Sony BDP-S300 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

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sony_bdp_s300.gifThe $399.99 BDP-S300 was Sony's first "entry-level" Blu-ray offering, released in mid-2007. This is a Profile 1.0 player, which means it does not have the secondary audio and video decoders needed for picture-in-picture playback, nor does it offer BD-Live Web functionality. The BDP-S300's back panel has HDMI, component video, S-video and composite video outputs. Output resolution options through HDMI are 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60 and Source Direct, which outputs every source at its native resolution. In Source Direct mode, the player will output the native 1080p/24 format of most Blu-ray films. Through the component video output, 1080i is the highest output resolution allowed for Blu-ray, and 480p is the highest output resolution allowed for standard-definition DVDs.

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In terms of audio outputs, the BDP-S300 has HDMI, coaxial and optical digital audio, and two- and 5.1-channel analog audio outputs. You can't bridge the two- and 5.1-channel analog outs to create a 7.1-channel system. The BDP-S300 has built-in Dolby Digital Plus decoding and will pass uncompressed PCM over HDMI or analog audio. However, it does not have onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, nor will it pass these high-resolution audio formats in bitstream form over HDMI.

The BDP-S300 supports BD, DVD, CD, MP3 and JPEG playback through its disc drive. It does not include an Ethernet port for BD-Live Web functions or firmware updates. To update firmware, you must download the new software from the SonyStyle website and load it onto the player.

Read The High Points, The Low Points and the Conclusion on Page 2

HTR Product Rating for Sony BDP-S300 Blu-ray Player

Criteria Rating

Performance

4.5

Value

4.5

Overall

4.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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High Points
• The player can output 1080p/60 or 1080p/24 via HDMI, and its image quality with high-def movies is excellent
• The BDP-S300 also does a nice job of up-converting standard-definition DVDs, offering good detail and minimal digital artifacts

Low Points
• It does not support BonusView (picture-in-picture functionality) or BD-Live (the ability to access interactive Web content)
• This player does not decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD or pass it in bitstream form over HDMI
• Start-up and disc navigation are slower than you'll find on newer Blu-ray players, especially with Blu-ray discs that use a lot of BD-Java in their menus.

Conclusion
The BDP-S300 was a great value and fine performer when it was first released in mid-2007, but newer models offer better features for a lower price. Sony just released the new Profile 1.1 BDP-S350, which is the same price, but offers better high-resolution audio options and is BD-Live-ready, with an Ethernet port.


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