I’ve said before that Blu-ray player pricing would drop this fall as we head into the holiday shopping season, and it sounds like Sony will be kicking off the trend in September. HD Guru, citing an unconfirmed report by Consumer Electronics Daily, says that Sony will cut the MSRP on their BDP-S350 by $100, from $399 to $299, on September 28, 2008. The BDP-S350 is a full-featured, Profile 2.0 / BD-Live player.
Sony will also reportedly introduce the previously announced BDP-S550 with an MSRP of $399, instead of the expected $499 price point, in mid-October.
The price reductions will certainly result in competitive pressure on other vendors.
In fact, HD Guru reports that Funai will cut the MSRP of their NB500 from $299 to $249 to remain competitive. The NB500 is a Profile 1.1 / BonusView player sold in the US under the brands Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania, Insignia, and others.
Since these are the MSRP prices the players will almost certainly be available for less online, and even at retail. While the NB500′s MSRP has been $299, it has been selling normally at stores such as Wal*Mart and Best Buy (under the other brands) for $280 or less. So the cut to MSRP will likely result in a further reduction in retail pricing.
I expect that this is just the beginning of price cuts for the holidays. With the inevitable sales, there should be some good deals on Blu-ray players. And the price cuts on BD-Live units will finally make them competitive with the PS3, unless Sony also cuts the pricing on those. While an entry-level PS3 remains $400, with the BDP-S350 at $300 (and less online) it becomes an option to consider.