By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Sony Australia has published details of its first standalone Blu-ray disc player, the BDPS1E, in the April edition of its free Pulse magazine catalogue, suggesting a launch may not be too far away.

The BDPS1E is listed as a Blu-ray Disc/DVD player in the April 2007 edition of Pulse and is one of the few products featured in the twice-yearly catalogue printed without a recommended retail price.

The unit’s listed features include 1080p video output through HDMI connection, DVD upscaling to 1080p, uncompressed multi-channel Linear PCM audio, Dolby Digital Plus, Bravia Theatre Sync and highly tuned audio parts and rigid beam construction.

Pulse magazine also includes a brief summary of Blu-ray technology describing it as ‘the next-generation media format that delivers the ultimate high definition entertainment experience’.

Benefits of Blu-ray are listed as 25GB per layer data storage – equivalent of up to 77 CDs and six DVDs on a standard-size disc, and broad industry support with over 170 leading manufacturers and seven of the eight Hollywood studios backing the technology.

Sony is widely considered the chief proponent of Blu-ray high definition optical disc technology but has been slow to release a standalone Blu-ray player to the Australian market.

The company has instead focussed attention on its PlayStation 3 console, which was launched in March and has a built-in Blu-ray drive.

Samsung and Panasonic launched Blu-ray players in late 2006 and Pioneer joined the group yesterday with plans for its debut player, the BDP-LX70, to be released in June –