One of the big reasons people cite the PS3 as a worthy buy is its integrated Blu-ray player. Now, it seems, that argument will start to wane as Panasonic has introduced a $600 standalone player, coupling with it five free movies as an incentive to buy. Supporting 1080p output, 7.1, Dobly True HD and DTS-HD onboard, the “DMP-BD10A” is priced considerably lower than other standalone Blu-ray units, and is probably the start of many vendors offering it below that price point. It has a host of other features, though none that really make it stand out among other players. However, at that price and with five movies to boot it will probably be a lot more tempting than before. No word on specific availability.
Could the Blu-ray camp be worried about HD? Throwing it five titles and pushing the price down to that point seems a bit rushed. You could hardly blame them, though with HD-DVD players approaching half that cost. Although, all things being equal, a combination player will probably come out on top.