Sony ships new Blu-ray player
Although announced in February, Sony’s latest Blu-ray set-top player has just begun shipping last week.
The BDP-S350 is a BD1.1 player, meaning it has all the BonusView features available. It is also “BD-Live ready” pending a scheduled firmware update. This requires a 1GB flash drive (not provided by Sony) placed in the rear of the player.
Another notable change is its physical size. It’s now 55% smaller than the previous BDP-S300, and uses 43% less power in standby mode. Sony is proclaiming this player “green.”
I have used this new player, and I gave it a tryout in the form of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest. This disc is loaded with BD-Java menus and operates sluggishly on the previous BDP-S300. First I opened the tray while the movie was playing and noticed that it opened much faster, in a few seconds. The S300 player took over twenty-seconds to open. When the tray was closed again the first preview played in approximately twenty-seconds. A loading screen played in the form of the key used to open Davy’s chest. With the S300, that loading screen took over fifteen-seconds to begin displaying, and almost double before the preview played. The BD-Java menu has a 3D skull on the top of the screen speaking while a storm rages through the surround speakers. On the S300 the menu lagged a portion of a second between buttons, but the S350 had immediate response.
This is very promising. So far this is the fastest player I have seen. I’m hoping to try out the new Pioneer Elite BDP-01 player soon.
For $399, the BDP-S350 is also reasonably priced in the mid-fi category. Otherwise, Sylvania and Maganavox have players in electronic retailers at $299.