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SCOTT JAGOW: You've heard all about the two competing hi-def DVD formats coming out this year, Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Those formats are incompatible, so a lot of people are worried they might buy one player only to have it end up being obsolete. But there's a new technology that could solve that problem. From the Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio, Janet Babin reports.

JANET BABIN: Japanese electronics firm Ricoh says it's developed a single laser head capable of reading both high definition DVD formats.

With the new technology, companies could make a dual format DVD player at a lower cost.

But Michael Gartenberg with Jupiter Research says current sales of all high definition DVD players are lower than expected. He says consumers don't see much of a difference with the new devices even though they cost up to $1,000.

Gartenberg thinks Ricoh's technology still might not be enough to excite consumers:

MICHAEL GARTENBERG:"The fact that there's at least something capable of reading both formats can get rid of some fears of obsolescence, but at the end of the day consumers still have to be sold on the notion of high definition discs, and no one's made a very compelling story... yet."

Still, Gartenberg expects that dual format players will be available by the end of the year.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.