With evolution of technology, it comes as no big surprise to see the best hi-fi gadgets getting outdated by not just days, but by hours. That is right, by hours! With the advent of Blu Ray players, HD DVDs have become extinct, and the gaming and home theater connoisseurs seem to have high expectations from the players that are lined up for 2010. That being said, there are yet a sizeable segment of consumers, who are yet to approve Blu Ray players for their price range. Well, Sony decides to stand out from the crowd in this regard, by presenting consumers with a player that fits everyone’s budget. Now, the instant thought that crosses your mind next would be, with the player being affordable, could it be some stripped-down variant of Blu Ray players. Hold that thought, the BDP-S370 is quite a punch when it comes to features and performance, along with being a perfect combination for the HDTV at home, something that even costlier players do not support. So, let us go ahead and see if the player is as good as what Sony claims it to be.
The BDP-S370 Blu Ray Player sure does make heads turn with its snazzy geometric, monolithic design in a glossy black, smooth exterior finish, along with its wired and wireless networking attribute. The conventional L-shaped fascia in the regular rectangular box can be quite deceiving until you unpack the S3370, to find a striking player staring at you with its distinct fascinating looks, making it a perfect rack fit for any home theater shelf. The fingerprint-resistant sleek surface is nice and compact, which measures barely over an inch thick. The slim silver buttons speak for themselves, in being contoured and leaves you with an in between feeling of flush mount and real push. While the front left sports a disc tray and a strip running along the bottom with few buttons that aid in skipping tracks and ejecting discs, the right front corner has a single line LED display adjacent to the disc tray with a front USB port. There is only limited control over the buttons on the front with a restriction to enter the menu or switch sources, along with the conventional Eject, Power, Play and Stop buttons. Well, nothing much on the sides, but for some screws gripping the top shelf in place. The display is quite legible (with the option to fine-tune its brightness from the menu) thanks to the Matrix-style display. The rear sports a basic bouquet that includes an additional USB port, video port, optical digital audio out, coaxial digital audio out, 2 channels analog audio, exhaust fan, LAN jack, Ethernet, component/composite video, HDMI etc. Sony has taken good care of port placement, which is fairly convenient and nothing seems to be amiss.
Well, what really attracted us was the DivX HD support, similar to the LG INFINIA TV. Thanks to the built-in LAN jack, that lets us enjoy BD Live and Internet Video along with being Wi-Fi – an optional dongle that Sony offers. Sony BDP-S370 supports all key Dolby home theater specifications like True HD, DTS-HD Master, DTS and LPCM, up to 8 channel. The all-metal cased player is tastefully designed and well built and weighs a bare minimum of 2 kilos that makes it very portable and convenient to be carried around.
Sony Blu Ray Players continues to delight its users with its candid features. This 2010, new entry-level player has been packed with high levels of functionality meeting almost all requirements of its users, making it a great package and takes entertainment to the next level. So, let us walk you through some of them.
Getting Started with the Sony BDP-S370:
Well, the first impression begins with the boot up time, which is adjustable by itself. Default time delay could be around 90 seconds, but then this is the first configurable item in your ‘Easy Setup’ screen by enabling the Quick Start mode. Part of the quick start options is also to configure the source of TV output – amongst HDMI/ Component Video/ Video). Talking about menu options, the next one that comes up is the ‘Home’ option that allows configurations for Photos, Video, Audio, Setup and Network. Audio settings once again allow for choice of inputs including Dolby Digital (Optical, Co-axial), HDMI and Downmix as well. Setup options are easily navigable through the directional buttons on the remote and the player allows you to configure parental control as well.
Connected devices could include USB’s as well; through which audio and video files can be played on the BDPS370 Blu-Ray Disc Player. DivX and Xvid formats are supported for video while MP3 formats are supported for the audio files. Slide shows on photos are supported for JPG files in a similar vein.
Navigating the internet for videos is getting easier by the day. Access to the most popular YouTube seems to be best customized in the player where search for videos can happen through the cell-phone like keypad (non QWERTY) and the ‘skip track’ feature allows you to scroll through the results for options. Restrictions on the sites to be visited goes with the ‘white labeling’ kind of principle where you can decide the sites that you need to allow access to, through the player – a pretty cool feature.
We should report that the player does ‘surprise’ when it comes to multi-tasking; particularly in handling scenarios where you could eject a disc or a USB device while playing an Internet video. The Home menu comes up as a surprise to an action that can potentially remain independent of what is being viewed currently.
On the connectivity front, Internet is also available to the Blu Ray player over a wireless connection, but then hang on – you need a proprietary Sony Wireless UWA BR-100 adaptor for the same.
It is worth mentioning, again, that the Quick Start mode is a great feature in the player that greatly reduces startup time to almost a few seconds from what it could be, although it comes with additional power consumption, in the order of 6W on standby.
Full HD 1080 Video Output:
A Full HD 1080p output gets the most out of BDP-S370 Blu Ray player. It is a real feast to the eyes to watch Blu-ray Discs in striking HD resolution or go ahead and upgrade the DVD quality to near HD. Technology combinations like 24p True Cinema, HDMI Deep Colour, and Precision Drive HD serve striking picture quality along with a great amount of detail to the images. If you are a gadget freak and if you wish to appreciate the level of detail that goes into the Autobots in Transformers, you would certainly not be disappointed. Or if you want to enjoy the more colorful Avatar, please yourself.
Standard resolutions get upscaled to a 1080p image quality with playing conventional DVDs or streaming videos with the inclusion of online functionality (for which you need to purchase a wireless adaptor) in order for the videos to be played directly via internet bypassing a PC.
