Sony BDP-S360 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Sony BDP-S360 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Unlike some of its competitors, Sony has decided not to add streaming video-on-demand to its new entry-level player, the BDP-S360. This Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player offers BD-Live and BonusView support, as well as high-resolution audio decoding.

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The BDP-S360 is the first of Sony's 2009 Blu-ray lineup to hit the market, replacing the popular Sony BDP-S350. We have not performed a hands-on review of the BDP-S360, but here is an overview of the player's features. This entry-level model is a Profile 2.0 player that supports BonusView/picture-in-picture playback and BD-Live Web functionality, and it offers both onboard decoding and bitstream output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It lacks the built-in 802.11n support and DLNA photo streaming that Sony will offer in the step-up BDP-S560. While most of Sony's competitors are adding some form of Internet-enabled media streaming (via Netflix or Amazon) at this price point, Sony has opted not to include a similar feature in the BDP-S360. Oddly, neither the S360 nor the S560 will offer 7.1-channel analog audio outputs; to get that feature, you have go with the significantly more expensive BDP-S5000ES model or grab last year's BDP-S550.

Additional Resources
Read over 100 other professional Blu-ray Player reviews on HomeTheaterReview.com's Blu-ray review resource page.
• Check out Sony's page on the Sony BDP-S360 where you can buy it from Sony Style.

In terms of video connections, the BDP-S360 offers HDMI, component video, and composite video outputs. For HDMI, the output-resolution options are Auto, 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, and 1080p/24. The setup menu includes an option to enable 1080p/24 output if your TV accepts this signal type; once you enable the feature, the player will always output 1080p/24 when it is available on Blu-ray discs. For component video, the output-resolution options are 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i. The BDP-S360 allows you to choose between three picture modes (standard, brighter room, and theater room) and engage three types of noise reduction.

Audio outputs include HDMI, optical and coaxial digital, and 2-channel analog. This model lacks 7.1-channel analog audio outputs and is therefore not an ideal solution if you own an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver. As I mentioned, the BDP-S360 has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. Audio adjustments include multiple Dynamic Range Compression options, A/V Sync, and an audio filter (sharp or slow) for analog signals.

The BDP-S360's disc drive supports BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, MP3, and JPEG playback. The back panel features an Ethernet port for BD-Live Web connectivity, as well as quick firmware updates. The BDP-S360 has no internal memory, so the addition of an external storage device is required to download BD-Live features; a USB port is provided for this purpose. Unfortunately, the USB port does not support playback of digital music or photos (the step-up BDP-S560 will offer photo playback via USB). Advanced control ports, such as RS-232 or IR, are also omitted.

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


Highs Points
• The BDP-S360 supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.
• The player has internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and can pass these formats in bitstream form over HDMI. 
• It supports BD-Live Web content and can play picture-in-picture bonus content.

Low Points
• The BDP-S360 lacks 7.1-channel analog audio outputs, so it's not the best choice for someone who owns an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver. 
• The player lacks internal memory, so you must add your own USB flash drive. Plus, the USB port doesn't support photo or music playback.
• The player does not support wireless connectivity to your home network, nor does it offer a streaming-media feature from Netflix, Amazon, or the like.

Conclusion
In terms of Blu-ray features like BD-Live support and onboard high-resolution audio decoding, the BDP-S360's feature set is on par with other new entry-level players from companies like Panasonic, LG, and Samsung. However, those companies have all included some type of streaming VOD feature, while Sony has not, which puts the BDP-S360 at a real disadvantage.

Additional Resources
• 
Read over 100 other professional Blu-ray Player reviews on HomeTheaterReview.com's Blu-ray review resource page.
• Check out Sony's page on the Sony BDP-S360 where you can buy it from Sony Style.

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