Sony’s latest PS3 Slim proudly announces that it “Does everything.” However, Sony’s standalone Blu-Ray players, with their lack of support for streaming media services, such as those provided by LG and Samsung Blu-Ray players, have never quite come close to claiming anything of the sort.
It turns out Sony’s about to change all that, if the Sony BDP-N460, announced by the company on Wednesday at CEDIA 2009, is an indication of the future of Sony’s line of standalone Blu-Ray players. Besides playing Blu-Ray video, the BDP-N460 also accesses Sony’s own Bravia Video internet platform, which includes YouTube and Slacker by default, and after a firmware update scheduled for this fall, Netflix as well. The added cross-service search feature is just the icing on the streaming media cake, since it allows you to find content faster.
The BDP-N460 retains the Profile-2.0 heritage of its line, with compatibility that enables use of streaming Internet powered BD-Live features, though you might need to add the storage required for it, via the USB port. For those familiar with the step-up BDP-S560, the N460 has no built-in Wi-Fi, though company sources claim that the BDP-N460’s design works with the Linksys WET610N Wi-Fi bridge, which must be purchased separately. Finally, the BDP-N460’s onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD, as well as for DTS-HD Master Audio, rounds off an impressive set of features.
Expect the BDP-N460 to hit stores in October, priced at around $250, just marginally more than the street prices of contemporaries from Samsung, LG and Panasonic. However, with the PS3 Slim retailing for just under $300, not just Sony’s models, but entry-level Blu-Ray players across all brands will find themselves needing to slash prices to stay in the hunt, and to be viable as products in a world of cheaper gaming consoles.