Sony has announced the availability of five new 3D-capable Blu-ray players, the BDZ-AX2700T, BDZ-AT970T, BDZ-AT950W, BDZ-SKP75 and the BDZ-AT770T, for sale in its domestic Japanese market. According to Sony, the new players will boast support for various features such as the ability to record broadcasted programs into its internal hard disk, as well as voice recognition commands to make it easier for consumers to operate the new devices.

Gone are the days where Blu-ray players are nothing more than 'dumb terminals' whose only role in a home theatre setup is to provide basic playback support for a variety of Blu-ray titles. Today, a Blu-ray player is expected to function like an intelligent media player of sorts, and leave it to Sony to deliver such a solution by releasing five new 3D-ready Blu-ray players, the DZ-AX2700T, BDZ-AT970T, BDZ-AT950W, BDZ-SKP75 and the BDZ-AT770T that are reportedly capable of fulfilling such needs.

According to a machine translation of Sony's latest announcement, the new 3D-ready Blu-ray players are fitted with digital tuners which grant them the ability to record digital TV broadcasts at up to full high-definition (HD) resolutions. In addition, Sony has also claimed that four of the five new Blu-ray players (the AX2700T, BDZ-AT970T, BDZ-SKP75, BDZ-AT770T) boast support for simultaneous recording of up to three programs, while the BDZ-AT950W is capable of recording up to two programs simultaneously. Furthermore, Sony has also confirmed that users can expand the storage capacity on the BDZ-AX2700T, BDZ-AT970T, BDZ-AT950W and BDZ-SKP75 Blu-ray players by connecting external USB hard disks to them.

Additional features include what Sony claims is the use of its Intelligent Encoder 3 chip, which reportedly allows for high-quality recording by analysing video signals to optimize image quality for a variety of scenes. Last but definitely not least, the Japanese electronics giant has also confirmed all five Blu-ray players will be capable of wireless network connectivity via an optional wireless USB adaptor, along with support for voice-controlled search via the Koe-Kara app which is available for its Sony Ericsson Xperia line of Android-powered smartphones.

The BDZ-SKP75 is expected to be released for sale in Japan come October 22 this year, while the other four Blu-ray players will be making their way onto retail shelves at the much earlier date of October 8. The estimated prices for the respective players are as follow:

Full specifications for the Blu-ray players are as follow:

Source: Sony Japan