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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Blu-ray Players

Sony promotes new Blu-ray players, format

Sony has unveiled two new Blu-ray players this week cheaper than the PlayStation 3, and announced plans to promote the Blu-ray format.

This Christmas is going to Blu, if Sony has any say in it. The company is about to go all out in promoting Blu-ray as a technology, and will release with it two new players.

The Sony S350 supports the latest Blu-ray standards for under AU$500. (Credit: Sony)

The company unveiled the BDP-S350 and the BDP-S550 Blu-ray players this week, and for the first time the company is offering players that are cheaper than the PlayStation 3. In fact, the BDP-S350 will only cost AU$449 at retail, while the S550 will cost AU$649.

Sony says it's unveiling a new campaign to promote Blu-ray in the coming months featuring an Aussie celebrity, and which will be exclusive to Channel 10.

Andrew Gardiner, the head of Video Ezy and Blockbuster said: "As a Scotsman I'm quite sceptical. I said: 'Let's get one of these Blu-ray things in'… I'm a pusher and a user, now. I really believe in it."

Both models are capable of displaying BD-Live content, a newly developed Blu-ray feature that lets you access the internet during a movie to download a variety of up-to-date content, updated previews, special features like ringtone/wallpaper downloads, peer-to-peer interactions, live events and gaming.

"BD-Live is like a blank canvas that's ready to be drawn upon, and our players are ready to take advantage of this technology," said Paul Colley, technology communications manager at Sony Australia.

A USB port on the players lets you connect USB flash-based memory to store downloads from BD-Live. The BDP-S550 ships with a 1GB storage device.

Sony's Blu-ray BDP-S350 and BDP-S550 players feature 1080/60p and 24p True Cinema output. The players also feature 1080p upscaling through an HDMI connection, potentially improving the picture performance of existing DVDs.

Both models include 7.1 channel DolbyTrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus decoding, bit-stream output, plus DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and Master Audio bit-stream output. The BDP-S550 adds DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, as well as 7.1 channel analog audio output.

The S350 will be released in October, while the S550 is due in November.