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Sony Delays Blu-ray Player


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Retired Tech

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As members of the AV Science Forum were the first to discover yesterday, Sony has once again pushed back its estimate of availability for its first wave of Blu-ray Disc player consoles, the BDP-S1.

According to the company's SonyStyle Web site, US customers should expect to see the player on December 4, with MSRP remaining set at $999.95 USD. The BDP-S1 had been slated for release next week.

As one member of the Forum put it, "Who here really believes that this is finally the real ship date?"

This latest delay is critical, particularly because many studios have BD-based movies already shrink-wrapped and ready to ship, although they've been basing their availability schedule on Sony's timetable. With this delay, the PlayStation 3 -- still scheduled for limited release in North America and Japan next month -- regains its position as the premiere vehicle for Sony-branded Blu-ray players.

The spotlight on PS3 as a Blu-ray player has dimmed a little, however, in the wake of competition which ended up beating Sony to market. While Pioneer's Elite line of BD players has been delayed until after the holiday season altogether (January at the earliest), Samsung's BDP-1000 and Panasonic's DMP-BD10 are now the only Blu-ray players at least relatively widely available in North America. Meanwhile, HD DVD players from Toshiba and others are reportedly already preparing for their second generation.

Besides being Blu-ray's principal architect, supporter and champion, Sony is one of the main suppliers of blue-laser diodes to BD component manufacturers, itself included. Problems with diode production are being blamed for shortages in already released Blu-ray components in Europe, as well as the delay of PS3's release there.

Yet although the blue laser diode used in Blu-ray is essentially the same, if not identical, to that used in HD DVD, since Sony may not be a major supplier of diodes to HD DVD manufacturers, they are apparently less impacted by these shortages. Still, HD DVD suppliers aren't immune to shortages, as evidenced as far back as last August, when component manufacturers throughout Asia stated they may be willing to "freeze competition" between HD DVD and Blu-ray until shortage issues could be ironed out.
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