By Patrick Avenell

Sony has today announced the release of a new high end Blu-ray disc player. This comes in direct contrast to the intense price discounting going on at the low end of the market.

As reported in, Blu-ray players have experienced a dramatic slide in pricing over the last two months, with the once premium entertainment product slipping past significant price points at alarming speeds. Back at Sony’s product showcase Uchi, the release of sub-$500 players was heralded as a breakthrough. By last week, consumers could pick up a no-name Blu-ray player from JB Hi-Fi for only $299.

The new Sony model, the BDP-S5000ES, is RRP $2,299 – a full $2,000 more that the heretofore cheapest model on the market. Naturally, this is a better player, with features including BD-Live, DVD upscaling, 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD, Bravia-sync, 14-bit HD video processing, Ethernet connection and a one gigabyte Sony Micro Vault flash memory device for use in the player’s USB port.

Sony product manager for home video, Andrew Smith, talked up the necessity of having a full range of products in order to maintain the brand’s place in the market.

“Sony has a strong Blu-ray product line-up, including two new models introduced in September, which has enabled us to achieve this leading position in the Australian Blu-ray market. We are confident that the introduction of this high-end unit will continue to strengthen our number one position,” said Smith. “By offering a suite of products that enable floor staff to increase attachment sales, Sony is providing real value to retailers.”

Whether salespeople can upsell Joe Sixpack into buying a $2,000-plus Blu-ray player after setting aside $500 is to be seen. Blu-ray has always been a mysterious animal in the world of consumer electronics: despite winning a war, people still don’t know what it does. The solution to the slow uptake was originally thought to be price, but with this move to the high end by Sony, the industry might finally see the real solution, that is, education, become clear.