Budget Blu-ray player due in summer from Sony

The BDP-S1 is to be replaced by a better, cheaper model in the US this summer

If you've tired of the over-hyped battle between the next-generation video disc formats and have decided to join the Blu-ray camp, you might want to wait a few months for Sony's new budget model to hit the shelves.

The Tokyo electronics giant made the unexpected move on Monday of revealing that the BDP-S300 Blu-ray player would go on sale in the US sometime this summer for $600 (£305) with more features than the $999 (£509) BDP-S1 that it is certain to kill stone dead immediately.

Both players output HD TV at the highest 1080p quality, but the cheaper model adds several new features including support for the AVCHD high-definition format in new camcorders, CD playback and Bravia Theater Sync for controlling entire Sony A/V setups via HDMI. Moreover, the S300 will be less of a brick than its elder sibling.

Alternatives abound

On the other side of the fence, the cheapest HD DVD player is the Toshiba HD-A2 ($499, £254), although it doesn't scale the 1080p heights the same maker's $999 (£509) HD-XA2 machine can. However, Toshiba is due to release the HD-A20 within the next few weeks and that can output 1080p video just like the S300.

With so many options, and let's not forget the 1080p-capable PlayStation 3, only one thing is certain for UK-based consumers - you'll be paying considerably more than shoppers in the likes of Japan or the US until HD TV machines reach the rock-bottom price of current DVD players.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.