Sony Blu-ray Player Hits Stores $100 Cheaper
The BDP-S300 appears to have all of the features of the first-generation BDP-S1, which had an original retail price of $999, including 1080p/24 output, 1080p DVD upconversion, and support for the MPEG2, AVC and VC1 video codecs. The BDP-S300 is also spec'd to decode Dolby Digital Plus, and probably Dolby TrueHD as well.
I say probably because the press release we received from Sony only mentioned DD+ specifically in relation to the BDP-S300, but also noted that a newly available firmware update for the BDP-S1 allows it to decode TrueHD. Hard to imagine the new player wouldn't also include this capability, especially as more and more BDs with TrueHD soundtracks are being released and announced. We'll follow up on that ASAP and post a change here when we get final word.
Speaking of player updates, it's not clear whether this player features an Ethernet port, which would not only make firmware updates faster and easier, but would also offer the potential for Internet-based interactivity features.
It's been getting a lot of ink everywhere lately, but it bears repeating that one positive aspect of the format war is that prices are coming down on both sides more rapidly. Sony has also said previously that BD players will hit the $300 mark in time for the holiday shopping season. And good thing too, because Tohsiba has already hit the $299 price point for its HD DVD players with recent promotions on the HD-A2.
And all of this is a prelude to the imminent arrival of even cheaper HD DVD players from China this fall.