Leave it to Sony to win the battle for a high-definition disc format, then—just as the market starts to swing toward consumers with pocketbook-friendly prices—”lead” the industry by zig-zagging the other way. But that’s exactly what Sony’s doing—at least for the home theater crowd—at this year’s CEDIA Expo, introducing a new Blu-ray player that’ll carry a $2,000 price tag, rather than the $200 price tag consumers seek.
And, while most LCD TV manufacturers are working on introducing sets with 120 Hz refresh rates to produce smoother, flicker-free images, Sony ups the ante once again, unveiling an LCD TV with a 240 Hz refresh rate.
First up, the new Sony BDP-S5000 Blu-ray Disc Player will be fully BD-Live capable, meaning users will be able to take advantage of Internet-based interactive elements that can be embedded and accessed in Blu-ray titles. The unit also includes an external flash memory port, a 1GB Sony Micro Vault flash storage device, and a Quick Start mode that takes boot-up times down to about six seconds. The player will also include Sony’s HD Reality Enhancer and Super Bit Mapping technologies for even-better-than-your-normal-Blu-ray image quality; the player uses a 14-bit HD video processor for both upscaling standard-definition content and handling HD content, sharpening edges and bringing out detail in images while reducing the graininess of film. The unit also supports deep color and offers 7.1 audio support, along with an XrossMediaBar (XMB) interface. Expect to see it in November for (gulp) about $2,000.
Sony is also pushing the envelope a bit with a new Bravia KDL-52XBR7 LCD television that sport 240 Hz refresh rate, using Sony’s new Motionflow technology to interpolate three new frames for every frame of original HD content, creating smoother motion and crisp images. The set also includes Sony’s Advanced Contrast Enhancer for dynamic contrast ratios of up to 80,000:1, and (of course) the unit can be used with Sonys’s Bravia Link modules to add features like wireless streaming, DVD, and (gasp!) even Internet-based content. The unit features two HDMI inputs, two 1080p-capable component inputs, a PC input, and Ethernet; expect to see it in December, although Sony hasn’t yet released pricing information.