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11/9/2006
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Blu-Ray To Meet HD DVD In All-In-One Player

A new chip from Broadcom will pave the way for DVD players that handle both of the new, high-definition formats--HD DVD and Blu-ray--in one unit.

The missing consumer link in the move to HDTV is a universal DVD player that would accommodate both the new HD DVD and Blue-ray formats. Such a player could be coming soon, thanks to Broadcom Corp., which on Thursday unveiled a system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution that aims to be a foundation for companies looking to build dual-format player.

The Broadcom single-chip BCM7440 Blue-ray/HD DVD SoC features a software stack complaint with both of the warring DVD specifications.

Will there be a universal player, Doug Grearson, Broadcom senior marketing manager, was asked. "The short answer is, absolutely," Grearson said. "It helps that the two formats are fairly close to begin with. Once you can read the disks you have reduced it to reading bitstreams."

Grearson noted that the video and audio compression solutions used by each format are virtually the same.

Broadcom has packed a brace of technology solutions into the chip, which integrates a multiple-core MIPS architecture, a multi-stream HD video decoder, and dedicated graphics engines. Also included in the SoC are "DSP-based audio processors, a security processor, DDR2 interfaces integrated video and audio outputs and an array of system and network connectivity interfaces," according to the Broadcom announcement.

However, companies looking to design dual-format players will be challenged by the design of the different physical disks. HD DVD is close to the current DVD disk standard, while Blu-ray's disk design is a completely new technology, Grearson said.

Regardless, , Grearson expects to see universal players appear on the market sometime next year.

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