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While talking with some associates last week about the state of Blu-ray players on the market, I recommended holding off on making a purchase until later in September.
My reasoning was that the CEDIA trade show is taking place in Denver starting tomorrow, and I'm hoping that we'll hear some announcements about new players, better prices, and release dates for existing players to get the promised upgrades to BD-Live so that they will be able to play Disney's Sleeping Beauty when it is released on October 7th.
Already, it seems as though that advice is solid.
Engadget is reporting that the Panasonic DMP-BD50 is being replaced with the DMP-BD35 and the DMP-BD55. There's no pricing posted for the new models yet, but the hope is that splitting off the feature-sets into two models will allow Panasonic to lower the price of the DMP-BD35 to reasonable levels.
HD Guru is reporting that Sony is planning on dropping the price of their entry model Blu-ray player, the BDP-S350, by $100 to $299 at the end of September.The same article says that Funai, which makes Blu-ray players branded as Sylvania, Best Buy's Insignia, and Philips/Magnavox, will drop the price of their player $50 to $249 in the same time frame.
While these reports are unconfirmed, I believe that news like this is often floated just to see what the reaction is, and if they don't get the reaction they want, the companies don't have to back-peddle at all, because it was never official anyway. It's good news that someone somewhere is seriously considering that Blu-ray players are just too expensive for the average consumer to afford.
A $299 Sony Blu-ray player will get the attention of the buying public, and hopefully that will allow for sub-$250 sales to happen as we approach the holiday shopping season (extra credit for the first $199 sale!). It should also provide for some good old market competition to get Samsung and Panasonic to set their players at similar price points.
So, what this all means is, if you're in the market for a Blu-ray player (and if you have an HDTV, you should be), give it a few more weeks. I think we'll have a much better landscape with more choices, more features, and better prices.
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