We were pretty easy on those early gen Blu-ray players, but now that the format has had some time to blossom, there's no excuse for a unit like the Yamaha BD-S2900 or its $1,200 asking price. Lacking BD-Live or an Ethernet port to upgrade the firmware should be enough to keep you away from this already outdated machine, but you may want to note that it's also lacking a way to decode TrueHD and Master Audio (you'll need a fancy Yamaha receiver for that, surely) along with standard luxuries like gold-plated connectors. If you go with this new, pricier Pioneer (or heck, even this older, cheaper Pioneer) you're getting more features, and the PS3 is still a pretty solid choice, too. Read on for the back shot and the full press release.
YAMAHA'S NEW BD-S2900 BLU-RAY DISC PLAYER FEATURES INDUSTRY-LEADING HD AND MULTIMEDIA CAPABILITIES - Model Offers RS-232C Interface and IR In/Out Ports for Seamless CI Integration, 12-Bit Deep Color, HD Audio Bitstream Output, Picture-in-Picture and Virtual Package Multimedia Features - BUENA PARK, Calif.-Yamaha, the innovator in home theater and digital audio and video reproduction, today introduced the BD-S2900, an innovative Blu-ray Disc player that gives home theater enthusiasts a front-row seat at the leading-edge of high-definition entertainment. Featuring performance enhancements such as 12-bit Deep Color and HD Audio Bitstream output, engaging BONUSVIEW Functions that leverage the Blu-ray format's next-generation multimedia capabilities and a stylish design to match the company's high-end receiver line, the BD-S2900 ($1199.95 MSRP) delivers on the promise of all the excitement the home theater experience can offer. Delivering the highest picture quality, the BD-S2900 can output 1080p via HDMI. Although these signals are generally sent at 50 or 60 frames per second (fps), the BD-S2900 can output them at 24fps, the same frame rate at which movies are shot. This results in a much sharper picture with smooth motion, truer to the original motion picture production. With 12-bit Deep Color compatibility, the BD-S2900 can deliver 4096 shades of each of three primary colors for an astronomical total of 68.7 billion possible colors. This gives viewers inspiringly rich and deep color experiences with incredible color fidelity, smooth tonal transitions and ultra-fine gradations between colors. It also enables many times more shades of gray for a higher contrast ratio. The unit's high-quality video processing offers Chroma Upsampling, precise pixel detection and 16-step motion video detection. In addition to providing 1080p output from Blu-ray Discs, the BD-S2900 also offers 1080p output for DVD discs, photos and personal video data, delivering an HD experience from a broad range of today's popular content sources. The BD-S2900's magnificent audio performance is achieved through the incorporation of the latest HD technologies. High bit-rate audio signals (Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio) are output directly from the player to the receiver (via an HDMI cable) without conversion to PCM. With the BD-S2900 and an appropriately equipped AV receiver, users can experience pure, direct and unadulterated audio exactly as it was intended to be heard. The device also offers superb analog audio output with a 192kHz, 24-bit converter. With the incorporation of BONUSVIEW features, the BD-S2900 delivers next-generation capabilities for the Blu-ray format. Home theater aficionados can take full advantage of the latest features, such as Picture-in-Picture and Virtual Package. Using the BD-S2900's remote control, users can instantly view a secondary picture inside the main picture, with compatible Blu-ray Discs. In addition, the BD-S2900 can output the secondary audio, giving viewers truly multi-dimensional experiences. Virtual Package lets viewers combine information from a Blu-ray Disc with content on an SD card to enjoy additional multimedia and interactive possibilities as they become available. The BD-S2900 features a full complement of connections including an HDMI output, component, S-Video and composite video outputs, as well as optical digital, coaxial digital and 5.1-channel analog audio outputs. The BD-S2900 is designed to perfectly complement high-end home theater installations. The unit has an RS-232C interface that can be used for touch controllers, as well as IR in/out ports that make it easy to integrate into any environment. The BD-S2900 also has a well-designed graphical user interface for menu and feature display on your HDTV. Its front panel design is not only clean and uncluttered, but also matches Yamaha's top-class receivers to give your system a neat, uniform appearance. Bright, dim and auto display brightness modes minimize viewing distractions.