Sony's new Blu-ray player is making news on many accounts. They're currently shipping the BDP-S350 that is about 55% smaller than previous models, uses approximately 52% less packing materials (when will they replace packing peanuts with cheese doodles? Can't cheese doodles save the planet?) and it's been engineered to consume significantly less power than previous models, and since it weighs 38% less, reduces CO2 emissions related to shipping.
But, what's making enthusiasts really happy?
The BDP-S350 will be BD Live upgradeable with a firmware update scheduled for this fall. Woo-hoo! 2.0 Blu-ray! It will use an Internet connection and a 1GB USB flash drive to supply the necessary extra memory. It would have been nice if Sony supplied the USB drive, but alas, they don't. It also has "BonusView" picture-in-picture.
Another version of the BDP-S350 will be available at Costco with the same features. Let's hope it will have a big box discount.
At a press conference, Sony stated that beginning with this model, all their players will have a six-second boot-up time.
They also announced the next new model, the BDP-S550 which will be BD Live out of the box, complete with the necessary 1GB USB drive. This $499 model will be smaller than current models but larger than the BDP-S350. It will have 7.1-channel analog outputs.
Both models feature 1080/60p and 24p True Cinema and will have Sony's Deep Color, x.v.color, and Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 formats. Only the BDP-S550 will decode DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and Master Audio through the analog outputs.
Not sure why BD Live is a big deal since so few titles are using it? Beginning immediately, all Sony releases will feature BD Live. Easy to do since Sony owns it's own disc-authoring supply chain.
More affordable and energy-efficient Blu-ray players. It's getting harder and harder to resist. —Leslie Shapiro
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