Japanese manufacturer Funai Electric Co. has announced at CES their intention to release their first Blu-ray Disc Player, the NB500, in the United States sometime in the second quarter of this year.
Funai, associated with Sylvania, Emerson and Magnavox, is known as a discount manufacturer. Our hope is this announcement spurs additional discount manufacturers, like Oppo, to enter the high definition home video market later this year.
The NB500 is expected to include now mandatory Profile 1.1, along with HDMI 1.3a output, DeepColor, CEC, a vague “high-bit-rate audio stream out” declaration (we’re assuming all the major formats will be supported, but not decode), CEC, and SD card video output.
Exact pricing for the NB500 was not issued at press time, other than a blanket “less than $300” statement. Based on recent price trends, including Samsung dropping the BD-P1400, Funai would be wise to come in lower than $299.