Sony BDP S350 1080p Blu Ray Disc Player
Since the Sony PlayStation 3 appeared on the scene, it was a go-Hi-techreview on the choice for those who are interested in Blu-Ray – even if they were not interested in games. At $ 400, PS3 pronounced the player a full set of services, Blu-Ray, with the added value of being first-class digital media and gaming machine as well. But, as Blu-ray players are better and cheaper, the equation is not so dry. Sony’s own BDP-S350 is a good example. With its latest firmware update on the site, S350 adds full BD-Live (Profile 2.0) compatibility of its contrivances.It remains only to annoyingly recessed USB port (for optional memory), and the lack of on-board DTS-HD Master Audio decoding (not a huge problem outside of audiophile circles), and the remaining red flags – and neither is it a killer. Sony’s neck and neck battle with such other full-featured stand-alone Blu-Ray players like the Panasonic DMP-BD35 and Samsung BD-P1500.And now that all these models can be found for as low as $ 300, they are real alternatives to PS3 (for nongamers, at least).
Nearly all standalone Blu-ray player is still viewed as the large players DVD, which require a lot of depth and width of the rack to ‘Em fit. BDP-S350 is radically different in this respect, it is about half as deep as any other player Blu-Ray, we’ve tested, come in 17 inches wide by 8.75 inches by 2.38 inches. Before the player is mostly covered by a blue tint, reflecting the faceplate, and there is an LCD screen on the right. On the far right control pair play, although there are no chapter forward / backward buttons when you can not find the remote control. There is also a blue indicator light that tells you if the player is outputting at 24 frames per second. In total, this sharp looking player – albeit not as sharp as the Samsung BD-P1500 – and its small size is a welcome touch of design.
Supplied remote control is very good. The Centre is dominated by directional pad, which is surrounded by important buttons such as menu, options, and at home. The lower separate rockers for volume and channel switching, for those who want to use the remote to control their TV. Generally, we liked its look and feel and that’s enough button differentiation to navigate by feel in a darkened home theater.
One major flaw is the deeply embedded design USB port – for BD-Live compatibility – on the back of the device. Our first problem is that he is on the back of the unit, primarily because it can be a pain to get to many home theater cabinets, and you can not dedicate a USB memory stick exclusively to the BDP-S350. Secondly, because, as a deep cavity of USB is that many types of USB memory sticks do not fit – you’ll need a lot of thin to fit properly. Deep niche means that you will not have a USB stick protruding too far from the back of the player, but as a player has enough fine and there will already be cables back, we can not see, most of the advantage.
BDP-S350 uses a version of Sony XMB graphical user interface, which should be familiar to anyone who uses the PlayStation 3, PSP, or the latest HDTV Sony. With high-resolution graphics nice touch, and we found it fairly easy to make settings in the menu. Fans will enjoy the number of adjustable parameters, including the highly desired ability to make BDP-S350 to output 24 frames per second. Several esoteric perk we enjoyed is that you can access the XMB menu without stopping at the drive so that you can make minor tweaks like changing the resolution without rebooting the entire movie.
Originally sold as “BD-Live Ready” Sony issued a promised firmware update for the BDP-S350 in September 2008. While the player is connected to a home network, an update is available by pressing the button, and automatically installs after a few minutes. The player is fully compatible BD-Live/Profile 2,0, which means that it can access the online features available on some discs. To date, there were a lot of compelling content, but the fact is that you get a player who is close to the current state as possible. This feature will be there when and if better BD-Live content turns up on the road.
High resolution soundtrack support the BDP-S350 is a good, albeit not perfect. There’s an on-board decoding of Dolby TrueHD – which means you can hear Dolby TrueHD on any HDMI-compatible receiver – but DTS-HD Master Audio can not be decoded by the player. On the other hand, BDP-S350 can output Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio in bitstream format, which means that people with the new receivers with onboard decoding can take advantage of DTS-HD Master Audio. Of course, the similarly priced Sony PlayStation 3 can decode both formats, which means you only need a receiver with HDMI, to take advantage of both formats.However, keep in mind that the differences between these high-resolution soundtracks and standard Dolby Digital and DTS may be hard to hear, if you’re not high-end listening environment.
