Sony Formally Intros $600 Blu-ray Player

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Sony has formally announced its forthcoming BPD-S300 Blu-ray disc player, which the company teased on Monday. At an estimated price around $600, the BCP-S300 will significantly undercut current price points for Blu-ray disc players (currently around $1,000 for units like Sony’s own BDP-S1) when it ships "this summer," presumably leaving those now-overpriced players to gather dust on dealers’ shelves or be sold at significant discounts to make way for the newer, younger, cheaper models.

Sony has said it expects prices for Blu-ray players to drop to under $500 in time for for the 2007 end-of-year holidays.

The BDP-S300 supports BD-ROM,BD-Java, AVC-HD, and standard DVD playback, as well as standard CD audio (a feature not present on the BDP-S1). The system can also read MP3 audio and JPEG images stored on DVD media. The unit offers HDMI and HD component outputs for supporting 1080p and 1080i output, respectively, along with optical and co-ax digital audio output, with 5.1 channel decoding for backward compatibility with many existing receivers. The player will also support discs encoded with xvYCC, an international standard enabling larger color spaces, which Sony implements under the name x.v.Color. The system also supports Sony’s Bravia Theater Sync, which—when used in conjunction with Sony’s new Bravia displays enables users to turn on matching connected devices and switch inputs with the touch of one button.

Expect the BDP-S300 "this summer"—in the northern hemisphere, anyway—for around $600…before that, maybe look for fire sales on existing Blu-ray players, if you can’t wait to take sides in the Blu-ray/HD DVD battle.