3/06/2011

Sony BDP-S370 Blu-ray Disc Player Review

Sony BDP-S370 Blu-ray Disc Player
Average Reviews:

(More customer reviews)
I already own a Sony BDPS-360 downstairs as our main Blu-Ray player, but wanted a streaming player for upstairs (an Xbox360 takes care of that downstairs). Since I won't have a 3D TV for quite some time, and have wired ethernet running to the appropriate room, the 470/570 offer me nothing over this player, so I bought the 370.

Blu-Rays are very quick to load. Checked out Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl, and the biggest delay in getting to the movie was skipping the previews up front. Menu was up in just a few seconds, and the movie launched very quickly after that. Maybe 30 seconds from putting the disc in until I was watching the movie.

The remote does have an Open/Close button on it. That was not a big deal for me with the 360, but others complained about it so I thought I'd mention it.

Streaming takes a bit of setup, with the biggest item of note being that you need to register your Blu-Ray on internet.sony.tv before activating the streaming features. I had fits trying to create an account directly on that site, but creating a SonyStyle account first and then activating here worked much better. This works similar to Netflix activation in that you get a 4 symbol code from the player, enter it into your account, and now the Blu-Ray is activated. I then needed to go through the typical Netflix activation, getting another code from the player and entering it into my Netflix account. Amazon VOD linked directly to the Sony account and was then available on the player. Instructions for each of these are included in the screens on the Blu-Ray player, where it will provide the codes and the website address, and you then go the computer and finish linking from there.

Netflix works only off your Instant Queue, so you need to add movies to that queue on the website (or from the Xbox360 or other device with a full browser). Amazon VOD seems to have a fairly complete browser included. Netflix HD quality was reasonable, but most importantly about what I get on the computer or Xbox360; the player does not interfere in any way. This player was my first experience with Amazon VOD, and I must say the Sample HD clip (Superman Returns) was a lot higher than I expected, and actually better than most OnDemand offerings I get from my cable company (TWC NC).

So for Blu-Ray playback and Internet streaming, the box does a really good job. I wish the Netflix interface was more robust like the videogame consoles have, but actual playback and access to the Instant Queue works fine.

(Updates for this paragraph below) The big disappointment, and the one that keeps it from getting 5 stars, is that the SonyStyle page for the player lists DLNA as a feature. This is the standard for letting media devices connect to your computer and stream video / pictures / music over the network. Services like PlayOn also support this. DLNA, however, is not actually active on the player. From checking other sites, no one knows yet if this will be available in a future firmware update, or if the site is incorrect. If DLNA support is critical to your decision making, you may want to hold off until there is some answer on the DLNA picture.

Aside from that, I'm really happy with it as Blu-Ray player and Netflix/Amazon VOD streamer.

I have not yet tried a standard DVD, or any of the music streaming services. I'll update this review if anything changes as I use the player more.

UPDATE MARCH 1, 2010: Sony has updated the product page and changed the footnote for DLNA support. It is now due in a July 2010 firmware update. That's good news, and once the firmware ships I'll try to remember to report back on how well it works. If it works well the review will probably bump to 5 stars, as this is a pretty full-featured, fast, stable Blu-Ray player for under $200, especially if like me wireless and 3D are just not important to you.

One other bit of info for those who buy the player: if you have a Vizio TV, the remote code to use appears to be "04". It's not in the manual, but I tried this after a web search revealed others using the code for other Sony remotes, and this works for turning the TV on and off and changing the volume. The INPUT button does not work for me, though. The manual also seems to be missing the instructions for changing the TV code, but thanks to the manual for the S360 I have downstairs, the instructions are to hold the TV power button on the remote, enter the code, then release the TV power button on the remote.

UPDATE JUNE 9, 2010: The long-awaited DLNA firmware is now available for download. This is working great with my Windows Media Center (from Windows 7), with all my pictures, videos, and music available. One gotcha here is that the Sony has separate menus for all 3 categories, and you must play content from the correct category, even though all files show up under all options. So, for example, if you select your Windows Media Center server from the Video section, it will also have a folder for Pictures and Music, but every folder under those will show "no playable files". All the videos will play fine. It will be similar if you go to Music, except that only the music folder will have playable files.

However, at this time PlayOn is incompatible. The PlayOn server shows up, and you can browse and select videos, but all videos return a "This file is corrupt or unsupported". I've submitted a help request to PlayOn, and from the PlayOn forums it looks like others are as well, so we'll see if PlayOn can make a change, or if this needs to be reported to Sony. My Xbox360 streams the PlayOn stuff fine, so it's not a global issue with my setup.

On a different note, I've also since tried several standard DVDs and done some music streaming, and those features work fine. Others might be picky somewhere about DVD upscaling, but I've never really noticed an issue with this or any player, so I wouldn't worry about it. You do need to be aware that there are settings in the video setup to control the aspect ratio, so if you want a 16x9 picture (not letterboxed), you need to change the aspect ratio settings off "original". Aside from that, DVDs have played perfectly for me. And streaming music seems to work okay with the little I've done.

UPDATE August 9, 2010: PlayON has released updated software that fixes the streaming issues with this and potentially other players. Now that the DLNA support is working for all the stuff I want to stream, I've upped my review to 5 stars, as I have no complaints at all with it.

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Product Description:

Enjoy Blu-ray Disc movies in Full HD1080p and improve the quality of DVDs to near HD with the Sony BDP-S370 Blu-ray Disc Player. Play your favorite movies faster than ever and access a wide variety of movies, TV shows, and music streaming from the Internet plus turn your Apple iPhone or iPod touch into a remote control by downloading a free app.

Enjoy Blu-ray Disc movies and DVDs or connect to the internet and access movies, TV shows music and more.

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