As Sony announced its current range of Blu-Ray players at CES 2013 in January, we take a look at some of their most exciting features. Considering that these products are now available to buy, this review is a must-read for all potential buyers.
All of the players feature distinctive angular “Quartz” designs, which make them look like stealth bombers. If minimising the radar cross-section of your home theatre kit is one of your top priorities, then Sony should be your first choice.
There are four players in total, with similar features. The basic models are not capable of 3D playback and don’t include built-in Wi-Fi, but every model in the range is capable of the following core functions:
- Playback of Blu-Ray disks, DVD disks (with upscaling to 1080p) and audio CDs.
- 16 bit deep colour standard.
- Triluminos compatibility. Triluminos is an LED backlighting system to be used in Sony’s new range of TVs. However, at present, the pricing for these TVs looks to be beyond the range of the average consumer.
- BD-Live 2.0. This gives you the ability to download additional content.
- Sony Entertainment Network. Includes videos and music to stream or download.
- HDMI connection plus coaxial audio output for connecting to a home theatre system.
- A USB port.
- Internet access via an Ethernet cable.
Sony BDP-S1100 features
The entry-level model is the BDP-S1100, which offers playback of 2D Blu-Ray disks only. It has all of the above features, but nothing in addition.
Sony BDP-S3100 features
The BDP-S3100 is more expensive, but has the benefit of DLNA support so you can access movies, music and photos from compatible laptops, tablets and smartphones. It also has built-in Wi-Fi, with support for 802.11b//n/g. This can be used for accessing content from the internet, and from smartphones and tablets. The BDP-S3100 is also compatible with the new smartphone app called TV Side View which enables you to use your smartphone or tablet as a remote control or mouse for browsing the web.
Sony BDP-S4100 features
The BDP-S4100 model costs around the same as the BDP-S3100. It offers the benefit of 3D Blu-Ray playback plus upscaling of 2D content to 3D. It also has DLNA support and support for the TV Side View app. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi.
Sony BDP-S5100 features
The flagship model in the series is the BDP-S5100, which offers all the features of the BDP-S3100 and BDP-S4100 combined. In other words, it handles 3D disks, and includes Wi-Fi and DLNA connectivity, plus support for the TV Side View app.
Sony has released a range of Blu-Ray players with distinctive designs, but you need to take care when selecting the right model for your needs. With so many devices in the home now capable of connecting to each other, Wi-Fi seems like a good choice for future-proofing your purchase. In that case, the BDP-S3100 is a sensible choice for those who don’t want 3D capability. For those who do want that option, then the BDP-S5100 would be the model to choose.
You should also consider other manufacturers before opting for Sony, however. Apart from the Triluminos compatibility, the Sony players offer nothing unique that isn’t available from LG, Samsung, Panasonic or others.