Consumers can look forward to a "speedy end" to the war between rival next-gen high-definition DVD formats, market watchers have predicted.
The analyst firm forecasts that such universal players will become the norm, not the exception, benefiting confused consumers unwilling to commit to one DVD camp or the other.
"We believe that universal players will come to dominate the high-definition DVD player market," said Steve Wilson, principal analyst for consumer electronics at ABI Research.
He added that Samsung is expected soon to release its own universal player, and that others, including large consumer electronics vendors, may follow suit before long.
ABI Research forecasts sales of 2.4 million players in 2007, rising to 55 million in 2011.
Many observers had expected that the demands of supporting both formats would significantly increase the price of universal players.
However, while there is some additional cost in the optical pickup, and the LG player's initial price is quite steep at $1,200, Wilson expects these prices to drop "dramatically" as new manufacturers come to market with universal players.
"That $1,200 price would seem to be more about matching Blu-ray prices than about reflecting the cost of universal player," he said. "There is no reason why universal players should cost significantly more than HD-DVD or Blu-ray players. "
However, Wilson added that market growth will remain slow until prices fall. "The universal player market is still in its nascent stages, and developers are trying to maximise their revenues," he said.
"There will be downward pressure on prices for players of all types. ABI Research believes that prices will have to drop below $200 before true mass adoption takes off. That should happen by 2009."
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