updated 09:30 am EST, Tue February 26, 2008
Sony S350 and S550 Blu-ray
Sony on Tuesday capped its success over HD DVD by releasing two S-series Blu-ray players. The basic BDP-S350 and its S550 counterpart are both Sony's first players to support the Internet features made possible with Blu-ray's Final Standard Profile 2.0 and come with Ethernet jacks both for online-only features as well as downloading upgrades as they become active. They also support the picture-in-picture features from Profile 1.1, according to Sony. Either model is also slimmer than before while still finding room for a USB port for storage; the S550 adds a 1GB flash drive for browsing media and transferring updates out of the box.
The two models are fully capable of driving the latest HD movies and can handle 1080p video both at a full 60 frames per second along with a native 24-frame rate for some movies. HDMI's newer Deep Color spec and 7.1-channel audio through Dolby TrueHD are also supported; the S550 also adds DTS-HD Master Audio surround as well as 7.1 analog when supported by some movies. Despite the February announcement, the S350 is not due until summer, when it will sell for $400. The S550 is due in fall for $500.