updated 10:25 pm EST, Mon March 2, 2009
Sony S360 and S560 Blu-ray
As part of a round of updates, Sony this evening updated its Blu-ray lineup with two players and two home theaters, half of which focus on wireless as the central feature. The BDP-S560 movie reader is one of the first Blu-ray devices with 802.11n Wi-Fi that lets it access BD-Live special features, player upgrades or DLNA-supporting media sources on the local network without either requiring an Ethernet cable or sacrificing relative speed. It and the lower-end BDP-S360 nonetheless have Ethernet connections for a physical link.
Either player supports x.v.Color (deep color) Blu-ray video with a supporting TV, 7.1-channel surround over Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio (including bitstream), and upscaling of standard-definition footage. Both also have USB ports, with the S560 getting a front port. Sony ships the two sometime during the summer at prices of $300 for the S360 and $350 for the S560; a complementing HT-SS360 home theater system with 5.1-channel audio and 1080p support ships ahead of these in May for $350.
Two home theater bundles with Blu-ray built-in will accompany the stand-alone players. The BDV-E500W draws on Sony's in-house S-AIR audio standard to pipe basic surround sound to as many as 10 matching receivers within the format's 164-foot range; the BDV-E300 goes without but can take an adapter to get the same features. On wired connections, either supports the same 7.1-channel output as the S360/S560 and also get a proprietary Digital Media Port to add peripherals like iPod or Walkman docks as well as Bluetooth to stream audio from phones. Both theater systems come pre-packaged with 5.1-channel speaker arrays and will ship in June; the E300 starts off at $600 where the E500W's wireless lifts the price to $800.