Sony Intros New Bluray Disc Players

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With Toshiba’s public withdrawal of HD DVD having virtually sealed the fate of the format, rival Sony has made some haste in announcing spanking new Blu-ray Disc Player models; namely, the BDP-S350 and the BDP-S500.

Announcing the Blu-ray Disc players at Sony’s product showcase in Las Vegas, Chris Fawcett, vice president (Marketing) of Sony Electronics Home Product Division, said “the new devices bring home movie experience beyond cinema”.

Both players support ‘Bonus View’ for viewing picture-in-picture content, and have external ports for users to add optional storage devices.

Meanwhile, the BDP-S350 is BD-Live capable, and has an Ethernet port for firmware upgrade and access to Internet-based interactive content.

The other player, the BDP-S500 does not require any firmware upgrade to enable interactivity features, and will ship with 1GB of storage.

The S350 and S500 can handle 7.1-channel Dolby TrueHD decoding and bitstream output, as well as DTS-HD Master Audio bistream output. Whereas the S550 adds DTS-HD Master Audio decoding to 7.1 channel analog audio output.

Both players feature 1080/60p and 24p True Cinema output, and are compatible with a wide array of video formats, including BD-R/RE (BDMV and BDAV modes), DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW, CD, CD-R/RW (CD-DA format), and JPEG on DVD/CD recordable media.
Sony said the BDP-S350 will ship this Summer for about $400, while the BDP-S550 will be available this Autumn for around $500.

In a separate announcement, DreamWorks Animation SKG said that it is locked in an exclusive deal to distribute DVDs on Toshiba’s HD DVD format, even though the latter plans to quit HD DVD technology.

Explaining further, DreamWorks Chief Executive, Jeffrey Katzenberg, said, “We have a partnership with Toshiba, and have an obligation to see this through. As you know, we have been well-compensated for our support. It really is in their court at this point to really declare what the next step will be. We’re poised either way to jump into the marketplace when the conditions are right to do so.”

As such, DreamWorks is waiting for a cue from Toshiba — more so because they plan to release the DVD version of “Bee Movie” next month, and are waiting to hear from Toshiba on how to proceed…

Sony updated its Blu-ray Disc player line today with two new models that will be capable of accessing advanced interactive features such as BonusView and BD-Live.

The BDP-S350 and BDP-S550 models both support BonusView (Picture-in-Picture) featured on some of the new Blu-ray Disc theatrical releases. The BDP-S350 model is BD-Live ready featuring an Ethernet port for an easy firmware update and access to Internet-based interactive content features. The BSP-S550 is BonusView and BD-Live capable when it ships.

Both models also feature an external port for local storage, so users can add optional flash-based memory. The BDP-S550 ships with a 1GB storage device.

“Building on the exceptional picture and sound quality of previous players, Sony’s next-generation Blu-ray Disc models bring exciting interactive features to life and offer consumers a ground-breaking experience,” said Chris Fawcett, vice president of marketing for Sony Electronics’ Home Product Division. “These new devices bring home movie experience beyond the cinema and into a whole new realm of entertainment.”

The players feature 1080/60p and 24p True Cinema output. They are compatible with most standard DVDs and feature 1080p upscaling through an HDMI connection to capable HDTV sets, improving the picture performance of existing DVD libraries.

The models offer 7.1 channel Dolby® TrueHD and Dolby® Digital Plus decoding and bit-stream output, as well as dts®-HD High Resolution Audio and Master Audio bit-stream output. The BDP-S550 adds dts-HD High Resolution Audio and dts-HD Master Audio decoding as well as 7.1 channel analog audio output.

The players support AVCHD discs encoded with x.v.Color™ (xvYCC) technology, an international standard for wide color space reproduction. The standard expands the current data range of video by about 1.8 times, allowing the players to output more natural and vivid colors similar to what the human eye can actually see. The players also feature compatibility with an array of video formats, including BD-R/RE (BDMV and BDAV modes), DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW (Video Mode), CD, CD-R/RW (CD-DA format), and JPEG on DVD//CD recordable media.

The new models feature a slim design with reduced depth and height compared to previous models matching Sony’s new home-theater-in-a-box systems, the HT-SS2300 and HT-CT100 T-SS2300, also announced today. Optimized for Blu-ray Disc™, the new component systems feature three 1080p compatible HDMI™ inputs making them the perfect match for a Full high-definition home theater when connected to a new Sony BRAVIA® 1080p HDTV.

The new BDP-S350 ships this summer for about $400 and BDP-S550 will be available this fall for about $500. They will be offered at Sony Style stores, online at sonystyle.com, at military base exchanges, and at authorized retailers nationwide.

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