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Sony Delays Blu-Ray Disc Player Again

In news coming out of Japan this week, Sony has apparently delayed again the release of its stand-alone BDP-S1 Blu-ray Disc player to December or possibly not till 2007. The player was scheduled to due to arrive on retailers shelves this week. Originally, the BDP-S1 was due out in July, but was postponed until August, then to October 25. Apparently, the delay seems to have been a strategic decision that is based on availability of blue laser diode supplies rather than any trouble with the player -- unlike the problems that Samsung has recently encountered. As early as a year ago, it was speculated by several journalists and industry insiders that Sony would have problems delivering both PS3 and a stand-alone Blu-ray Disc player. Not surprisingly, the Blu-ray diode used in the BDP-S1 is the same one used in Sony's PlayStation 3 game console, which is set for release on November 17. According to experts and analysts in Consumer Electronics, there simply doesn't seem to be enough parts to go around.

Certainly, in the hierarchy of products in the extensive Sony line-up of products, the PlayStation 3 ranks much higher than the BDP-S1 in terms of expected sales. It clearly appears that Sony is reserving its Blu-ray diode supply for PlayStation 3 at the expense of movie buffs, early adopters, and those who want movies in high-definition resolution of 1080p. According to the recent announcements by Sony, it now plans to have only 400,000 PlayStation 3 consoles ready for sale in North America alone on the release date, which is less than half of its original sales projections. While the company hopes to be able to ship over one million units by the end of the holiday season, it seems unlikely at this point. Of course, on the other hand, the gaming industry feels that 400,000 consoles will not be nearly enough to satisfy demand.

The delay of the Sony BDP-S1 will clearly affect Blu-ray movie sales this holiday season. While companies like Panasonic, Pioneer and Philips are still expected to also have players out sometime this Fall, Sony's delay will have a ripple effect across the board. The impact of the delay is well beyond Sony to electronic stores and movie retailers and to Hollywood studios that hoped for big sales of Blu-ray DVD titles. And, let's not forgot the benefit that this might hold for Toshiba and the HD DVD camp.

While Sony isn't the only manufacturer of Blu-ray players, it is one of the main proponents of the technology. According to industry journal Video Business, "Retailers were already expecting a shortage of Blu-ray and HD DVD players this shopping season, and at least one studio, Warner Home Video, had recently cut its sales projection in half for high-def movies." The delay of the Sony BDP-S1 will only make situation worse.

Source: EETimes

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