Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

This new sub-$300 player is Sony's first standalone model to support the Profile 2.0 spec, which means it can access BD-Live Web features on discs that offer them. The BDP-S350 also boasts quick load times and a sleeker form factor than previous Sony Blu-ray models.

Sony has won the format war against the now-defunct HD DVD, but the Blu-ray still hasn't reached what many had hoped for in terms of market penetration.  The PS3 has been the main player keeping Sony alive for most of this race, but the release of the new BDP-S350 may well change all that.  Entering the market at $299 retail and streeting for a bit less, the new Sony player finally might get Joe Six-Pack off the couch to go Blu.  This new player is small at 17 inches wide, just less than nine inches deep and two-and-a-half inches tall.  The build quality is adequate for the price point, but finally Sony has made a player that does what we need.  

Read more top performing Blu-ray player reviews from Sony, Sony ES, Samsung, Vizio, Denon, Toshiba, Oppo, Lexicon and many others.

The BDP-S350 offers bitstream output of all audio formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, which it can also internally convert to LPCM.  The player of course plays DVDs and can upscale them up to 1080p, and it can play CDs as well.  Audio outputs consist of one optical and one coaxial digital output and a pair of single-ended stereo analog outputs.  Video can be output in composite, S-Video, component or HDMI 1.3a.

Sure, all this is great, but what sets this unit apart from previous Sony models is that the BDP S350, with the current firmware installed, is BD-Live-capable.  Yes, a true profile 2.0 player from Sony, their first one since the PS3.  To top it off, this unit has great functionality, loading even notoriously difficult discs in mere seconds and outputting exceptional video from DVDs and especially Blu-ray discs.  Not only has Sony broken the $300 price mark, but they have done it with a player that works so well and responds to commands so quickly that anyone (not just Blu-ray mavericks who are upgrading for better performance) who buys this player will be happy with it, including those who have been holding out and are used to the speed of DVD players.  For those used to the PS3, Sony has added the Xcross Media Bar as a menu for this player.

Read about the high points and the low points of the BDP-S350 on Page 2.


High Points

 Finally, a profile 2.0 Blu-ray player from the prime backer of the format.
 This player works as easily and efficiently as almost any DVD player out there, yet will smoke them in video performance with Blu-ray discs.
• The BDP-S350's size is a big step forward for Sony.  Their original Blu-ray players were huge.  This unit is smaller than many conventional DVD players.  The general appearance is modern and sleek, making the BDP-S350 a nice addition to any system.

Low Points
• This player will output every audio format in bitstream and will also output LPCM for everything but DTS-HD Master Audio.  Therefore, to take advantage of all the new codecs, you'll either need a receiver or AV preamp that can decode those bitstreams or to spend another $100 for the BDP-S550 which has analog outputs.
• The construction of the player is solid-feeling and adequate for the price point for new technology, but it could be a bit more rugged and have better feet on the bottom.

Conclusion
Hurray!  We finally have a BD Profile 2.0 player from Sony and for less than $300.  The BDP-S350 offers those with the newer receivers or pre/pros all they need to appreciate all the new audio codecs in a sleek and elegant package that is a huge leap forward in performance and convenience from earlier models, even the BDP-S300 this unit so rapidly replaced.  The speed with which this unit responds to controls and loads discs is so close to a standard DVD player that even the newest of adopters will not feel delayed.  Sony has finally made a Blu-ray player for the masses, and it's about time.

Read more top performing Blu-ray player reviews from Sony, Sony ES, Samsung, Vizio, Denon, Toshiba, Oppo, Lexicon and many others.

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