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Sony Ships Blu-ray Player

Sony said its much-anticipated BDP-S1 Blu-ray Disc (BD) player is now shipping to major consumer electronics retailers and specialty dealers nationwide.

The high-definition optical disc player, which hit a couple of delays on its road to market, is now available at a $999 suggested retail price. It is the company’s first dedicated BD playback device and also capable of playing standard DVDs.

In kicking off the player’s introduction, Sony arranged to have NFL stars Donnie Edwards, of the San Diego Chargers, and Peyton Manning, of the Indianapolis Colts, receive some of the first players from retail locations in their markets.

The unit compliments the company’s lineup of full 1,080p capable displays and source devices, including BRAVIA flat-panel LCD and Grand WEGA SXRD rear-projection televisions, to the new PlayStation 3 game console, BD-ready Vaio computers and PC drives.

“I’m thrilled that it’s here just in time for the holidays,” said Randy Waynick, Sony Electronics’ home products division marketing senior VP. “Combining a Sony 1,080p HDTV set and our new BD player with an HDMI-enabled A/V receiver and surround sound speakers provides the epitome of the high-definition lifestyle.”

Sony’s BDP-S1 model outputs 1,920 by 1,080p high-definition video over its digital HDMI/HDCP output. Other high-definition formats are also supported by the unit’s component video connections.

The player supports various high quality video codecs, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVC and VC1.

The model is compatible with standard DVDs with the added feature of 1,080p up-scaling through HDMI, giving new life and improving the picture performance of existing DVD libraries.

The BD player outputs its signal at 24 frames per second, to produce a more film-like image.

The BDP-S1 unit offers uncompressed multi-channel linear PCM digital audio output via HDMI. The player also has optical digital audio out and 5.1-channel decoding capability for backward compatibility with existing receivers.

The player supports BD-ROM, AVC-HD and DVD playback from DVD/DVD+R/+RW encoded discs, as well as MP3 audio files and JPEG images stored on DVD+R/+RW discs.

The company said it will offer firmware updates in 2007 to enable the BDP-S1 model to play back BD-R/RE recorded media and enhanced BD-Java functionality.