June 12, 2006 12:54 PM PDT

Sony's Blu-ray notebook arriving next week

Sony will release a notebook next week with a built-in Blu-ray Disc drive for playing movies and recording video in high definition.

The Sony Vaio AR Premium will cost $3,500. Along with a Blu-ray drive, the notebook will come with an Intel Core Duo processor, 1GB of memory, a 17-inch screen and a complimentary copy of the movie "House of Flying Daggers" in the Blu-ray format. Sony is taking preorders for the computer on its site.

Sony's Blu-ray Vaio

Meanwhile, Vaio AR notebooks with a DVD burner instead of a Blu-ray player will start at $1,800.

The launch of the Blu-ray-enabled notebook will mark Sony's commercial push into the high-definition disc wars. By the end of June, the company will also release the RC300 desktop, a multimedia PC that will come with a Blu-ray drive.

Meanwhile, Sony will begin to take preorders for its BDP-S1 Blu-ray player on Aug. 15, said a Sony representative. The unit will officially come out when Sony releases a new line of Bravia flat-screen TVs and Grand Wega projection TVs around late August and early September.

Previously, the BDP-S1 was due to come out in July.

The Japanese electronics giant, which is in the middle of a fashioning a comeback, will also put a Blu-ray player in the PlayStation 3 game console, which will start at $499 but won't come out until later in the year. The PlayStation 3 price is also subsidized in part by Sony, which hopes to make up the difference in game sales.

Sony, Philips, Samsung and others are promoting Blu-ray as the format for replacing DVDs for playing, storing and recording movies. While Blu-ray discs hold more than discs based on the rival HD DVD standard, Blu-ray equipment costs more than HD DVD equipment.

Toshiba has already released an HD DVD player that sells for just under $500. Still, analysts say the prices on players and drives based on both standards will drop over time.

So far, consumers have expressed wariness about buying players based on either standard out of fear of being stuck with the one that gets abandoned. Although it's technically possible to make a single player that can play Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, the licensing and legal restrictions make it difficult for companies to come out with dual players.

South Korea's LG Electronics has said it will come out with a player that can handle both kinds of discs, but most companies are for the moment sticking with one format or another. (Royalties matter here. Sony, Philips and some of the others that contributed intellectual property to the Blu-ray standard stand to earn millions in licensing fees and the same is true for the HD DVD camp.)

To get around the problem, some PC makers will sell computers with either kind of drive.

The Blu-ray drive in AR Premium records is high definition, but it records video from camcorders. Sony, like other Blu-ray manufacturers, is working to prevent these machines from becoming vehicles for piracy.

See more CNET content tagged:
Blu-ray, Blu-ray drive, HD-DVD, Sony Corp., notebook computer

5 comments

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BluRay the tenative winner
The rate of change for BluRay hype is now increasing faster than hype for HD-DVD.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry=blu_ray_vs_hd_dvd" target="_newWindow">http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry=blu_ray_vs_hd_dvd</a>

I tenatively declare Blu-Ray the winnah!
Posted by Broward Horne (88 comments )
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Region coding would have pushed for HD-DVD
I think that HD-DVD would have won just because it did not have region codes. Now that HD has sold out, I think blue ray will win .
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
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Spoken like a tru-blu fanboy!
Without any players or media on the market, you're declaring a
winner in a battle that will stay on the sidelines for years to come.
No one, that matters, cares about HD. DVD sales will dominate for
another 10 years. The winner will be decided by content and not
technology and at this point, there's no way to intelligently discuss
who will "win" this format war. Silly fanboy gibberish...
Posted by luvmysubaru (16 comments )
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Oh well
Oh well, given SONY's, absolute worship of the DRM demigod at all levels!, it probably comes complete with a phone home rootkit anyway!(might make a useable Linux Machine with the right library of drivers?, well it would eliminate the basic M$ windows rootkit achilles heel!)

The history of sales of both the LP, Audio CD, and the original Toshiba DVD format players, tell us once the price of this technology drops below a critical $300 mark, then and only then, will the plain vanilla Joe C Consumer, buy into new media technology, but until then it remains only a rich man's play toy!

The initial extremely large buy in cost, for full High Definition resolution equipment, will remain it's achilles heel for a long time to come, for it will require a very expensive upgrade path on a product that has an easy access DRM lock down key built in as standard fitment!

Think of the fun and games, when virus writers discover how weak the players defensive mechanism can be, an tailor the next gen killer virii, to shut down these devices, when they phone home?

Until then, which came first the chicken or the egg?

Ultimately , the success or fail of any new media technology, is all about affordability and convenience at the consumer end! Sadly, unnecessary and stupid DRM roadblocks, which the media companies favor, to force the consumer to repurchase that which they already own!, may prove very fatal, in both the short and long term!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't worry about the digital "road blocks".
It won't take long for Blu-ray HD DVD copy software to be developed to bypass the "locks" put on Blu-ray recorded movies. They did it with DVD's (www.cloneDVD.net, for the best one) and with Blu-ray, it's only a matter of time until you can back-up your Blu-ray library to your hearts content.
Posted by EMCRNV (3 comments )
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