It isn't all that long ago that a Bl-ray player, such as the Panasonic DMP-BD10 would set you back the best part of £900. So if Sony releasing a laptop with a Blu-ray drive fitted for the same amount of dollars isn't progress, I don't know what is.
The Vaio NW series, as the notebook is known, starts from $800 over the pond, and for that money you'll get a core 2 Duo CPU, Intel GMA 4500 integrated graphics and a DVD drive. However, for a mere $80 premium, that specification can be improved to include a Blu-ray drive. Upgrade options include AMD ATI Mobility Radeon 4570 graphics - which, conveniently, will provide GPU-accelerated deciding of HD video.
The NW-series features a 15.5in display with a 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution so 1080p video can't be played back natively. There is an HDMI output, however, so the system could easily be hooked up to an HDTV. A 'display off' button, which does what you'd expect - turning of the screen whole leaving the machine running - will no doubt help with such use. An 'instant web' option is present enabling access to a browser before booting into Windows.
No UK-centric details available yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if we have an announcement of our own within a week.