Culver City (CA) – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) today confirmed its 20 June availability date for the first wave of Blu-ray titles. The company remained quiet on the launch date of its first living room Blu-ray player – with the firm’s website indicating that the device will arrive around 15 August.
While the HD DVD camp has been rolling out HD DVD titles since 18 April at a steady rate, Sony is turning into the finish line to launch its first series next week. On 20, June, SPHE will bring seven titles, including 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, XXX, The Terminator and Underworld Evolution, to retail stores. On the same date, Warner Home Video (WHV) will two new titles – Syriana, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – and another one on 27 June – Lethal Weapon – to bring the HD DVD portfolio to a total of 25 different movies.
Sony misses the original launch date of the first Blu-ray titles by about a month. While the actual availability of the first movies is good news, the bad news is that there is no information available when the first living room Blu-ray players will be available to playback those movies.
Sony mentioned back in February that Samsung would have its BD-P1000 player available at Blu-ray launch, which was originally scheduled for 23 May, but Samsung has been quiet on an updated launch date or possible delays. Pioneer, which was said to have a Blu-ray player available shortly after 23 May, recently indicated that its player would be delayed because of lack of progress in Blu-ray Disc technology development. And Sony itself currently states on its website that its BDP-S1 player will be available “on or about 15 August.”
We were not able to reach Sony, Pioneer and Samsung representatives for comment.
Retailer websites appear to be a bit more optimistic on the availability of the players; for example, Best Buy’s website tells customers that the Samsung BD-P1000 will; arrive in the week of 26 June, while the Sony player is expected in the week of 10 August. Both players will carry a price tag of $1000.
Another option to play Blu-ray movies is Sony’s Vaio VGN-AR190G notebook, which – according to Sony’s website – will be shipping tomorrow. The $3500 system comes with a 2 GHz Core Duo processor, a 17″ WUXGA widescreen display, 1 GB of memory and a 200 GB SATA hard drive.