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Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray Player

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by JimJasper, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. JimJasper

    JimJasper Member

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    To be released "Summer" of 2008. Eager.

    From Sony's website, I've emailed some specifically Sony "Blu-ray" reps about release dates about two weeks ago, and they haven't emailed me back yet. I went to Sony's contact customer support section, chose sales, and did an online chat with one of their sale's reps, but he didn't know the release date either.

    Anyway, the reason for this post is if anyone finds any early reviews or release dates please post links.

    Also, I found this chart of high def DVD players, refer to it frequently, & thought some of you guys would like it as well:
    Master List Of Blu-ray Players

    Jim
     
  2. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    I bought the s350 today. It's my first Blu-ray player. I haven't had a chance to watch anything on it yet. I only picked up two discs-- POTC- AWE and Flatliners. I would have gotten more, but the discs at Best Buy are way overpriced.

    I have a Toshiba A3 HD-DVD player too and I'm anxious to compare it and the S350 regarding SD upconversion.
     
  3. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Premium
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    Bryan, So what are your thoughts on this player?
     
  4. PattyFraser

    PattyFraser Well-Known Member

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    Yes. I'm especially anxious to hear about the standard def upconversion. From the few posts I've seen ( only 2 on Amazon discussion forum to address this) it's getting marks far below the HD DVD players for upconversion. I don't have one of those and have no plans to try to scrounge one up. I'm very interested in this player, or possibly the upcoming 550.
     
  5. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    Overall, I'm really happy with the S350. The power-on and load times are better than my Toshiba A3, but it's still nowhere near as quick as a standard DVD player. But I wasn't expecting it to be either. It's fast enough where it's not really an issue. There's a quick-start option that you can enable that will make start-up even faster, but I haven't turned it on.

    The PQ is great. No complaints there at all. The contrast seemed a little low initially, but running video essentials fixed that. The PQ is equal to what I had with the Toshiba A3. Maybe someone with high-end equipment and a more discerning eye for these things could find issues, but I certainly couldn't (65" Mits DLP).

    I'm not sure about the the upconversion yet. I haven't really watched any SD DVDs on it yet. My A3 handled those great, so I'll try to do some comparison tonight.

    The reason I picked this up is that I was waiting on a profile 2.0 player at a decent price (I have no desire for a PS3). Between a coupon and gift cards for Best Buy, I got this pretty cheap. Out of the box this player is not 2.0, but will be made so with a firmware update later this year. Speaking of firmware, I updated the player's firmware out of the box and it worked flawlessly over the internet. Simple plug and play. No issues there at all.

    In addition to a later firmware update to make this player 2.0, it doesn't have any onboard memory. So you have to buy a 1GB or larger USB thumb drive to plug into it to make it 2.0 compliant. It's not a big deal since those are pretty cheap, but it would have been nice for it to ship with the required memory. Be careful when buying a thumb drive for this player though, the USB port is recessed and most thumb drives will be too wide to fit. I had a 2GB Sandisk thumb drive laying around that I wanted to use, but it was too wide.

    This player bitstreams Dolby True HD and DTS MA (and internally will decode Dolby True HD), but I don't have a receiver capable of processing those codecs so I haven't been able to try them out. My current receiver is only a few years old, so replacing it may not be in the cards quite yet.

    I was surpised how small this player is. It's as wide as a typical component, but not as tall and not anywhere near as deep.

    I'd certainly recommend the S350 to anyone looking for a good stand-alone profile 2.0 player.
     
  6. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Premium
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    Thanks for the review it sounds like a very nice player.

    I figured that the USB key was for the resident storage and the price of a key is so cheap I don't think that is big deal.

    I'm going to recommend this to a friend who has been waiting for a 2.0 machine.
     
  7. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Well-Known Member

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    Excellent review - I agree 100%! Like you, once I unpackaged and setup my BDP-S350, I updated the Firmware via the Internet / Ethernet port and it was Plug & Play!!! [​IMG]

    I did buy the Onkyo TX-SR606 at the same time and I have both the BDP-S350 & HD-A35 connected to the TX-SR606 via HDMI!!!

    Hearing DTS HD Master Audio along w/TrueHD is GREAT!!! [​IMG]

    But the revelation with my new TX-SR606 was the REFERENCE Audio Calibration System via Audyssey 2EQ - the automatic calibration system that uses the included microphone to analyze the speakers' and subwoofers' sound from three positions in your room. It was relatively fast (10 mins from all 3-position SPL readings), accurate and super!!! Overall, I thought the final result with the Audyssey gave the audio a fuller sound with greater depth in the soundstage. [​IMG]

    Anyway, the PNY Technologies 1GB USB stick fits in nicely in the back of the BDP-S350!


    FYI: Change the following in:

    1) Setup OPTION:

    ...a) SETUP / AUDIO SETTINGS / Audio DRC = "Wide Range" (pg. 45 in manual)

    That's Sony's Option to TURN-OFF the Compression Circuitry!!! My unit default was "Auto".

    Have fun,
    Phil
     
  8. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    So is DTS MA and Dobly True HD that noticeably different than DTS ES an DD EX? I looked at the 606 but not sure I can justify replacing my Pioneer 1014TK at this time (it's a great receiver except no HDMI and also has an automatic calibration system using a microphone-- but only from one position). Have you had any of the "hum" problems some have reported with the 606? I could get the 606 for $367 so it is tempting.

