to take a dim view of this and may seek to stop the player's sale. The Blu-ray portion of the player functions as normal, as its menus are powered by standard Java.
Whether any industry body can actually do anything to stop LG releasing its machine remains to be seen, but it's likely that these early rumblings are just the start of something ugly. J Mark Lytle