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HD Player with ‘BD-Live’ Hits North America

After starting out at retailers in Japan and other Asian regions, Sony’s newest next-gen Blu-ray Disc player is now available in North America, the manufacturer said.

The new standalone player (model BDP-S350) expands on the HD disc format’s potential (but not yet fully realized) enhancements by supporting picture-in-picture (BonusView) and BD-Live for tapping into Internet activity.

The new Blu-ray player holds nearly identical price points with Sony’s 80 GB PlayStation 3 game console (which comes with an internal Blu-ray drive). Sony said the BDP-S350 comes with an external port for local storage (for online BD-Live usage), and provides an option for additional Flash storage.

For the green- and space-conscious, the BDP-S350 unit is more than 55 percent smaller than its Sony predecessor, and uses about 40 percent less power in stand-by mode, Sony said.

Video imaging is 1080p at 60 fps with 7.1-channel Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus.