Pros: Plays Blu-ray and DVD; and has both HDMI and Ethernet Ports.
Cons: Severely limited Internet access - "Watch Sony Content"
SONY BDF - S380 Blu-ray DVD/CD Player
This Machine can display Blu-ray DVD-Video and CD Media with Region Numbers 1 (USA NTSC) only.
Although both the S380 Player and SONY TELEVISION offer versions of Pay TV (or On-Demand Viewing) they are distinctly different from each other. The Internet access provided is limited by SONY, universal "free" internet content is not available without a CPU/PC.
When it became apparent that the intent of the entertainment and retail industries was to supersede the older DVD with Blu-ray technology, I decided to hedge my bet by purchasing one of these new marvels. My bet, against another wave of obsolescence, looked good until the wave of "UPCONVERSION" took place. At least Blu-Ray was backward compatible but I was not about to give up versatility - I still have a VHS player and a few tapes. And 150 CD titles.
Upconversion stole some of the thunder of Blu-Ray video resolution; even "Older DVD" discs could be made to look much better and that technology lessens the sting of yet another Tsunami of obsolescence.
But Sony and its peers are not peddling resolution: They are peddling content and trying to stop piracy. Copy protection (ie: prevention) is more rigorously enforced than ever. This may culminate in the capture and control of the Internet. Maybe so.
Sony BDF-S380/BX38 Blu-Ray Disc / DVD Player
Plays Content for DVD Region 1 and BD Region A
See Region Map at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_disc
Customer Service: 866-909-7559
System: Laser: Semiconductor Red for DVD, Blue for Blu-Ray
NTSC (National Television System Committee) Standards in USA
ATSC (Advanced Television System Committee) Digital TV
I do not have a wireless LAN but the S380 is wireless ready. So these data are passed on FYI:
Notes of interest from the Operating Instructions Manual:
1. Broadband speed of at least 2.5 Mbps recommended (10 Mbps for HD).
Content subject to change and may require fees. Wireless connectivity requires UWA-BR100 USB adapter and 802.11 home network (802.11n recommended).
2. Requires devices connected to the same wireless home network.
3. Requires compatible HDTV and HDMI® cable sold sep.
4. Requires HDTV with equivalent display and HDMI® cable sold sep.
5. Requires HDMI® cable and LPCM capable receiver.
© 2010 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice. Sony, Media Remote, and the Sony make.believe logo are trademarks of Sony. iPad and iPhone are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. Blu-ray Disc is a trademark. HDMI is a trademark of HDMI Licensing LLC. Dolby is a trademark of Dolby Laboratories. dts is a trademark of DTS, Inc. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.
Composite Video Line Out Phono Jack (Yellow) /1-p / 75 Ohms
Audio Line Out R & L, 2 Phono Jacks / 2 Vrms, 10 Kohms (Red, White)
Digital Audio Out (Coaxial) Phono Jack / 0.5 Vp-p / 75 ohms
HDMI Out: 19 Pin Standard
Component Video Out Phono Jacks Y, Pb, Pr (Red, Green, Blue)
LAN RJ-45 Jack 100 Base - TX Terminal
USB, 2 ports (front and rear panels)
POWER: 120V AC, 60Hz
Consumption: 18W, 1 Amp
Dimensions: 17 in W x 7 4.5 D x 1 7/16 H (430 x 199 x 36 mm)
Weight/Mass: 3 lb 9 oz (1.6 Kg)
Operating Temperature: 41 to 95 degrees F
Operating Humidity: 25 to 80% Relative Humidity
IN THE BOX:
Player, Remote, HDMI Cable, 2 AA Batteries, A/V Composite Cable
29 Page Operation Instructions (dated 2011)
HD (24Hz) (24p True Cinema) : Yes
HD (50Hz) HD (60Hz) : 480i /480p /720p /1080i /1080p
HD 24Hz to 60Hz conversion : Yes
DVD 24p output : Yes
THE ORDEAL (Operations)
This player was purchased in April 2011, for use with our Toshiba 42" Flat Panel TV.
I was interested in the Internet interactivity advertised but found that it was largely a Pay TV partnership between Sony and its "content providers".
I had already experimented with "Sony Internet TV" and "Logitech Revue" and saw what the drift was - Limited Pay TV with some freebies tossed in. Older content was not what I wanted and the monthly costs were prohibitive. It was premature technology I do not use.
Our premier DVD Player was now in the bedroom so we subsided into a period of playing our legacy collection of DVD Movies on the Blu-Ray Player. That was a new experience with us; the resolution was greatly improved. We did not know why but it was fun to see older content that was upconverted in some magical manner.
The Player is starkly minimalist; requiring no human touch to mess things up.
An annunciator window contains the Infra-Red light receiver and the elongated Blue Light that is the signature and/or trade mark, another contains digitized messages: 'Welcome', 'Loading', 'See You', etc. Nothing important. The Case is Black.
Aside from the Status Window, there are only 4 manual controls on the front panel: Power on/off, Open/Close, STOP (square icon) and Play (RH Arrow). These controls are duplicated on the Remote. Also on the front panel is a USB Port, meant for MP3, JPEG, or Flash Memory file transfer.
The back panel is not cluttered, just an HDMI Port. Plus a set of five (5) phone jacks for Component Color Analog Audio outputs. Plus a Digital Audio output, a LAN J-45 plug, and a USB Jack. Last but not least is a captive Power Cable for 120VAC.
All of the action and excitement is in the equally simplistic and somewhat primitive looking...
