Sony BDP-S300 and BDP-S500 Blu-ray players announced

New Sony players come with a free copy of the Spider-man trilogy in High Definition

Edging ever closer to providing that true cinematic experience in the home, Sony has announced two new players looking to spell the death of DVD as we know it...

From the press release:

Sony Opens Up Market With Two New Blu-ray Disc Players

•    BDP-S300 priced for wide appeal; BDP-S500 for high-end – both with a complimentary copy of the Spider-Man™ High Definition Trilogy on Blu-ray Disc!
•    Reclaim the original experience with 24p True Cinema
•    Integration and one-touch operation with BRAVIA® Theatre Sync™

Today’s launch of two new Blu-ray Disc players by Sony marks the next stage in the development of the high-definition disc player market. Packed with new AV technologies, the BDP-S300 is set to bring Blu-ray to a huge new audience. The BDP-S500 is a high-end alternative aimed at customers demanding a definitive high-definition viewing experience. The BDP-S300 will be available mid September and the BDP-S500 from the end of October.

To demonstrate the ever-growing catalogue of Blu-ray Disc format movies available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, customers who purchase either player in the UK will receive a copy of the Spider-Man™ High Definition Trilogy on Blu-ray Disc (upon registration of the product and completion of a customer questionnaire online). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has already released more than 40 Blu-ray Disc format (BD) movies, with more than 30 titles scheduled for release between now and Christmas. The Spider-Man™ High Definition Trilogy is a three-pack release of all three films on Blu-ray High Definition, allowing fans an exclusive opportunity to collect Spider-Man™, Spider-Man™ 2 and Spider-Man™ 3 all in High Definition.

“Blu-ray is taking off, and the BDP-S300 player is designed to give many more people a way of joining the party in style,” says Rachel Banin, Product Manager for Home Video at Sony UK. “Whether you opt for the BDP-S300 or the high-end BDP-S500, you will be able to appreciate the unique fidelity to the cinematic original offered by 24p True Cinema technology, something not currently available from all manufacturers. You will also get support for the new, wider x.v.Colour space used by the latest generation of HD camcorders, plus one-touch operation thanks to BRAVIA Theatre Sync.”

Both models can output HD1080p via a single-cable HDMI™ interface, currently the highest possible HD format available for consumers. So everyone with a HD1080 LCD TV can finally appreciate the true capabilities of their set. The ultimate HD resolution is partnered with 7.1 channel Linear PCM and Dolby® Digital Plus Surround Sound audio for home cinema of the highest standard. The BDP-S500 goes even further, with Dolby TrueHD decoding and Bit Stream Output for DTS-HD1, Dolby TrueHD audio signals via HDMI ver 1.3.

When using either model, even your existing collection of DVDs can look better thanks to a 1080p upscaling feature that works with HDMI-equipped 1080p-capable HDTVs, enhancing and sharpening the picture as you watch.

Film lovers will also relish 24p True Cinema. Cine cameras actually film at 24 frames per second, but televisions operate at a higher frame rate, so conversion has traditionally been necessary. The result is a 4% discrepancy from the original – the film broadcast on TV or played on a VHS or DVD player actually runs 4% faster than the original, and some soundtrack rises by 4% in pitch. When the BDP-S300 or BDP-S500 is connected to a TV with 24p capability such as the new BRAVIA X-Series2, the original 24 frames per second are played just as the camera first recorded them. You see – and hear – exactly what the director intended.

Both models support the new x.v.Colour standard, an international standard defining a colour range for moving images approximately twice that of standard RGB. This means the players can handle AVC-HD discs recorded by new-generation camcorders that use x.v.Colour and reproduce the more natural and lifelike colours in full.3

Another reason why these players will fit so comfortably at the centre of the digital living room is BRAVIA Theatre Sync technology. This uses HDMI to let you control a home theatre setup using a single button on a single remote instead of having to switch on and select inputs on several devices one after another. So all you need to do is press Play on the player’s remote and the TV switches on and selects it as the primary input. When you’re done, turning off the TV with its remote will automatically shut down the player as well and any other components of your setup connected to it by HDMI4.

Convenience – and style – of a different kind is evident in the design of the BDP-S500. This model features a motorised sliding panel at the front, which opens automatically when you load or eject a disc.

As you would expect the BDP-S300 and BDP-S500 can handle a wide variety of formats and media, including the still centrally important CD. In addition each supports BD-ROM, DVD, and DVD video playback from DVD/DVD±R/±RW encoded discs, as well as MP3 audio files and JPEG images stored on DVD±R/±RW discs. The BDP-S500 will also support BD-R/RE discs.