Multitude Of Connectivity Ports:
The BD-S370 Blu Ray DVD Player is stacked with a whole host of connectivity ports: Line out ports for audio-video, co-axial and optical digital outs, component video, USB on the front and rear (one of which aids in attaching the external hard drive that makes viewing of stored content easier), HDMI along with a 100 Mbit Ethernet LAN port. It also supports DSD audio output and Dolby Digital, DTS. Well guys, a little disappointing here is that Wi-fi does not come by default, you got to opt for Sony’s optional dongle to enjoy a full wireless experience.
A Nifty Bravia Remote Control:
Check out the all new remote that the S370 boasts of, (model #RMT-B107P) along with the conventional audio-video cable. It is a surprise though that no Component or HDMI cable is included in the box. Downloading a free app called BD Remote, offered by the iTunes Store, allows you to use your iPod Touch or Apple iPhone’s remote as against the regular Sony remote. Downloading the BD remote does not just allows you to use the remote but also gives access to a Blu-ray Disc’s info, namely actor, jacket artwork, production information plus browsing for additional video clips online; something that works real smooth with no fuss, in practice.
Supported Media Type:
Well, Sony has decided to give extra attention in terms of file support (something that was limited or lacking with the previous models) with the S370 being compatible with DivX, DivX HD, MKV and AVCHD files, among others. It also plays JPEGs and MPEGs back.
This highly significant feature of S370 gives it that significant tag, as this is not featured on any other TV with Sony’s network, with them lacking MHEG. A greater part of iPlayer devices like the Freesat and Freeview boxes are known to deliver a standard-def, low-resolution stuff, as against the astute HD version that Sony delivers.
Treat for Audiophiles:
With almost all Sony Blu ray players serving as a real treat for audiophiles, the Sony BDP-S370 Full HD 1080P Blu Ray Player is no exception when it comes to spinning high-quality SACD discs along with the conventional CDs and DVDs. Well the good news does not end here; streaming a DSD (Digital Stream Direct) signal straight into a compatible home theatre receiver cannot get any easier. Additionally, it is packed with audio decoding for the most recent high bit-rate audio codecs namely DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD. Then again, the S370 lacks an iPod dock or connector, (a common feature these days, that current Blu-ray manufacturers choose to exclude). You will require, at the least, a 1GB USB memory stick to access BD Live content from the web. Furthermore, you can either opt to buy an additional USB Wi-Fi dongle and get it connected to your home network or just hard-wire the Ethernet connection post a firmware update that is due later this year.
The Gracenote Entertainment Database Browser makes it debut here that helps with accessing/downloading tracks and album for DVDs, CDs and Blu-rays, a real bonus with running tracks especially from CDs. Additionally, it allows instant access of comprehensive information of the movies you watch using Gracenote’s Metadata Service. Standard definition DVDs can also be upscaled to achieve the same kind of accuracy, but for few hitches like jerky camera and MPEG noise panning in, in the 50Hz/1080p mode.
Menu navigation is swift and smooth and a literal breeze in the S370 with the XcrossMediaBar. Have fun scrolling along, up and down main menus for music, video, photos or settings. It is real quick accessing the user controls and set-up menus with the four-directional control interface of the Xross Media Bar that adds spice to your entertainment.
In The Box:
Player, Remote (Model #RMT-B107P), Instruction Manual, AV Cable, AA Battery, Warranty Card, Two free Blu Ray Movies.
With increasing competition, it has become important for players to start distinguishing themselves, to prove their footing in this space. The BDP-S370 presents itself as a good ‘value for money’ gadget that stands out on two key areas, viz., in being nimble and fast about loading discs and its connectivity to the Internet. The HD support is excellent and the quality of video and audio cannot be faulted one bit. You can argue on the lack of in-built Wi Fi connectivity or sometimes fault the player for not being an efficient ‘multi tasker’; but then, the positives far outweigh them.
Sony BDP-S370 Blu Ray Player – Technical Specification Table
|Model Name||Sony BDP-S370 Blu Ray Player|
|Display type||Front Panel|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||430 x 36 x 219 mm|
|Media Types supported||CD, DVD, CD-R/RW, BD-RE, CD-RW, DVD+R, DVD-R, BD-ROM,
|System features||BD-ROM (BonusView; Profile 1.1)
BD-ROM Playback (Single, Dual layer)
AVC-HD 8c/12cm DVD Playback
DVD Video Playback
Audio CD Playback
DVD-R/RW (Video Format) Playback
|Picture features||Full HD 1080p
Precision Cinema HD upscale (DVD upscaling to 1080p)
Video D/A Converter
24p True Cinema
Preset Picture Mode
|Audio output||Audio D/A Converter
DTS-HD Master Audio Decoding
Dolby True HD Decoding
DTS-HD Master Audio Bit-Stream Output
Dolby TrueHD bit-stream Output
LPCM (2ch/6ch/8ch) thru HDMI
DTS bit-stream out
Dolby digital bit-stream out
|Network Ethernet||BD Live|
|Upscaling||Yes (up to 1080p)|
BAVIA internet video streaming
Sony Online Service streaming
|Convenience Features||Quick Setup
Gracenote @ Metadata
Child Lock (Tray Lock)
Audio/Video Bit Rate Indicator
|Terminal connectivity||1 x HDMI
1 x Component Video OP
1 x Composite Video Output
1 x Digital Audio Output: Coaxial
1 x Digital Audio Output: Optical
2ch Analogue Audio Output
2 x USB port (Front, Rear)
|Power Requirements||110-240V, 50/60Hz|
|Remote||Yes with TV control