Unlike the HD DVD camp, which seems to have slunk off with their tail between their legs thus far, there is a ton of Blu-ray news already coming out of CES. Lots of new players being announced. Samsung announced the BP-P1500 BD player and the BD-UP5500 BD/HD DVD combo player, which update the BD-P1400 and BD-UP5000 respectively. The P1500 will be a Profile 1.1 player with extensive audio codec support and an MSRP of $399 and the UP5500 will basically share the functionality of the P1500 but adds HD DVD playback (any point to that now?) for an MSRP of $599. That’s the lowest MSRP for a combo player to date. And you now that they’ll be available for less online. The P1500 is due in June, and the UP5500 in 2H08. While they both have Ethernet ports, neither is certified as a BD-Live player. Though there is a chance they could be upgraded in the future, as they have the hardware.
Philips announced the BDP7200 a Profile 1.1 player due in April with an MSRP of only $349. I’d expect to see it for less than $300 online. I think that’s the lowest MSRP for a Blu-ray player to date.
Sharp announced the BD-HP50U Profile 1.1 player with a $699.99 MSRP. The press release makes it sound like it may support BD-Live, which would help justify that high price, but I tend to doubt it:
In addition, the BD-HP50U supports BD-ROM Profile 1.1, or BD Live, the latest version of the Blu-ray format. BD-ROM Profile 1.1 provides secondary audio and video decoders for Picture in Picture (PIP) capability, as well as an external storage.
Profile 1.1 is ‘Bonus View’ or ‘Final Standard Profile’ and not BD-Live. BD-Live is also known as Profile 2.0. I tend to think this is a press release writer crossing their wires.
Sony is releasing a $200 BD-ROM drive for PCs, the BDU-X10S, making it easier for PC owners to add Blu-ray support to their machines. They also reportedly have two BD-Live players on display in their booth, and we’ve heard yet again that the PS3 will be receiving a BD-Live update this year.
And Panasonic had a lot to share. They announced a ‘home theater in a box’ with integrated Blu-ray support, the SC-BT100. It is Profile 1.1, of course, and will be available in May – but pricing isn’t available. They also announced what they claim is the first BD-Live player, the DMP-BD50. However, they haven’t revealed pricing or availability yet. Perhaps we’ll hear more once the show officially opens tomorrow.