Sony Set to Offer $599 Blu-ray Player (and it's not the PlayStation 3)
One of the best reasons to completely steer clear of Blu-ray has been the format's cost, with players reaching into the upper stratosphere of home theater costs. Previously, Samsung's entry level player, the BD-P1000, has been priced in accordance with its name, costing consumers $1,000 or more. More recent Blu-ray players, like Sony's BDP-S1, have been just as posh, making the PlayStation 3 ($600) about the only way to get even close to Blu-ray playback for a reasonable price. That's about to change, with Sony offering an equally cheap stand-alone player, the BDP-S300, as a replacement to the more expensive BDP-S1.
Up until January, HD DVD movie and hardware sales easily trumped Blu-ray figures via Toshiba's reasonably priced $499 high definition player. In addition, Xbox 360 owners found a rather affordable path to next-gen movies through an inexpensive $199 HD DVD add-on. Cost and comparable picture quality kept HD DVD on top through the 2006 holiday season.
That's changed. Blu-ray recently surpassed HD DVD in movie sales, largely as the result of a full-on charge of title releases. Sony is clearly hoping its new BDP-S300 player, priced at $599, will compound HD DVD's pain.
So, what does the BDP-S300 offer? No concessions, it seems. In fact, Sony's new, cheaper player boasts everything the $1,000 BDP-S1 did, in addition to a smaller, more lightweight frame and the ability to play compact discs.
Despite Blu-ray's gains on HD DVD, the next-gen high definition movie age is taking its time in enveloping the mainstream. Sony clearly hopes a few hundred extra bucks makes all the difference.