The battle of the Blu-ray giants is set to kick in with Sony today rolling out a high end $1,300 dollar 24 frames per second Blu-ray player which will go head to head with the recently announced Pioneer player. However Sony has refused to put a price on a second Blu-ray player that they announced.
Instead Sony is set to wait to see what their competitors will do in the bottom end of the market. However Sony MD Carl Rose did tell SHN that he is prepared to go “low on price” if needed to grab market share. That low price could well be sub $499 Rose admits.
“He said “Sony executives are in Australia at the moment. They have visited several retailers and they are impressed by the high level of HD marketing at a retail level. Currently we are negotiating a price with them for our entry level model which will be highly competitive in the market. We are well are that several vendors are looking at low cost players and we will be there with an excellent Blu Ray player at a key price point”.
Key to the success of Blu Ray claims Rose is the imminent role out of several Blu Ray movies including Pirates of the Caribbean 1 & 2, Cars from Disney, Ghost Rider and at least 20 other titles. On a global base Sony are confident that they can keep up production of components for their Blu-ray players including the player found in the Sony Playstation PS3.
Talking at the Australian launch Akika Shimazu, the Senior General Manager of Sony’s Video Division responsible for the Blu Ray Player said “Currently we are producing a million Blu-ray diodes and key components a month however we anticipate that this will be ramped over the next few months as demand grows and prices fall. Production is being governed by demand however we are in a position to increase quite quickly”
He also said that the launch of the PS3 had seen sales of Blu-ray content rocket to 70,000 movies a week and that Sony were now selling 10 million a month globally.
Launching in June, the high end Sony BDP-S1E, Rose claims is one of Sony’s most powerful and intelligent consumer equipment players ever developed which he claims will set new standards in HD audio-visual movie playback. He also said that HD LCD TV now had 57% of the Australian TV market and that the Sony Bravia brand was clearly #1 in the LCD TV market.
It is anticipated that the bottom end BDP-S300 player will be launched in September at sub $500.
“Australia’s interest in and desire for high definition content is set to grow exponentially in the coming months, and we see our new Blu-ray players as a key to this growth,” said Noriyasu Yamada, Marketing Manager, Visual Displays for Sony Australia.
“We have closely monitored comparable markets around the world to determine when the time would be right to bring our Blu-ray players to market and we feel that Australians are now ready for Blu Ray players. The increase in HD broadcast content available, the take-up of the PS3 and the release of new Blu-ray titles demonstrate Australia’s readiness to adopt this emerging format.”
The introduction of the BDP-S1E comes at a time when Sony Australia’s latest HD Benchmark (See separate story) puts Blu-ray well ahead of the HD DVD format. Of the nearly 6,000 HD movies sold in Australia in Q1 2007, 90.8% were in the Blu-ray format. The report also reveals that for the third quarter running, total HD category sales are higher than non-HD models, representing over two-thirds of total spending, with a year-on-year increase in HD sales of over 80%.