While the fact that the majority of dedicated Blu-ray players have reached an affordable price point, there's also a battle going on for AV enthusiasts who wear monocles, smoke expensive Cuban cigars which they light with $100 notes and laugh loudly in the face of the so-called financial crisis.
Sony's the latest company to target this ludicrous market with its BDP-S5000, which at $2,299 places it up near the Pioneer Blu-ray option price-wise. Fortunately, it's fully BD Profile 2.0 compliant, meaning you can watch BD-Live content without a hassle (although the flash memory module is in the form of a USB thumb drive). It'll also decode the HD audio codecs that are getting a bit of a push on Blu-ray recently.
I wouldn't expect too big a market for this with the economy down the crapper the way it is at the moment, but if you're the type of person who wouldn't look out of place on a Monopoly board, it might be worth checking out.
Sony delivers the ultimate A/V experience with new ES Blu-ray Disc Player BD-Live enabled model features new technologies for unsurpassed picture quality
Sydney - 19 November, 2008 - Sony Australia today announced the new BDP-S5000ES high-end Blu-ray Disc player, featuring newly developed HD Reality Enhancer and Super Bit Mapping technologies that deliver even sharper and more vibrant images from today's Blu-ray Disc movies.
The model, which is fully BD-Live capable, features an Ethernet connection that allows users to connect to the Internet via their existing service provider to access BD-Live features and easy firmware updates. It is also equipped with an external flash memory port and includes a 1GB Sony Micro Vault™ Tiny flash storage device.
The BDP-S5000ES also features Quick Start Mode, improving boot-up times to approximately six seconds, which is seven times faster than previous models.
"Sony's Elevated Standard, or 'ES' products stand for the very best Sony has to offer and the BDP-S5000ES is no exception," said Andrew Smith, Product Manager for Home Video at Sony Australia. "Featuring the incredible build quality found on all Sony ES products, the S5000ES goes above and beyond traditional Blu-ray Disc players to deliver the ultimate home theatre experience."
Unique to the model is Sony's new 14-bit HD video processor, which improves both standard and high definition picture quality with the help of HD Reality Enhancer and Super Bit Mapping technologies. HD Reality Enhancer continually analyses bit by bit of the original source, sharpening edges and reproducing detail, while reducing the effects of film grain. Super Bit Mapping delivers smoother colour gradation, realising true 14-bit equivalent colour tone from 8-bit sources connected via HDMI.
Holding true to Sony's ES standard, the BDP-S5000ES was designed to match pristine video performance with exceptional audio. The model's analogue audio circuit board is isolated from the video board to avoid interference. Additionally, the unit's rigid frame and beam chassis helps to reduce vibration and a low-leakage R-core transformer minimises the interference of digital noise.
Since many consumers own extensive DVD movie libraries, the BDP-S5000ES incorporates Sony's new Precision Cinema HD Upscale technology that converts standard definition signals (480i) to 1080p and outputs a full HD equivalent resolution signal to 1080p TVs via HDMI. The model even improves analogue component video output thanks to 14-bit/297MHz video D/A conversion.
Additionally, the model adds Sony's new Precision Drive™ HD, which helps to detect and correct wobbling discs from three directions, stabilising playback of bent or scratched Blu-ray Discs and DVDs.
The model offers 7.1 channel Dolby® TrueHD, Dolby® Digital Plus, DTS® Digital Plus, DTS®-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio decoding and bit-stream output, as well as analogue 7.1 channel output with Advanced Current Segment Audio D/A converters for legacy A/V receivers and decoders.
The BDP-S5000ES supports Deep Colour video output and AVCHD discs encoded with x.v.Colour™ (xvYCC) technology. The player also features compatibility with an array of video formats, including BD-R/RE (BDMV and BDAV modes), DVD+R/-RW, CD, CD-R/RW (CD-DA format), and JPEG on BD/DVD/CD recordable media.
The player also incorporates Sony's XrossMediaBar (XMB™) inspired graphic user interface for easy menu navigation, Sony's BRAVIA Sync™ that connects selected Sony home theatre and television products for easy operation and a backlit remote control. For custom installation, the model also features RS-232C and IR input.