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Sony Bowing Cheaper Blu-ray Player

26 Feb, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Seeking to jumpstart sales of next generation high definition movie format Blu-ray Disc, Sony Corp. Feb. 27 announced it would this summer start distributing a new Blu-ray player priced 40% less than its current $999 BDP-S1 player.

The $599 BDP-S300 will feature 1080p (progressive) high-def video resolution via an HDMI connection Sony said is similar to an output signal of 24 frames per second.

The device, which is smaller and lighter than the BDP-S1, also includes a 1080i output for HDTVs not equipped with HDMI.

The BDP-S300's price is the same as the enhanced edition of Sony's PlayStation 3 video game console that features a Blu-ray Disc drive. The standard PS3 retails for $499.

Samsung, Pioneer, Philips, Panasonic and Sharp Corp. also market Blu-ray Disc players.

Stan Glasgow, president of Sony Electronics, told the Associated Press he expects the average price of Blu-ray players to fall below $500 by Christmas.

The new device is compatible with most standard DVDs and can play alternative video formats such as MPEG2, MPEG4-AVC and VC1.

It will support AVC-HD discs encoded with xvYCC technology, a new international color standard Sony says expands the current data range of video about 1.8 times.

To the naked eye, video colors would appear more natural and vivid, according to Sony.

The player supports BD-ROM, BD-Java, AVC-HD and DVD playback from DVD/DVD+R/+RW encoded discs, CD playback, as well as MP3 audio files and JPEG images stored on DVD recordable media.

The original BDP-S1 cannot play music CDs.

In addition, the BDP-S300 offers multi-channel linear PCM digital audio output via HDMI, and can decode Dolby Digital Plus, providing optimum surround sound to an appropriately equipped receiver.

The unit has optical and coaxial digital audio out, along with 5.1 channel decoding capability for backward compatibility with existing receivers.

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