Despite reports of its… wounding, Blu-ray is alive and well — at least in the product lines of three major manufacturers. Pioneer, Sharp and Sony all announced new players this week. Although the new machines all boast similar specs (1080p resolution, output of 24 frames for film-based media, really shiny finish), the feature that piqued our interest the most is Sharp's promise that its BD-HP20U will load Blu-ray discs in 10 seconds flat.
As anyone who's tried out a Blu-ray player knows, one of the most annoying things about the format is that it can take up to a minute to cue up a disc, so this Sharp player could be a breath of fresh air in that department. So you can keep your HDMI 1.3a connectors and x.v.Color, Sony BDP-S2000ES and Pioneer BDP-95FD — Sharp understands that time is money. Speaking of money, Sharp's new toy costs just $550, while the higher-end Sony and Pioneer are $1,300 and $1,000, respectively. They should all be out by October.