Sony sent out a press release this morning, announcing two new Blu-ray Disc players. The BDP-S350 and BDP-S550 feature an ethernet port and are capable of accessing advanced interactive features such as Bonus View and BD-Live. Both models also offer 1080/60p and 24p True Cinema output as well as Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus decoding and bit-stream output. The BDP-S550 ups the ante even further with a 1GB storage device and support for dts-HD High Resolution Audio and dts-HD Master Audio decoding.

The BDP-S350 and BDP-S550 models both support Bonus View (Picture-in-Picture) featured on some of the new Blu-ray Disc theatrical releases. The BDP-S350 model is BD-Live ready featuring an Ethernet port for an easy firmware update and access to Internet-based interactive content features. The BSP-S550 is Bonus View and BD-Live capable when it ships.

Both models also feature an external port for local storage, so users can add optional USB flash-based memory. The BDP-S550 ships with a 1GB storage device.

“Building on the exceptional picture and sound quality of previous players, Sony’s next-generation Blu-ray Disc models bring exciting interactive features to life and offer consumers a ground-breaking experience,” said Chris Fawcett, vice president of marketing for Sony Electronics’ Home Product Division. “These new devices bring home movie experience beyond the cinema and into a whole new realm of entertainment.”
The new BDP-S350 ships this summer for about $400 and BDP-S550 will be available this fall for about $500. Full details can be found here. Add a comment
Microsoft announced over the weekend that they too will be dropping support for HD DVD. According to, the company will stop making HD DVD players for the Xbox 360 and will drop the price of the addon to only $49.
Microsoft Corp. plans to stop making HD DVD players and cut the price of existing supplies by more than half after the leading promoter of the high-definition video format conceded defeat to Sony Corp.'s Blu-ray last week.

``From tomorrow, we will cut the price to $49,'' said Grace Chou, a Taipei-based spokeswoman for the Redmond, Washington- based company. Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console includes a standard DVD player, and customers can buy an HD DVD machine to use with the console at $119.99 through retailers such as
There is still no official word from Microsoft as to whether or not we'll be seeing a Blu-ray player for the Xbox 360. Hopefully, we'll hear something soon. In the mean time, Bloomberg's entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Paramount, the last Hollywood studio to support HD DVD, has announced that it too will be releasing titles on Blu-ray. In a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount announced that it was pleased that the industry was moving toward a single format and that it would would begin releasing titles on Blu-ray in the near future.
Paramount Home Entertainment quietly came onboard via a statement sent exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday: "We are pleased that the industry is moving to a single high-definition format, as we believe it is in the best interest of the consumer," the statement reads. "As we look to (begin) releasing our titles on Blu-ray, we will monitor consumer adoption and determine our release plans accordingly."
While Paramount has provided any details in regards to a release schedule, a Blu-ray version of Transformers has already shown up in Circuit City's computers. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
While many electronics retailers in the US have put Toshiba's HD DVD players on clearance, six of Japan's major retailers have pulled them from their shelves altogether. According to, these retailers have asked Toshiba to take back its stock of players.
As of Friday, six major Japanese electronics retailers -- Yodobashi Camera, Kojima, Nojima, Edion, Best Denki and Joshin Denki -- had suspended all sales of HD DVD, company officials said. The chains are in talks with Toshiba for the electronics giant to take back its stock either fully or partially.

Edion, which operates 1,000 stores across Japan under various names, announced an offer for any customer who bought HD DVD hardware from Toshiba to switch for a Blu-ray machine sold by Sony, Panasonic or Sharp. The offer is available only in March, with customers expected to pay any price difference if the Blu-ray machine was more expensive.
While I'd be surprised if Toshiba took back their stock of HD DVD players, its good to see that some retailers care enough about their customers that they'd give them a way to move to Blu-ray. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
While Toshiba plans to out of the HD DVD player market by the end of March, LG isnt dumping the format quite yet. According to, LG will will continue to develop and offer players that support both both Blu-ray and HD DVD.
"LG believes that at this present moment in time, it is necessary to provide a player which supports both formats and therefore create simplicity and convenience for the existing HD DVD consumer..."

"...With the recent announcement from Toshiba, Blu-Ray will now be the format that will pave the way for high definition movies, however this does not rule out HD DVD immediately as there are still a number of consumers who have chosen HD DVD and begun to build a HD DVD collection."
This is definitely good news, especially for those who already have a sizeable HD DVD collection. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment