Experimental feature

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00
Experimental feature
or

Sony, the Japanese electronics and entertainment group, is to launch a cut-price Blu-ray DVD player within the next few months as part of its strategy to outflank the rival HD-DVD format and kick-start the high definition DVD upgrade cycle.

The move highlights the battle under way between Sony and the backers of the Blu-ray format and the rival HD-DVD led by the Toshiba camp to ensure that their technology becomes the standard for next generation high-definition DVD content. At stake is a potentially huge upgrade market for next generation high definition DVD movies suitable for playback on the HD flat-panel displays.

Sony’s move was cheered by investors, sending its shares up 2 per cent to Y6,520 on Tuesday.

The new Sony player, dubbed the BDP-S300, will cost $599, but will have the same features and performance as Sony’s current Blu-ray player, the BDP-S1 which costs $999. It will compete more directly with HD-DVD players costing about $499.

Until now, the cheapest way for most consumers to obtain a Blu-ray player has been to purchase a $499 PlayStation 3 video game console, but these lack some of the features and ease of use of a stand-alone high definition DVD player.

Sony, which was forced to delay the launch of the PlayStation 3 in Europe until next month because of problems ramping up production Blu-ray laser components, has said it sold 1.8m PlayStation 3 units last year.

“Eighty per cent of people who buy a PS3 also buy Blu-ray movies to go with it,” Randy Waynick, senior vice-president of the home products division of Sony Electronics, said Monday.

He cited retail data from Nielsen VideoScan that showed Blu-ray discs outselling HD-DVDs by three to one this year.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
myFT

Follow the topics mentioned in this article

Comments have not been enabled for this article.