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Sony's Smaller Blu-ray Deck Set To Ship

7/21/2008 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Sony said it is now shipping its $399 BDP-S350 Blu-ray Disc player, which is approximately 40 percent smaller than the previous model, uses between 30 percent and 40 percent less packing material and has been re-engineered to significantly reduce its power consumption.

During a press conference, here, last Wednesday Sony said the player, which has open-distribution status and will be found at most authorized Sony dealers, will also be BD Live upgradeable, Sony said. A firmware update planned for the fall will bring the player the interactive capability, which makes use of an Internet connection and a 1GB USB flash drive (not supplied) that connects with the player's USB port to supply need extra memory.

A spokesman said Sony will make a derivative version of the BDP-S350 available to Costco, offering the same core feature set.

In addition, Sony said that starting with the BDP-S350, all of Sony's Blu-ray players will have an improved six-second boot-up time.

This fall, Sony said, it will deliver the step-up BDP-550 ($499), which will be BD Live capable out of the box. A 1GB USB flash drive will be supplied with the player to give the device the needed extra memory for the interactive features.

The unit will also offer a significantly reduced cabinet size, though it will be slightly larger than the BD-S350. In addition, the player will be Sony's first to include 7.1-channel analog outputs for connection to 7.1-channel ready receivers, in addition to HDMI output.