    Thanks for the tip on the DRC. I had mine set on "auto" initially, but you and someone on another forum noted that "wide" is "off". So that's what I have it at now. Not real intuitive-- for me atleast. [​IMG]

    Do you know if the 350 will pass Dolby True HD through the optical cable? It decodes it internally, so I thought maybe. But if I understand right, to get any of the lossless codecs you have to use HDMI. Do you know?
     
  9. troy evans

    troy evans Well-Known Member

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    Oh Yes. It has the same effect for sound quality that Blu-ray has for picture quality. You don't need to rush to get a new receiver, but, when you do get one you'll be pleasantly surprised.
     
  10. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Well-Known Member

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    Your understanding is correct!!! Now you know why I also bought the Onkyo TX-SR606! Once I knew that my next Blu-ray player would not include 5.1/7.1 Analog OUTputs, ... I needed an AVR that can decode TrueHD & DTS HD Master Audio! Turns out the Onkyo has great quiet discrete AMPs x7, and Getting the Audyssey 2EQ/Dynamic EQ was the bonus extra cherry on the top!

    Hope this helps,
    Phil
     
  11. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Phil. I'll definately have to consider the 606.
     
  12. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Well-Known Member

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    Bryan:

    Please don't forget that you promised to give us your impressions of the SD-DVD upconversion capability of this unit vs. the Tosh A3. Thanks!
     
  13. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Well-Known Member

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    Since the upcoming Sony BDP-S550 internally encodes "TrueHD" & "DTS HD Master Audio", the above extra steps is not necessary! The BDP-S550 is like all HD DVD players - just play the PiP featurette and watch!

    Just thought you'd like to know that little tidbit,
    Phil
     
  14. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    I do apologize I haven't done that yet. I didn't have time last night or tonight, but I will do that before the end of the weekend. I'll try to do some comparison Friday and post my thoughts.
     
  15. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    I got a chance to compare SD DVD on the Sony S350 Blu-ray and the Toshiba A3 HD DVD players (viewing on a 65" Mits DLP).

    I used Star Wars (A New Hope) because I have two copies of that so I could easily flip back-and-forth between the same image. I paused at numerous spots throughout the film and the A3 was consistently better than the 350. It wasn't even close. I even switched discs just in case there was a difference inherent to them, but the A3 was still better.

    The image out of the A3 was sharp and detailed compared to the 350. The same image out of the 350 was downright blurry. Let me qualify this by saying I as sitting about 1 foot from the screen to do the comparison. Sitting back where I normally sit (maybe 12 feet eyes to screen) I could still tell a difference, but some of that was lost due to the viewing distance. But it was still very noticeable.

    For example, I paused at the scene where 3PO and R2 were walking away from the crashed lifepod on Tatooine. It's a distant shot of both the lifepod and the droids. On the A3, while the lifepod in the background didn't have a lot of detail, it was still well defined. Also you could see details and marking on the droids well. Viewing the image on the 350, the lifepod was almost a blob, and you could make out virtually none of the detail on the droids. Every scene I stopped at had the same results.

    Frankly, I was shocked at how big the difference was. Even though I had heard that the 350 had poor upconversion I really didn't think I'd be able to notice-- or I thought I'd have to look so hard for any difference that it wouldn't matter real-world. I was wrong.

    If you have an A3 you'll want to keep using it for standard DVDs even if you buy a 350. I was seriously considering selling my A3 and HD DVDs until now. I won't be sticking any SD DVD in the 350.

    Edit: I had mentioned that the 350 was much faster than the A3. So tonight I timed them. Starting with the power off, I pressed the eject button to see how long it took for the drawer to fully open. The A3 took 19 seconds longer.
     
  16. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the info in this thread. I'm probably going to grab both the S-350 and the Onkyo 606 within the next few months.
     
  17. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    Glad the info was helpful. I think you'll be pleased with the 350.

    I was able to convince the wife to green-light replacing the receiver. I'm going with the Pioneer 1018. Downside is that it has one less HDMI port than the 606. But-- even though Phil hasn't had any problems with his, I just am too nervous to pull the trigger on a 606 after reading about the reported issues.
     
  18. PattyFraser

    PattyFraser Well-Known Member

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    Thanks very much Bryan. I'm consistently hearing that the HD DVD players were better at standard def. Too bad I didn't jump on board, I guess. But my set is onlya 52 inch LCD. Perhaps the differences won't be as noticeable.
     
  19. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Well-Known Member

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    One reason why I bought it thru Amazon.

    If there's a problem, ... it's returned and they pay for it!

    If there's no problem, then I keep it and just watch the Amazon price since they have a 30-day price gurantee!

    I bought the TX-SR606 for $393.45 on August 5, and so far, I received refunds = $23.79 to match today's price $369.66. [​IMG]

    The same with the Sony BDP-S350 originally $357.20, and received refunds = $9.58 to match the lowest price ($347.62) since August 5! (it's presently up = $350.78) [​IMG]

    I can request refunds if the price continues to go down, until Sept. 5th! [​IMG]

    At this point, I 'm keeping everything and so I just updated my Harmony 880 with the Onkyo TX-SR606 & Sony BDP-S350 - then updated the Watch TV macro & created Watch Blu-ray, Watch HD DVD macro's.

    Have fun when you get your 1018!
    Phil
     
  20. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    I'm anxious to try out the True HD and DTS MA. I checked out two Best Buys yesterday and neither carried it. I'm going to try a third today (online it says it's at this location). *fngers crossed*

    You got a great price on the 606.

    Any suggestions on a Blu-ray or two to show off the new receiver? I haven't bought many blu-ray discs yet. I've only got POTC3, Jumpers, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Flatliners.
     

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