One of the big selling points early in the PlayStation 3’s lifespan has been its inclusion of a Blu-ray Disc drive. Although DVD still far outpaces the Blu-ray format in home-video sales and mainstream adoption, the PS3 was largely responsible for Sony’s proprietary high-definition format beating out Samsung and Microsoft’s HD-DVD in the now-defunct HD format wars.
Analysts industry-wide have credited the PS3 with Blu-ray’s success, and in fact, the PS3 remains the best-selling “Blu-ray player” on the market. But that may soon change — and it may do so as early as this holiday season — begging the question of whether Sony should be concerned moving into 2009 and a down economy.
The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) released today a list of Blu-ray Disc players that will be available this holiday season ranging from $300 to below $200. The full list of these players is included below, complete with links to all of them at Amazon.com, if you want to take advantage of the new prices.
With consumers about to see cheap Blu-ray players, will Sony’s PS3 sales take a hit? Not necessarily. The PS3’s Blu-ray drive will certainly become less of a focus, but since that aspect of the hardware has driven sales for two years, it’s time for Sony to downplay the BD drive to begin with. Instead, Sony will need to focus on exclusive games, a facet of the PS3 that is just now picking up.
In a sense, the announcement of these cheap Blu-ray players is perfectly timed for Sony. For starters, any resulting increase in Blu-ray adoption will bring the technology more mainstream awareness, which can only benefit Sony. But more important, Sony is finally in a place to tout its first-party lineup, with games such as Little Big Planet, Resistance 2 and MotorStorm 2 already out, and titles like Killzone 2 and PlayStation Home coming soon. In other words, the transition to hearing Sony talk more about games than Blu-ray Disc is coming anyway, almost as if Sony’s first-party studios knew the inexpensive Blu-ray players were coming.
The cheap Blu-ray players that the Digital Entertainment Group identified span multiple manufacturers, some of which have or will have several models below $300 this holiday season. Check them out; if you hover over the links below, you should get a thumbnail image of what each Blu-ray player looks like.
- Panasonic DMP-BD30K 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player ($242.78)
- Panasonic DMP-BD35K 1080p Blu-ray Player ($239.10)
- Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-Ray Disc Player
- Samsung BD-P1200 Blu-ray Disc Player
- Samsung BD-P1500 1080p Blu-ray Player ($206.64)
- Samsung BD-P2500 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player ($304.33)
- Sharp Aquos BDHP21U 1080p Blu-Ray Disc Player ($259.85)
- Sharp Aquos BDHP20U 1080p Blu-Ray Disc Player ($234.72)
- Sony BDP-BX1 1080p Blu-Ray Disc Player with Bonus HDMI Cable ($299.83)
- Sony BDP-S350 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player ($249.98)
- Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player ($223.95)
- Sony BDP-S301 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player BD/DVD/CD Playback with Bonus HDMI Cable ($299.99)
- Magnavox NB500MG9 Full HD 1080p Blu-ray Disc DVD Player ($461.99 — presumably going to be cheaper in December)
- Sylvania NB501SL9 1080p Blu-Ray Disc Player ($199.97)
- Sylvania NB500SL9 1080p Blu-Ray Player with HDMI Cable ($199.99)