LG leaps into Blu-ray for high-definition TV

The Korean electronics giant unveils a recorder that combines the blue-laser optical disc format with digital video recording, part of a slew of high-definition TV releases at the CES show.

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LG Electronics on Thursday unveiled a high-definition TV recorder that combines a rising blue-laser disc format with digital video recording.

The Korean electronics giant launched the device along with five other HDTV receivers and recorders at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The LGXBG420, based on Blu-ray Disc technology, has a 200-gigabyte hard drive--that's five times more recording capacity than traditional DVD recorders, according to LG.

The company also introduced a slim, wide-screen plasma display with a high-definition screen and a second HDTV receiver with digital video recorder for the U.S. market.

"This is a very important time for LG in the United States. We are leveraging our global leadership position to enter the highly competitive U.S. digital television, display and media categories to secure both market share and mindshare here in 2004," Michael Ahn, CEO of LG Electronics USA, said in a statement.

Consumer electronics companies are focusing their attention on DVD players based on next-generation formats. Sony and other companies are promoting the Blu-ray optical disc technology, which uses blue lasers instead of the red lasers typically used in optical drives to read data off discs.

A competing technology, which uses a single-lens optical head that integrates both red and blue laser diodes, is backed by NEC and Toshiba. Toshiba announced a new player using the format at CES.

LG said its Blu-ray receiver-DVR features a FireWire (IEEE-1394) connector, a digital visual interface with high-bandwidth digital content protection, built-in analog tuners, a graphical user interface, automatic back-up, an interactive program guide and DVD/CD playback options.

The device is expected to be available in the United States in the third quarter of 2004. Pricing was not announced.

LG's new 76-inch high-definition TV display has a high-resolution screen with 2.07 million pixels and a 1920-by-1080 progressive-scan capability. The plasma screen is 83mm (about 3.2 inches) deep, which makes it one of the thinnest in its category, according to the company. The display is slated for release in the United States in the last quarter of this year.

Another LG product on show Wednesday was a combination HDTV receiver and DVR, allowing the recording of digital HDTV delivered over the air via unscrambled digital cable channels or via conventional analog signals. With its 120GB hard drive, the LST-3410A can record 12.5 hours of HDTV programming, 62.5 hours of standard-definition digital programming or 120 hours of analog programming, according to LG. The product is expected to make its debut in the first quarter of 2004.