updated 12:30 pm EST, Thu November 9, 2006
Hybrid Blu-Ray HD DVD Chip
Chip designer Broadcom says it has developed the world's first system-on-a-chip that combines Blu-Ray and HD DVD playback. While manufacturers of video players have previously expressed interest in developing dual-format players in the past, Broadcom's new BCM7440 marks the first instance in which the support necessary to play both disc types has been included on a single chip. This extends to the advanced features often needed in newer players, such as audio decoding, HDCP for movie support, and networking for online features. The completeness of the design is expected to have a major impact on the rivalry between Blu-Ray and HD DVD supporters by allowing movie watchers to view either standard on an inexpensive player. Many home theater buyers "are cautious about adopting the 'wrong' format," says The Envisioneering Group's Richard Doherty, and have often chosen to retain their DVD players instead. The chip is already available in bulk for testing purposes and should appear in finished products by 2007.