New York (NY) - Pioneer has announced two new Blu-ray players supporting BD-Live (now called Bonus View) and the HDMI 1.3a spec and promising a "true theater experience". Expect to pay at least a 50% premium for these BD-Live players over Blu-ray players without this feature.
Pioneer is among the first companies out of the gate announcing a new generation of Blu-ray players that are widely expected to push prices for current Blu-ray players well below the $400 mark. The company’s new players, scheduled for a summer availability, are marketed under the firm’s "Elite" brand and will come in two versions - the BDP-05FD and BDP-51FD.
Pioneer said that it will be offering the BDP-05FD and BDP-51FD players for $799 and $599, respectively. Both players deliver the same feature set, with the only significant spec difference between the two players being that the BDP-05FD a 297 MHz video encoder, while the BDP-51FD relies on a 108 MHz device. Additionally, the $200 premium buys gold-plated connection ports, capacitance touch key buttons and an aluminum front panel as well as enhanced CD playback through Pioneer’s proprietary "Precision Quartz Lock System" (PQLS).
The core video playback capability, however is the same in both devices. The new players support the HDMI 1.3a spec, which was released in November 2006 and offers a greater signal bandwidth (340 MHz), greater TMDS bandwidth (10.2 Gb/s), greater video bandwidth (8.16 Gb/s), greater maximum picture resolution (1920x1600px60fps) as well as greater color depth (48 bits per pixel) over HDMI specs 1.2 and below.
However, Pioneer does not exploit the new spec, as picture output resolution remains at 1080p at 24 fps. Pioneer said it has added a few proprietary features, such as the the "PureCinema" Deinterlacer, which promises to eliminate "lines that can negatively affect the viewing experience". DVDs can be scaled to a 1080p resolution. The new players support all current advanced audio formats: Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD and DTS HD Master.
Also included with these new players is the BonusView feature, previously called BD-Live, which describes picture-in-picture capability as well as an integrated Ethernet port that can be used to download firmware updates and web-based content to the players.