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Sony's Blu-ray player: $1K, 4 months before PS3

Sony's Blu-ray player: $1K, 4 months before PS3

At Sony's line show today, the company revealed a couple of more details on the BDP-S1, its first stand-alone Blu-ray disc player, which was originally unveiled at CES 2006. The unit will sell for around $1,000 and is targeted to ship in July of this year, about two months after Samsung's BD-P1000 Blu-ray player is scheduled to be released and

The unit will offer a 1080p oputput via HDMI--something upcoming HD-DVD players will not. Sony Pictures and other studios also recently announced that none of their Blu-ray discs will downconvert the analog component-video outputs, so tens of thousands of owners of HDTVs that lack HDMI inputs will still be able to enjoy the Blu-ray movies at full HD resolution via the BDP-S1 and other forthcoming Blu-ray players. In addition, the new player will upconvert standard DVD discs, which it can also play, to resolutions as high as 1080p via HDMI, which may improve image quality on some compatible televisions.

The company also announced a PC-based Blu-ray drive, the BWU-100A (pricing, availability TBD), which can record to "25GB and 50GB BD-R (write-once) or BD-RE (rewritable) discs at 2X max speed," according to the press release. The parallel ATAPI drive will also support DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW blank media, as well as CD-R/RW. It will come with authoring software that allows capture, editing, and burning of high-def camcorder footage. In addition, the company showed its VAIO RC series of computers, which feature internal Blu-ray recorder drives. Pricing and availability on these models were not announced.