Panasonic and LG release new Blu-ray players for under $500

Blu-ray price war heats up.

Panasonic and LG have announced new Blu-ray players for the Australian market priced at under $500. The new models feature the latest Blu-ray technology and features, including BD-Live and Dolby True HD audio. The LG BD300 will be available in late October for a recommended retail price of $499. The Panasonic DMP-BD35 will be available in mid-November, with an RRP of $495. The new models mark a turning point in the affordability of Blu-ray technology.

The LG BD300 and Panasonic DMP-BD35 both feature support for BD Live (BD-ROM Profile 2.0), which enables users to connect to the Internet and download additional movie content, quizzes and games. Both models also come equipped with Dolby TrueHD, which supports 7.1-channel surround sound.

Panasonic is touting the DMP-BD35's compact size and connectivity options as major selling points. Panasonic's Sophie Barton said: “With quick start-up time, an easy-to-use menu... plus connectivity with your digital camera and camcorder via an SD Card slot — the BD35 is a convenient, stylish model for the Australian loungeroom.” The DMP-BD35 stands just 44mm high. According to Panasonic, this is due to its advanced micro-processing, which has enabled a signal processing circuit to fit onto a single LSI chip.

The LG BD300, meanwhile, offers faster loading times than its competitors and a USB port for expanded memory options. Purchasers of the LG BD300 will also receive a BigPond DVD rentals offer. LG Electronics' Warren Kim said that "the bonus BigPond DVD rentals promotion... offers consumers four months' worth of DVD rentals when they purchase a BD300. Owners can kick start their Blu-ray viewing by choosing from 32,000 DVD titles including over 300 Blu-ray titles."

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