With Sony’s CEO predicting that several lower-priced Blu-ray players would release in 2008, and with consumers probably high-tailing it to Blu-ray Disc in light of Warner Bros. ceasing production of HD-DVD movies, it’s only appropriate that a company used CES today to unveil a Blu-ray player that will cost less than $300.
Funai, a discount manufacturer that hasn’t produced a Blu-ray player to date, will release later this year the NB500. The NB500 will support Blu-ray Profile 1.1 and HDMI 1.3a output, with DeepColor, CEC and SD card video output as well.
Although no specific price was mentioned, Funai indicated that its NB500 will retail for “less than $300.” Will this drive down prices on current and/or yet-to-release Blu-ray players? That’s anyone’s guess, although Sharp’s new Aquos Blu-ray player, the Aquos BD-HP50, is definitely not taking the affordable route. Still, with other budget-minded manufacturers like OPPO out there, Funai’s news is bound to light a fire under companies that haven’t yet entered the Blu-ray market but are toying with the idea.
If Funai isn’t a household name, its business partners certainly are: Sylvania, Emerson and Magnavox. That should help put some minds at ease with the NB500.