Sony's BDP-S350 BD-Live Ready Blu-ray Player Shipping

Sony's latest Blu-ray Live-ready (firmware 1.1 upgradeable to 2.0) deck, which we first saw in February, is now shipping. New facts coming out are that it's 55 percent smaller and sucks down 21 percent less power than its predecessor the BDP-S300, and boots in "approximately a few seconds." You can pick it up for $400, but since you can get a new 80GB PS3 that is also BD-Live ready for the same money, you've got a choice to make.

Also worth factoring in is the step-up S550 available this fall for $100 more, which adds on-board DTS-HD audio decoding and a bundled 1GB flash storage device for BD-Live. So what'll it be, the PS3's power consumption of 8 refrigerators or a sleek green dedicated Blu-ray deck that can't play games?

SONY'S NEXT-GENERATION BLU-RAY DISC PLAYER NOW AVAILABLE AT SONY STYLE STORES AND RETAILERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

New BDP-S350 Delivers Full Promise of Blu-ray Disc with New Features, Technology

NEW YORK, JULY 16, 2008 – Sony's next-generation Blu-ray Disc player, model BDP-S350, is now available across the country at Sony Style retail outlets, sonystyle.com and other authorized Sony retailers.

The BDP-S350 supports BonusView (picture-in-picture), which is featured on select new Blu-ray Disc home video releases, and is also BD-Live ready, with an Ethernet port for easy firmware updates and access to Internet-based interactive content features. A firmware update enabling BD-Live is planned later this year.

It also features quick start up mode improving the player's boot up time to approximately a few seconds and offers an external port for local storage for BD-Live, allowing users to add an optional flash storage device (sold separately).

"We leveraged our expertise in film production and digital technology to build a machine that movie fans would truly love," said Chris Fawcett, vice president of marketing for Sony Electronics' Home Products Division. "An advanced Blu-ray Disc player like the BDP-S350 is a must for every HDTV owner because it delivers the ultimate video and sound quality, while unlocking features you can't find on DVD, downloads or video on demand."

Since many consumers own extensive DVD movie libraries, the BDP-S350 incorporates Sony's new Precision Cinema HD Upscale technology that converts standard-definition signals (480i) to 1080p and outputs a full HD equivalent resolution signal to 1080p TVs via HDMI. Additionally, the model also adds Sony's new Precision Drive HD, which helps to detect and correct wobbling discs from three directions, stabilizing playback of bent or scratched Blu-ray Discs and DVDs.

Not only does the new BDP-S350 model deliver enhanced performance, it is easier on the environment. Compared to Sony's previous BDP-S300 Blu-ray Disc model, the new BDP-S350 model reduced the overall unit size by 55 percent, reduced packing material by 52 percent and reduced the unit's total weight by 38 percent. The compact size of the finished package allows Sony to reduce the C02 emissions related to shipping by approximately 43 percent.

In addition, the unit features 21 percent less power consumption in playback mode and 43 percent reduced power consumption in stand-by mode. It also features lead-free solder, all-paper packing and the user guide is printed on 70 percent recycled paper with Volatile Organic Compound-free vegetable oil based ink.

The model offers 7.1 channel Dolby® TrueHD and Dolby® Digital Plus decoding and bit-stream output, as well as DTS®-HD High Resolution Audio and Master Audio bit-stream output.

The BDP-S350 supports AVCHD discs encoded with x.v.Color™ (xvYCC) technology, an international standard for wide color space reproduction. The standard expands the current data range of video by about 1.8 times, allowing the players to output more natural and vivid colors similar to what the human eye actually sees in the natural world. The players also feature compatibility with an array of video formats, including BD-R/RE (BDMV and BDAV modes), DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW, CD, CD-R/RW (CD-DA format), and JPEG on DVD/CD recordable media.

The new BDP-S350 is now available for about $400 at Sony Style stores, online at sonystyle.com, at military base exchanges, and at authorized retailers nationwide.