Sub-$600 Blu-ray Player Coming from Sony

In an effort to continue its momentum in next-generation DVDs, Sony said Monday that it would launch a lower-cost version of its Blu-ray player over the summer for $599 USD.

However, even at the new price the player would still be more expensive than Toshiba's HD DVD player, currently priced at $499 USD. Regardless, it does show willingness on Sony's part to cut into profits in order to accelerate adoption of the Blu-ray format.

The BDP-S300 appears to be a replacement to the $999 USD BDP-S1 that Sony currently sells, as it has the same functionality. But it will come in a much smaller size and have the capability to play CDs, which the initial model did not.

Even though Blu-ray has recently begun to outsell HD DVD -- mainly due to the release of the PlayStation 3 -- overall sales of next generation discs have been slow. Analysts say consumers are leery of buying into either format because there still is no clear upgrade path.

Sales of the PlayStation 3 have definitely played a big part in catapulting Blu-ray into the lead, with Sony claiming four out of every five who purchase the console also purchase movies as well.

Prices are expected to come down even further, Sony said. By Christmas 2007, it is expected that there would be Blu-ray players under $500. However, at the same time, HD DVD could be selling players much cheaper than that.

HD DVD has not announced any plans for a price drop, although Microsoft sells an HD DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360 at $199 USD.

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