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Sony taking its sweet time with standalone Blu-ray player

Sony's first-generation BDP-S1 has been delayed yet again

Sony's $999 BDP-S1 stand-alone Blu-ray player has been delayed yet again, AVS Forum (via Engadget) is reporting. Originally, the player was supposed to ship in late summer, but it appears Sony is being extra-careful about avoiding some of the snafus Samsung ran into with its first-to-market Blu-ray player, the BD-P1000. The Sony Blu-ray player is now due to hit stores December 4.

"We don't view it as a delay," a Sony spokesperson told me from his car on his way to work at Sony's San Diego campus. "We view it as a shift in availability."

Amazing how a good PR rep can turn a phrase while turning a car at the same time, isn't it?

Anyway, said rep told me the hardware is done, but the company is making tweaks to the internal software in an effort to "improve the user experiece." He wouldn't say exactly what those tweaks were, except to agree with me that cutting disc-load times was an obvious area that they were attempting to address.

I also suggested that while they were making tweaks, it would be nice if Sony could get the thing to play CDs, but alas, that's still not in the hardware spec. (I knew it wasn't, but I just had to give Sony a hard time for not putting it in the spec.) Oh, and the BDP-S1, like other upcoming--or just-released--Blu-ray players from Panasonic, Philips, and Pioneer, will not have the newest version of HDMI. (They have HDMI 1.2, not 1.3.)

For those keeping score, the PS3 will have something very close to HDMI 1.3 (it apparently doesn't meet all the requirements for the 1.3 spec, but most of them, it does). However, now that the PS3 will be in such short supply at launch, by the time you get a unit, HDMI may have moved onto 1.4. OK, I'm kidding about that, but the bottom line is, chalk this delay up as not that big a deal. Sure, some early adopters might be upset, but if you've got a BDP-S1 on preorder, be thankful Sony's actually trying to do something to head off your complaints--well, some of them anyway--before you make them.