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Sony announced today that it is shipping its second generation Blu-ray high definition disc player, the BDP-S300, to retailers. The list price of $499 is $100 cheaper than was originally announced back in February, and places it as the lowest price Blu-ray disc player available.
Sony BDP-S300 Blu-ray Player
The BDP-S300 replaces the BDP-S1 which was released in December 2006 after a few delays. The new model appears to be similar in function, but a little smaller, and the new list price is much better than the original's $995 when it was released (the BDP-S1 was recently dropped to a new list price of $799, but with the new model coming out, why would anyone want to pay more for the older version?).
According to the press release (included below), the new model will be capable of 1920x1080p at 24 frames per second, which is the native resolution of video on Blu-ray discs. It will support the usual array of video formats, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4 (AVC), and VC1, and is also capable of passing along x.v.Color (xvYCC) information but since no display is currently able to do anything with that information, that may not matter much.
On the audio side, the BDP-S300 will output multi-channel PCM via HDMI as well as decode Dolby Digital Plus audio. Oddly enough, while the press release states that the BDP-S1 will be updated shortly to support Dolby TrueHD audio, it does not list that functionality as part of the BDP-S300's audio support. For more information about the sound formats on Blu-ray and HD DVD, please see our Help Document: "Dolby Digital Sound on HD DVD and Blu-ray Explained"
Also missing from the press release is any definitive information as to whether the BDP-S300 complies with the October 2007 requirements for Blu-ray players, which adds picture-in-picture, interactivity, and other features. The $500 price is still a little high, but it definitely puts Blu-ray on the radar for many enthusiasts. However, it's omissions like these that will keep me on the fence for quite a while longer. With the exception of the 24p support, my first generation Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD player purchased last September has similar features. The 2nd generation HD-A2 currently lists for $299 and can be found for $200-$250 at some outlets.
While Sony says the players are shipping today, their online store SonyStyle.com does not list the unit, Amazon.com has an entry for it with no pricing or availability yet, and Best Buy's web site did not list the new model either. It will probably take a few days to a few weeks for these models to be on display and available for sale.
Sony Ships New Popularly Priced Blu-ray Disc Player
SAN DIEGO, June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony began shipping its new Blu-ray Disc(TM) (BD) player to major consumer electronics retailers and specialty dealers nationwide for a list price of $499.
The BDP-S300 is expected to broaden the high-definition disc player market while delivering new features including the advanced Dolby(R) Digital Plus audio codec as well as BRAVIA(R) Theatre Sync(TM) and CD playback.
"The BD format gained great momentum in the past several months, and we're going to capitalize on that with the new model," said Chris Fawcett, vice president of marketing for Sony Electronics' Home Product Division. "The player gives a broader consumer segment the opportunity to experience the exceptional quality of Blu-ray Disc format at a competitive price."
The new model can output 1920 x 1080/24p high-definition video, currently the highest resolution high-definition signal available through an HDMI(TM) connection. The player supports various video formats, including MPEG2, MPEG4- AVC and VC1.
For those who own an HDTV set without HDMI, an analog component output for 1080i (interlaced) is available as well.
The new BD player is compatible with most standard DVDs and has the added feature of 1080p upscaling through HDMI to 1080p capable HDTVs, improving the picture performance of existing DVD libraries.
The model also supports AVC-HD discs encoded with x.v.Color (xvYCC) technology, a new international standard for wide color space. The standard expands the current data range of video approximately 1.8 times allowing the player to output more natural and vivid colors similar to what the human eye can actually see.
The new BD unit incorporates BRAVIA Theatre Sync utilizing HDMI connectivity, which integrates the operation of the player with a compatible BRAVIA flat-panel LCD television or audio/video receiver. With the touch of a button, you can automatically turn on and switch inputs to match connected devices.
Additionally, the player offers multi-channel linear PCM digital audio output via HDMI, and can decode Dolby(R) 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.
It also supports BD-ROM, AVC-HD Media, DVD video 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 BDP-S300 joins Sony's family of full HD 1080 line of products, spanning from the original BDP-S1 BD player, now with a list price of $799, to BRAVIA flat-panel LCD, and 3LCD and SXRD(R) rear-projection television line, as well as the PlayStation(R) 3 game console, PC drives and recordable BD media.
The company additionally announced a new free firmware update for the BDP- S1 that allows it to decode Dolby Digital Plus & Dolby True HD audio codecs. The update will be available next week for download at http://www.sony.com/blurayupdate.
The new BDP-S300 player will be available shortly at Sony Style stores, online at the new http://www.sonystyle.com and at other retailers nationwide.
Consumers can obtain more information online from Sony about Blu-ray Disc products, technology and related events at http://www.sony.com/bluray.
Source: Sony Electronics
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