3D Spreads Through Blu-ray Lines

By Greg Tarr On Jan 6 2011 - 6:01am




LAS VEGAS — More and more new Blu-ray Disc players slated for 2011 will offer 3D TV support and Internet streaming services and apps as disc-based system continues it rapid penetration into U.S. households.

The following is a snapshot of new models planned for the year ahead by some of the industry’s top brands:

LG Electronics has expanded its assortment of 3D-capable Blu-ray models from one to five in 2011, all of which will include its newest streaming video platform.

Models this year include the NetCast 2.0 platform with access to an expanded list of service partners, including MLB TV, as well as the company’s new Apps Store, which will offer more than 200 apps when the first models ship in late February.

Models featuring built-in Wi-Fi can connect to smartphones using a special app that transforms the handheld device into a system keyboard.

LG will again have a built-in 250GB hard-drive model, this year adding a special music ID feature that allows song information searches. This adds the ability to transfer content stored on the disc to a connected external device such as a USB drive. The USB slot can also be used to expand the unit’s storage capability.

For those who may already have a Blu-ray player, LG said it will also introduce a Smart Box (due to ship in April). The box is based on the NetCast 2.0 platform, is DLNA compliant, offers FullHD 1080p capability, has a full Internet browser, and includes the ability to link into the LG Apps Store.

P&F USA will introduce six Philipsbranded players, four of which have 3D capability and all offering the company’s NetApps platform for streaming media access.

Highlighting the lineup is the BDP7506 ($220) 3Dcapable Blu-ray player featuring touchpanel controls, a DLNA-compliant Wi-Fi connection, Media Connect compatibility and NetApps with access to more than 100 apps, including Internet radio, Vudu, Netflix, Blockbuster on Demand and FlimFresh streaming.

The BDP5506 ($200) also supports 3D playback with most of the features of the 7506, minus DLNA compliance.

The BDP3606 features 3D, NetApps, wireless connectivity and fast startup.

The BDP3506 ($170) is a 3D model with NetApps, but it omits out of the box wireless capability.

The BDP3306 ($150) Blu-ray player is a 2D model with wireless connectivity and NetApps.

The BDP3006 ($130) is a basic 2D model with NetApps but without included Wi-Fi connectivity.

Samsung will show some of its Blu-ray Disc players planned for the first half, highlighted by the wallmountable BD-D7500, billed as “the world’s slimmest” at 0.9 inches thin.

Key features include 3D 1080p support, 2D-to-3D up-conversion capabilities, Samsung’s Smart Blu-ray platform with Samsung Apps and streaming service partner access, ultra-fast play, built-in Wi-Fi touchsensor control and slot loading.

Also slated is the BD-D7000 3D Blu-ray player featuring compact styling FullHD 3D and 2D viewing with 2D-to-3D up-conversion, and Samsung’s Smart Bluray with Samsung Apps streaming.

Other features are built-in Wi-Fi; touch-sensor control, a cube-style slot-loading design, and advanced Smart Blu-ray features, including AllShare, Smart Hub and Samsung Apps.

Sharp will present three models, all with 3D FullHD 1080p capability; support for CineamNow, Netflix, Vudu, Pandora and You- Tube streaming; Super Picture enhancement for streaming media; and DLNA compliance.

Models include the entry BD-HP25U, and step-up BD-HP75U and BD-HP35U units. Both step-up models add Wi-Fi connections in the box, and iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch control applications. The BD-HP75U also adds an anti-vibration chassis with upgraded audio circuitry and RS232c control.

Sony is presenting five stand-alone Blu-ray players for 2011 with step-up models featuring Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, Blu-ray 3D playback, and compatibility with Sony’s new network speakers for wireless multi-room audio streaming throughout the home.

The models include the BDP-S780 ($250 suggested retail), BDP-S580 ($200 suggested retail), BDP-S480 ($180), BDP-S380 ($150) and BDP-S280 ($140). The company also plans three Blu-ray integrated home-theater systems and a Blu-ray integrated 5.1 audio system.

All of the dedicated players support DVD, CD and SACD discs in addition to Blu-ray Discs, and will stream online entertainment from a long list of service providers including: Netflix, Pandora, HuluPlus, Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube, Slacker Internet Radio, NPR, the Sony Bravia Internet Video platform and Sony’s Video On Demand powered by Qriocity.

The BDP-S780 will ship in April with 3D playback, built-in Wi-Fi, DLNA compatibility, quick startup, front USB input, Entertainment Database Browser support from Gracenote, available app for iPhone/iPod Touch/Android smartphones to act as a remote control, 2Dto- 3D up-conversion, Sony’s IP Content Noise Reduction technology and Precision Cinema HD up-scaling technologies.

Other features include Super Bit Mapping for smoother color gradation for 14-bit color quality from 8-bit sources over HDMI.

The BDP-S580 ships in March featuring 3D, IP Content Noise Reduction, built-in Wi- Fi, Gracenote support, DLNA compliance, front USB, Network Speaker compatibility, control app for smartphones and quick start.

The BDP-S480 ships in March supporting 3D, and is “Wi-Fi ready” requiring an optional USB wireless adapter, DNLA, front USB, Network speaker support, control app for smartphones and quick start.

The BDP-S380 omits 3D capability, but adds Gracenote support, and the basic BDP-S280 2D Blu-ray model is Wi-Fi ready and ships in February.

Toshiba will introduce three models, including the BDX5200, BDX4200 and BDX2200.

The BDX5200 supports 3D playback, has built-in Wi-Fi, Yahoo! Widgets support, and access to a host of streaming content service providers, including Netflix.

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