Sony Corp.'s first Blu-ray disc player that can download bonus materials like trailers and games from the Internet will debut this summer, the company announced Tuesday.
It will be the first new player from Sony, the inventor of Blu-ray, since the format beat out the other technology that vied to become the high-definition replacement for the DVD.
Toshiba Corp. announced last week that it would stop making players for the HD DVD, the disc it invented, mainly because Warner Bros. Entertainment said it would drop the format to focus on Blu-ray discs.
The BDP-S350 player Sony plans to introduce this summer for "about $400" will be the company's first to feature an Ethernet port, allowing it to connect to a home broadband connection. However, it won't be able to access Internet content when it ships — a software upgrade will be available later to enable that feature, known as BD-Live.
A second player, the BDP-S550, will be available this fall for "about $500" and will be BD-Live-capable when it ships.
Both players can show picture-in-picture content and will be the first Sony Blu-ray players to do so, apart from the PlayStation 3 game console, which gained this feature via software update last year.
The picture-in-picture feature, called Bonus View, can be used to show director or actor commentary in a small window while the movie plays.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the parent of the Panasonic brand, introduced a Bonus View player late last year and has announced it will ship a BD-Live player this spring.
In these respects, Blu-ray players are playing catch-up to HD DVD players, which have had Internet- and picture-in-picture capabilities since they first came out in 2006.