It's Alive! It's Alive!
The SCD-XA5400ES is thoroughly modern (except for the SACD part) with an HDMI output. The player will make its debut in Japan in October, and interestingly enough, can be obtained through at least one U.S. retailer. JR.com is taking pre-orders, though no release date is given. It's not clear whether this U.S. availability is something officially sanctioned by Sony, or a gray-market offering. The price is $1,500.
If you have a ton of SACD titles, then I guess this makes sense. But otherwise this is a head-scratcher. You see, we already have a really nice high-end audio carrier available. While SACD and DVD-Audio failed to win more than a few audiophiles, we have another shot at audio nirvana: The Blu-ray format, with its lossless multichannel coding, is fully capable of delivering awesome sound quality.
If record companies (like Sony) would step up and support it with content, audiophiles would be in audio heaven, and we wouldn't need to resurrect older formats, like SACD.
Hey, if they really wanted to make everyone happy, then how about a Blu-ray player that also plays SACD? -Ken C. Pohlmann