New Sony Blu-ray players: Better than PS3?
Sony has announced it will release two new standalone Blu-ray players, the BDP-S350 and the BDP-S550, which offer some compelling features such as Blu-ray Profile 2.0 compliance and DTS-HD Master Audio support.
Sony has announced two new Blu-ray players scheduled to be released in the second half of the year: the entry-level BDP-S350 and the step-up BDP-S550. We haven't been the biggest fans of Sony's recent standalone Blu-ray players (the
Key features of the Sony BDP-S350:
- Supports BonusView, which means it is Profile 1.1 compliant
- BD-Live ready, which means it can gain BD-Live capability with a firmware update
- Ethernet port for firmware upgrades
- Supports 1080p output at both 24 and 60 frames per second
- Onboard decoding for Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD
- Bitstream output for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
- About $400 list price, scheduled to come out this summer
Step-up features on the BDP-S550
- Onboard decoding for DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio
- 7.1 analog outputs
- 1GB local storage, which should make it Profile 2.0 compliant
- About $500 list price, scheduled to come out in the fall
While the BDP-S350 is interesting for its relatively low price point, it's still going to be hampered by the fact that it costs the same as the PlayStation 3--which offers almost all the same functionality (except bitstream audio output for high-resolution soundtracks), plus you get a high-definition game console and a media streamer. On the other hand, we could see the BDP-S550 being a hit with home theater enthusiasts because it offers a couple of key step-ups that make is a particularly solid standalone player--DTS-HD Master Audio Decoding and 7.1 analog outputs. We're betting that the PS3 eventually gets onboard DTS-HD Master Audio decoding--which will make BDP-S550 less attractive--but for right now it looks like a solid option for audiophiles, especially those who plan to use the 7.1 analog outputs. Of course, the BDP-S550 will also have to compete with other step-up standalone players coming out this year and we're betting the will give it a run for its money.