Ok, so last year was a bit of a dud with the Sharp merger and then the rushed-to-market 3D players. So let's see what this year brings.
Bad product shots are all I've seen so far, but the new look is very nice, and consistent across the range. They also match the new VSX and SC receivers.BDP-140BDP-440BDP-LX55BDP-140:
3D PlaybackSACD Support
Network Functions (DLNA, YouTube etc...)
PC File Playback (DivX plus HD etc)
iControl AV2 Control App
Wi-Fi Connection (Via Optional Adaptor)
Sound Retriever Link
Stream Smoother LinkBDP-440
PQLS Bitstream Multi-Channel
Aluminium Front Panel
addsQDEO Video ProcessorTwin HDMI Outputs
High Grade Audio Parts
Armoured ChassisThis is all preliminary information only.
Judging by the specs, I think this year seems a lot more interesting. They tick all the requirement boxes for 3D, DLNA, networking.
SACD support not only in the high-end, but all the way down to the entry level player is a nice touch. That alone goes a fair way in separating the brand from the Panasonic/Samsung/LG brands towards an enthusiast market without alienating the mass market.
The LX / Elite model actually stands out this year. Twin HDMI is a proper high-end feature. Upgraded video processing is a proper high-end feature.
The weak model appears to be the mid-range BDP-440. Not much that distinguishes it from the entry-level BDP-140. If I'd been in charge I would probably have canned the wifi for the 140 just to set it apart. Or included the wifi dongle with the 440.
Estimated recommended retail prices
BDP-140 - $199
BDP-440 - $299
BDP-LX55 - $399-$499 (There's probably two Elite versions but only one LX)