... REMOTE - Part Number BD RMT-B109A
At 5.87" long x 1 7/8" wide x 1 1/8" high/thick, this is one of the smaller of any I have seen.
The hard plastic shell feels solid, as if one were handling a chunk of wood. The bottom is curved, the entire surface is striated with a constant pattern of ridges that provides a death grip.
To finish this masterpiece of human engineering, Sony has molded 4 solid feet that will steady the remote even with a wine glass set upon it (definitely not recommended). A latch type cover conceals the two (furnished) AA Batteries.
The 41 remote buttons are small, none are backlighted. The gaps between keys are gratifyingly large at 1/8". The touch system will not reward the user. The physical layout is novel, the number pad is just below the top row. The top, business end, contains the Infra-Red Eye, Open/Close, TV input and TV power, and BD Player power.
Right below the 7 key, is one labeled Audio. It allows selection of audio tracks on a CD and the preferred language track, if a choice exists. Over across the 0 (zero, zed, naught, or nothing) is a Sub Title control, and the commercial squelcher (mute).
Next row down is a set of four color buttons, the colors are Yellow, Blue, Red, and Green. They are labeled "Yellow", "Blue", "Red", and "Green". These are called "ShortCut Buttons" that lead to certain (Shhh!) unspecified functions. I bet they were not; I was right. I spent a half hour looking for the next mention - could it be that the colors allude to fine tuning...?
Setup was straightforward and the on-screen menus were easy to comprehend. I did, however, skip everything and just powered up, stuck a disc into the drawer and sat back.
Again, we were gratified.
Viewing JPEG files on Optical Discs was not possible. Both tested discs were classified as data discs and would not play. These discs are from relatives in Texas and South California, taken on special occasions. Although I did not buy for this feature, I will be obliged to use the PC In D-Sub Port for these images.
The Player does display JPEG files stored on Flash Media. When inserted in PC USB ports, Photo Files played without a problem. In fact, the S380 player detected subdirectories in Google Picasa but no photos.
I attributed these problems to Sony and its lockdown on what is allowed and what is not.
A further trial was avoided; that of a melding of Sony Bravia programming that is fed to the Sony Player. We have a Toshiba TV in the living room.
HOW WELL DID THE BDP S380 Player WORK?
The player was purchased to reveal just what "Blu-Ray" (BD) was all about.
And it did that convincingly.
It was disappointing to find out that it would NOT provide free access to the Internet.
I was also unhappy about the unexpected blocking of Data on Picture or Data Discs.
It would play our DVD Library content; the built-in signal conditioning was an unexpected surprise benefit.
It did, indeed, play the few BD discs purchased only to observe the technology. The five titles obtained** were not duplicates of any in our DVD collection - This is only a grudging beginning of a surrender to the inevitable obsolescence of earlier technologies.
Although the BD capacity is several times more accommodating; there was no evidence of that as a benefit to audiences, excepting only titles that exceeded the length of a single DVD and had required a second or more disc just to hold that material.
In a way, this capacity could be better utilized with a return to the original viewing experiences once enjoyed by humans before Television. Thus, a MAIN FEATURE, a brief NEWSREEL, PREVIEWS of coming attractions, a color animated CARTOON, and what was known as a "B" Movie; all of which made for an evening or afternoon Matinee loaded with content.
Although Sony is trying to assert control over what INTERNET broadcast content the user sees, there is a considerable amount of programming available through this machine. Most of those added features and extras make the player far more versatile than expected. And more expensive to watch, if one is prone to subscription viewing. "There ain't no free lunch."
OVERVIEW OF CONTENT
Sony has what is called Content Partnerships and provides ready access to such as NetFlix and HULU subscription content on demand.
I noted access to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) but visitors will not hear a single note until a subscription/account is opened. I already have such a subscription service to the New York Metropolitan Opera, which offers 100 Operas, both live and on demand. Opera is a combination of music and stage craft. So, that BPO service proved to be of no use to me.
A great deal of content is aimed at the youth culture. That, we are assured, is where the money is.
It was interesting to note that some of the "Partners" are owned by Sony.
This Blu-Ray programming is a re-run of last year's Sony Internet TV effort.
After all the huffing and puffing, users need a player that will deliver BOTH DVD and BD. And MPEG, CD, USB, Region Free Content, etc.
Surprise! We already have one - or dozens of them. The term "Backward Compatible" has new meaning. But this is not the Internet I had sought.
Although the S380 did what I wanted, that is, play and demonstrate Blu-Ray Content; that is not enough. It should play the stuff of Home Computing without flaws. But Sony wants to rent our eyeballs and that is not reasonable.
Recommended (Later models are available now in 2012)
**Titles on BD:
"GONE with the WIND" - 1939 / 2009,
233 minutes, 1.33:1, 5.1 Sound, Color, Dolby, 1080p
"NETWORK" - 1976 / 2011,
121 minutes, 1.85:1, 1.0 Sound, Color, Dolby, 1080p
"A Passage to India" - 1984 / 2008,
164 minutes, 1.66:1, 5.1 Sound, Color, Dolby, 1080p, A B C Regions
"NORTH by NORTHWEST" 1959 / 2009,
136 Minutes (Lavish 50th Anniversary Ed. - Other data Omitted)
"CHARADE" 1963 / 2010,
113 minutes, 1.85:1, 1.0 Sound, Color, A Region only
*NTSC or National Television System Committee
30 frames per second with which 525 lines are transmitted, 480 of them carry picture information
Digital transmissions are per ATSC standard.