Sony Enhances High-Definition Experience With Introduction Of First Blu-ray Disc Products
Sony Electronics today debuted its first Blu-ray Disc (BD) products in the U.S., along with details on suggested pricing and availability for some of the new offerings. These next-generation devices include a home player, VAIO desktop and notebook computers, an aftermarket internal computer drive, and recordable/rewritable media. All offer one of the highest-definition experiences available from a five-inch optical disc.
Headlining Sony's new product debuts are the BDP-S1 Blu-ray Disc player and the VAIO RC desktop computer. The player is targeted to ship in July for about $1,000. The VAIO PC with Blu-ray Disc will be available for about $2,300. Both the VAIO RC desktop and notebook with a Blu-ray Disc drive will be available by early summer. In April, Sony plans to begin shipping 25GB BD-R (write once) and BD-RE (rewritable) discs for about $20 and $25 respectively. The 50GB BD-R and BD-RE dual-layer discs will come in subsequent months for about $48 and $60 respectively.
The BD player is designed to deliver 1920x1080p output, the highest HD signal output currently available through an HDMI connection. The player supports various high quality video codecs, including MPEG2, MPEG4-AVC and VC1. Analog component output for 1080i has been included so people who own HD-capable televisions without HDMI can enjoy the Blu-ray Disc experience.
The new BDP-S1 model is compatible with standard DVDs with the added feature of 1080p upscaling through HDMI, which gives new life to existing DVDs libraries. Enhancing the BD entertainment experience further, BD-Java interactivity has been incorporated, allowing for the design of advanced interactive features. The BDP-S1 player offers uncompressed multi-channel linear PCM digital audio output via HDMI, delivering optimum surround sound to an HDMI- equipped receiver. The player also has optical digital audio out and 5.1 channel decoding capability for backward compatibility with existing receivers. In addition, the unit has a separate audio circuit board, finely tuned audio components, rigid beam chassis construction, drive brackets and off center insulator feet. This robust BD-ROM/R/RE player supports DVD playback from DVD/DVD+R/+RW encoded discs, as well as MP3 audio files and JPEG images stored on DVD+R/+RW discs.
The VAIO RC Series computers, Sony's first Blu-ray desktops, combine BD recording technology with high-octane performance, allowing aspiring moviemakers and videographers to capture and burn their high-definition content. Consumers can edit high-definition footage with a comprehensive suite of software applications. They can then archive and share it on Sony high-capacity BD-R and BD-RE Blu-ray Discs or downconverted to standard definition DVD+R/+RW dual layer discs, capitalizing on flexibility in storage, playback and recording.
The VAIO RC Series will be shipped with a 25GB Blank BD-RE (rewritable) blank disc.
The BWU-100A, an aftermarket internal Blu-ray Disc drive for computer use, will support recording of 25GB and 50GB BD-R (write once) or BD-RE (rewritable) discs at 2X max speed. It is capable of burning a full 25GB disc in about 30 minutes. The drive will also support recording of standard single layer 4.7GB DVD+R/+RW, Double/Dual Layer 8.5GB DVD+R, DVD-RAM and CD-R/-RW media, making it a true all-in-one "tri-mode" recorder/reader.
The new drive can be installed in a standard half-height computer bay with a parallel ATAPI (P-ATA) interface. Comprehensive authoring software will be included for capturing, editing, and burning high-definition personal content captured by an HDV format camcorder, keeping the video in native 1080i HD format for playback on a Blu-ray Disc player. Video can also be "down-converted" to standard-definition (SD) resolution for burning onto a DVD disc. The BD drive will be available this year with pricing to be announced prior to product shipments.
Sony's AccuCORE technology, which was integrated into recordable DVD discs more than a year ago, has been re-engineered for Blu-ray Disc media to deliver enhanced accuracy, compatibility and reliability. The BD recordable and rewritable media offer the following:
• Scratch Guard - hard coating that resists scratches, dust and static
• Archival Reliability - special material design that prevents data and image corruption and deterioration to ensure quality playback
• Stable Writing - a uniform and precise cover layer that reduces fluctuation as the disc spins
• Temperature Durability - for the disc structure helps prevent warping during severe changes in temperature and humidity.
Blu-ray Disc is an ideal format for recording and sharing personal content captured by an HDV format camcorder. The original high definition content can be recorded to BD-R or BD-RE discs and played by a compatible Blu-ray Disc player connected to a TV, or a BD-equipped personal computer. Sony Style Stores and SonyStyle.com go "Blu" On the Sonystyle.com web site, Sony Electronics is currently running a pre-launch campaign designed to educate early adopters and enthusiasts about Blu-ray Disc technology.
Throughout the summer months, all 32 Sony Style retail stores across the country will go "Blu" - Blu-ray, that is. With in-store product seminars by trained Blu-ray experts and the opportunity to see BD high-definition content on Sony's high-end HDTVs, the stores will be ideal venues for people to experience the impact of Blu-ray Disc. And because seeing is believing, the stores will prominently display Blu-ray Disc banners, informational materials and even blue-tinted windows in select locations to ensure that even the casual passers-by understand that Blu-ray Disc is the next significant leap in digital entertainment.
Consumers can receive more information about Blu-ray Disc products, technology and related events by signing up at www.sony.com/bd. Additionally, pre-orders for the BDP-S1 player will be available through Sonystyle.com and Sony Style retail stores, beginning on March 17. The player will also be available for pre-order at the same time through authorized internet dealers, which include: Bestbuy.com, Circuitcity.com, Sears.com, Ultimateelectronics.com, Tweeter.com. Amazon.com, Crutchfield.com, Bjorns.com, Abtelectronics.com, Listenup.com, Vac2buy.com, JR.com, and Electronicexpress.com.
Sony Pictures' Home Entertainment division recently announced it will be shipping eight movies on BD-Rom discs beginning on May 23 with an additional eight titles being released in June, spanning from recent hits to classic favorites. In total there will be close to 100 titles made available by all of the Blu-ray Disc supporting studios by the end of the year.