Earlier today we reported the major details on Sony's new Blu-ray player ($600, comes out this summer), and now we've received the full press release for the BDP-S300 which will be announced tomorrow at Sony's line show. As we mentioned before, the BDP-S300 is similar to the BDP-S1, including features such as support for DVD upconversion up to 1080p and 24 frames per second output on Blu-ray discs. There are also a few new features, such as support for standard audio CDs (a major omission on the BDP-S1) and Bravia Theater Sync, which enables the BDP-S300 to control and be controlled by compatible Sony devices over HDMI.
The press release also mentions support for xvYCC (which Sony has rebranded as x.v.Color), which is a new color space that delivers a wider gamut of colors. That's great, but to fully take advantage of this feature, your TV and receiver will both have to be xvYCC-compliant and you'll need to have Blu-ray discs that take advantage of xvYCC color. Support for the xvYCC color space also seems to imply that the BDPS300 will have HDMI 1.3, but Sony did not specify that the BDP-S300 will have HDMI 1.3. As of press time, we have not been able to confirm what HDMI version the BDP-S300 will have.
Additionally, the BDP-S300 will have the ability to decode Dolby Digital Plus, which is one of the next-generation high-resolution soundtrack formats available on Blu-ray. The ability to decode Dolby Digital Plus in the player--rather than sending it in encoded bitstream format--is nice because there are currently no receivers that can decode Dolby Digital Plus. However, the BDP-S300 will not be able to decode the higher resolution Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-Master formats.
So do these upgrades make the BDP-S300 worth the $100 premium over the 20GB Sony PlayStation 3? Maybe for some people. We definitely appreciate what appears to be a much slimmer design, and we know there are plenty of people that are just turned off to the idea of using a game console in their home theater. Also, the BDP-S300, as with all standard-format Blu-ray players, should also work with a standard infrared universal remote, which the PS3 won't. Still, the $600 price tag is less impressive when you consider that we've seen both the Philips BDP9000 and the Samsung BD-P1000 available for $600 online--and you can buy them now.