These are dire news for Bluray supporters. I was realy hopeing these hybrid drives would be a gimmic, from little known manufacturers, with low market penetration.
If pionner launches this drive, and others follow the same path, we will be seeing the death of Bluray.
Hardware-wise, it makes sense since both standards are similar in terms of codecs, and end up using the same hardware. Doing a player that plays both formats is only more expensive on the licensing front, but it also opens up the target market.
Consumer-wise, it's great because the consumer won't have to choose a format, it can have both, on a single player for a reasonable price.
For the studios, this is also great, because they can launch a single format for every movie.
Why I hate it then? Well, studios will go for the cheaper disk format, all things being the same, which means we will see mostly HD-DVD releases. BD production will never gain scale to reduce it's costs, and very few movies will be released in BD-50 because of required space. That effectively kills BD as a format. Not to mention that because cheaper is king, we will never see High-def audio, full of extras, highbitrate AVC, superbit-like releases(normal HD-DVD release, costing 20 bucks, superbit release on BD-50 costing 40... which one most people will buy???)... When you have an hybrid player, you always end up with the lowest common denomiator, cheapest too, choosen over the other... Want proof? DVD-A and SACD were after a niche market, audiophiles. Most players ended up being hybrid players that could do both. Neither format gained enough traction to win the war, and now both are virtually dead(and several Dual Disc releases don't have real DVD-A tracks, only DVD-Video...). Hybrid players will not kill HD video formats, since the market is much bigger than for hifi audio, but it will certainly kill BD...