According to Gamespot, Sony has announced a May 23, 2006 release date for its first Blu-Ray Disc content. Accompanying the launch of content is the debut of the first Blu-Ray Disc player, the Samsung BD-P1000. This player will reportedly retail for $999.|
Once the sunk cost of a grand is accepted, consumers can expect Blu-Ray movies to go for between $29.99 and $39.99 according to Lionsgate Studios. Lord of War and Crash will mark the high end at $39.99. The Punisher, Saw and Terminator 2: Judgment Day will bring up the rear at $29.99 apiece. Gamespot reports that Lionsgate will release The Devil's Rejects for $39.99, and Total Recall, Reservoir Dogs, and Frank Herbert's Dune for $29.99, as part of a second wave.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and MGM Studios will also be releasing films on launch day, but prices were not specified. The films include 50 First Dates, Hitch, The Fifth Element, House of Flying Daggers, A Knight's Tale, The Last Waltz, Resident Evil Apocalypse and xXx. To follow on June 13th are Kung Fu Hustle, Legends of the Fall, The Terminator, Robocop, Stealth, Species, and SWAT.
It seems that the first wave of Blu-Ray movies, then, will have something for both those who like good movies and those who like absolutely terrible movies. It remains to be seen how enthusiastic consumers will be when they find out that 50 First Dates can be seen in high definition.
These movies will be played by the BD-P1000, and other Blu-Ray Disc players, at 720p and 1080i resolutions - in other words, true HDTV resolutions. No word yet on whether or not any Blu-Ray content is expected to play at 1080p, which is the maximum resolution that Sony has claimed for the Playstation 3 - a console which will ship with Blu-Ray Disc capabilities built in.
The extremely expensive cost of the Blu-Ray Disc player will likely come down quickly as manufacturing processes become more efficient. It is probable, and would make sense, for Sony to wait until the fall season (as is rumored) to release the PS3 in any region in order to manufacture the machine at the cheapest price possible. Regardless, the PS3 will likely cost less than or the equivalent of a standalone Blu-Ray Disc player, making the game console seem - appropriately so - like a much better all-around value.
As games are to ship using Blu-Ray Discs as well, we speculate that there could be a possible price increase for those as well - at first. Though not quoted anywhere or even rumored, it may logically make sense considering the new technology needed to press a Blu-Ray Disc. On the other hand, as the Playstation 2 used plain CD-ROMs for its first games, so might the PS3 use regular DVD-ROMs for its first releases. By the time the 50GB storage potential of Blu-Ray is reached for videogame storage, prices will have hopefully leveled off reasonably.
You can take a peek at Sony's press release on its Blu-Ray website, which also hosts detailed technical information of Blu-Ray and compares it to its closest competitor, the HD-DVD format.
Source: Gamespot and Sony Pictures