Advantages A Blu-Ray player which also acts as a media client on your house network
Disadvantages Buttons on unit not especially well marked out
|Ease of Use|
|Ease of Installation|
|Range of Features|
Even if you have no intention of re-investing in all your favourite movies in blu-ray format, the Sony BDPS370 is a hugely interesting piece of kit.Think of it not so much as a blue-ray player that can do network tasks, as a media client that happens to play blu-rays.
I’ve owned one of these machines for a couple of months – and can honestly sayI’m blown away by it.
To get maximum benefit you have to connect your player to your TV by HDMI cable –I happen to feed mine through a multimedia amplifier – that way I get full surround sound, but it still works fine right into the back of a telly.
Second thing to do is connect an Ethernet line wired to the internet – that opens up a whole bunch of features which really make this unit stand out.The initial benefit is that you can get firmware updates – fixing any software glitches (I hadn’t noticed any in the first place, but then I’ve not done exhaustive testing.)
You get the same basic on-screen menuing system which a lot of Sony kit uses – including the PS3 – it’s easy to navigate and is especially suited to working with a remote control.Of primary interest to me is the inclusion of the BBC iPlayer – this supports standard and HD resolutions, so even if you don’t have satellite, or an HD freeview box, you can still watch programmes in high resolution (if a little after initial transmission)
There’s a host of other channels supplied, and the ability to subscribe to ‘Video on Demand’If you have a home network established, you can browse and view content stored on shared drives on PCs – so if your music or video collection is shared, you can watch it on the telly or listen to it through your hi-fi.
The feature doesn’t just stop with sounds and pictures – it also works with music –
I regularly show friends and relatives sldeshows of digital photos stored on my main server.
There’s a couple of USB ports which allow you to play content from memory sticks, external hard drives and some MP3 players – cool!If you don’t want to bother with ‘hardwired’ network connections you CAN opt for wireless, but Sony want eighty quid for what is essentially a badged £15 wireless dongle – not worth it in my opinion.
Of fourse, and finally, it plays Blu-Ray and DVD disks – brilliantly!At around £120 a throw it pretty much hits the spot for being an economical and hugely useful system component, were it any more expensive I’d be tempted to suggest you looked at a cheap multimedia PC, to be cheaper I suspect it would have o drop a lot of features.
As well as HDMI there’s the usual SCART socket – some digital audio outs, NO composite video connector – but you could use a SCART adapter costing no more than a few quid if this had to fit in as part of an existing setup.Some may argue that many of the features described were available on the PS3 – which I’d be happy to concede, but I have no interest in getting a PS3, and this is less than half the price.
To suggest this is ‘slimline’ is an understatement – it’s barely an inch thick – I’m not especially fond of a protruding strip running the entre width of the player – and the markings on the buttons are very ‘low key’ (if you have any sort of visual impairment they’d be pretty hard to read) however they are easily felt, and as styling is ‘minimalistic’ you shouldn’t mix them up too often.Sony owners will be pleased to know the unit is compatible – my (4 or 5 year old) existing Sony kit has no trouble sending the appropriate instructions, so you don’t have to wrestle with half a dozen remotes to watch anything.
There’s very little which can be said against this unit – it’s relatively inexpensive, is packed with features, costs half the price of a PS3 and doesn’t play games – and of course, does Blue Ray disks (as well as DVDs, audio CDs, SACDs and so on)It’s a Sony – what more do I need to say!
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3D Blu-Ray Player, 2 Discs, Progressive Scan, Built-In Dolby Digital Decoder, Built-In DTS Decoder Sound
Sony BDPS370 Blu-ray Player
amazon marketplace electronics
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days