Rumored last September, and announced in January, Funai’s first entry into the Blu-ray player market is beginning to appear on store shelves with an MSRP below $300. The Funai NB500 Blu-ray player has appeared on Wal*Mart shelves as the Magnavox NB500NG9 with a $298.00 price. The player is Profile 1.1 aka Bonus View, so no BD-Live capabilities. But it is the lowest priced Profile 1.1 player, by far.
Funai OEMs hardware for a number of brands. The NB500 is also the Sylvania NB500SL9, and is expected to appear under the Emerson, Insignia, and Pye brands as well. The owner’s manual for the Magnavox deck is available online as a PDF. According to the manual (page 14), the system is capable of bitstreaming advanced audio codecs such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD HR/MA over HDMI, but it cannot internally decode them. If LPCM output is selected instead, then Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD fall back to Dolby Digital, and DTS-HD falls back to DTS. A similar fall-back happens if you use the coaxial digital output for audio instead of HDMI. Video output is supported as 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, and 1080p/24.
All in all it doesn’t seem like a bad player, if you can forgo BD-Live, for under $300.