Contact fairly standard Sony BDP-S350. Basic connection HDMI output, which can handle high-definition video at resolutions up to 1080p, as well as multichannel high-resolution audio. There’s also component video output, which can output Blu-Ray movies at 1080i and 480p on the DVD.There are also two legacy standard-definition video output, S-Video and composite video, but you must adhere to high-definition connections to use Blu-Ray.
For audio, HDMI is the best option for those who are the receivers HDMI. There are also optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, although it can not cope with the full resolution of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. For analog audio, a stereo RCA-style output. Big omission is the lack of analog outputs 5,1, which means that those who are older receivers will not be able to use Dolby TrueHD decoded by BDP-S350.
Rounding out the rest of the connection is a USB port and Ethernet port. Although you may think that the USB port is used to looking at some JPEG files, or listen to MP3-songs, in fact, only in order to serve as external memory for advanced Blu-Ray – which is why the port is called the “EXT”. You need to connect the USB drive for storage of BD-Live features. In addition, Ethernet port can not be used to stream files from your computer, it is dedicated to access firmware updates, and pulling the Blu-Ray-specific content from the Internet.
Blu-Ray playback of all Blu-ray players are generally excellent, providing excellent DVD image when viewed on a large HDTV in darkroom environment. However, we have seen some weaknesses in the least expensive Blu-Ray players – especially when the players are set to output 1080p signals at 60 frames per second – so we were interested to see how the BDP-S350 measured up.
We started with high-definition tests with Silicon Optix HQV in the test suite on Blu-Ray. In the film resolution loss test, BDP-S350 looked good on both the structure of the test and the slow movement of Raymond James Stadium, showing none of the moire or irregularities that we often see on cheaper players. The following are some video-based tests, which are much less important as the number of video-based Blu-Ray is very small. We looked at the Resolution Loss test and BDP-S350 not able to correctly display this test model, as the most detailed resolution box strobelike effect. Another was a pair of roughness tests and BDP-S350 handled them with ease, clearly rendering both three pivoting lines and rotating white line without excessive roughness.
The transition from test programs of the material, jumped in Ghost Rider on Blu-Ray, and the BDP-S350 had no issues rendering the end of chapter 6, and the lattice R. remained detailed as the camera moved away. We also looked at the beginning of Chapter 8 of “Mission: Impossible: III, and we saw no moire in the stairs in the background, which confirms what we saw in the test models – BDP-S350 handles film material well. The next step we tried to Tony Bennett: An American Classic and at the beginning of Chapter 7 – which includes some video-based shooting – we did see a slight irregularity in the clapperboard, but not as much as we have seen in the BD-P1500.
It is important to emphasize that the differences between the players a little, and only the most perceptive videophiles will notice the difference. In general, we found the DMP-BD50 have a little less irregularities in the video-based titles, but you will see them very rarely. In addition, if you plan to use those players in real 1080p/24, the differences essentially disappear, as we noticed virtually no difference between the players in 1080p at 24 frames per second mode.
We also tested how quickly the BDP-S350 powers and loads the discs, and this is a step in comparison with the other players released this year – but with the proviso key. Proviso that take advantage of fast download time, you must install the player, Quick Start mode, which means the BDP-S350 uses power even when you turn it off. In our tests, BDP-S350 used 16 watts when playing Blu-ray movie, 9.3 watts in off mode quick-start and 0.5 watts off normally.That being said, BDP-S350 powers in a very fast 6 seconds in Quick Start mode. After switching on, BDP-S350 also loads discs about as quickly as other new players, Blu-Ray, from “Mission Impossible: III download about 27 seconds, and BD-Java heavy Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man’s Chest” in 2 minutes and 6 seconds.
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