Sony Blitzes U.S. Market with Next-Gen, ‘Green’ Blu-ray Player
Sony Electronics this week began selling a svelter, lighter, ‘greener’ standalone Blu-ray player as its next-generation offering in the CE marketplace. The new BDP-S350, carrying the same $399 ticket as the earlier-introduced BDP-S300, shares little more than pricing and format designation with its predecessor.
The S350 boasts a snappier, under-six-second startup time, a chassis that is half the depth and 38 percent lighter, and a slew of features that will enable it to extract many of the Blu-ray format’s benefits. The S350 supports BonusView (picture-in-picture) but at present is merely designated as “BD-Live-ready,” and will be able to take a BD-Live firmware update that Sony will offer, via its Ethernet port, in the fall, according to Chris Fawcett, vice president of marketing for Sony Electronics’ Home Products division.
The model and even its packaging are chock full of other ‘green’ features. Sony’s use of a smaller paper carton registers a 43 percent reduction in CO2 shipping emissions. Power consumption has been reduced by 21 percent in playback and by 43 percent in standby mode – and its manual is printed on 70 percent recycled paper with vegetable-based ink.
The model also decodes 7.1-channel Dolby TrueHD and DTS pass-through, with its improved audio codec processing, and upscales standard-definition 480i DVD signals to 1080p. The unit’s drive mechanism, said Fawcett, will also render wobbly, off-center discs playable.
Fawcett said that since the Blu-ray–HD DVD format war ended in February, “the news has been wonderful” for Blu-ray in taking a foothold in the market. Sony’s projections are that in 2009, eight million Blu-ray players will have sold that year versus 9.65 million DVD players, and that in 2010, Blu-ray player sales would surpass traditional DVD player sales by a slight edge, at just over 13 million units.
Household penetration rates, too, are eclipsing those for standard DVD, he said. DVD penetration by the fourth year of its existence was about 15 percent; for Blu-ray, he stated, it would be 25 percent at the four-year mark. And PlayStation 3/Blu-ray combination players, he added, would likely reach the 40 percent penetration level in four years.