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Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray Player


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91 replies to this topic

#1 of 92 OFFLINE   JimJasper

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Posted June 28 2008 - 01:19 PM

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 of 92 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted August 09 2008 - 10:30 AM

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 of 92 OFFLINE   Patrick_S

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Posted August 12 2008 - 12:47 PM

Bryan, So what are your thoughts on this player?

#4 of 92 OFFLINE   PattyFraser

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Posted August 13 2008 - 08:16 AM

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 of 92 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted August 13 2008 - 08:39 AM

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 of 92 OFFLINE   Patrick_S

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Posted August 13 2008 - 09:43 AM

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 of 92 OFFLINE   Phil Iturralde

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Posted August 13 2008 - 11:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan X
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.

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!!! Posted Image

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!!! Posted Image

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. Posted Image

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
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#8 of 92 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted August 13 2008 - 11:54 AM

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. Posted Image

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 of 92 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted August 13 2008 - 05:02 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan X
So is DTS MA and Dobly True HD that noticeably different than DTS ES an DD EX?
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.
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#10 of 92 OFFLINE   Phil Iturralde

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Posted August 13 2008 - 05:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan X
So is DTS MA and Dobly True HD that noticeably different than DTS ES an DD EX?

Yes!!! Once you experience what your speakers can do with these High-Definition Audio formats, ... there's no turning back!!! Posted Image

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan X
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.

No - no problem with HUMM or HISS or any artifical noise when I'm playing my HD Movies @ -10 dBc below REF Level (w/approx. 106 dBc Fast LFE SPL Peaks)!

For kicks, I just put on the Blu-ray ID4 - DTS HD Master Audio, the final battle scene and turned-up the TX-SR606 volume to 55, which with this Blu-ray audio soundtrack turned out to be approx. -5 dBc below REF Level (w/approx. 1 Fast LFE SPL Fast Peak hitting 110dB Posted Image Posted Image - most bombastic sub-sonic LFE SPL Fast Peaks around 103-107dB) and the sound didn't hardened up like my ole' Yamaha RX-V1300!!! Pressing PAUSE and the speakers were silent!!!

The 360-degree seamless surround sound was smooth around me, w/more distinct discrete effects, the dialog track was very clear, balanced to the action scenes around it, and it sounded like the Onkyo was breathing life into a very familiar movie soundtrack effortlessly!!!

It's just amazing what the Audyssey 2EQ equalized HT Sounds vs. a manually Referenced Audio Calibration (RS SPL Meter & Test Tone).

I can say that the claims that the Audyssey 2EQ takes into account the speakers, frequency response and HT room interaction during the 3-position measurement process does work, it's amazing!!! It just amazing!!! Posted Image Posted Image

I think some of the problems arose with a few TX-SR606 & PS3 HDMI combinations. I don't have a PS3 so I can't comment on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan X
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. Posted Image

Do you know if the 350 will pass Dolby True HD through the optical cable? It decodes it internally, so I thought maybe.

Unfortunately no, since the optical cable has limited bandwidth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan X
But if I understand right, to get any of the lossless codecs you have to use HDMI. Do you know?

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
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#11 of 92 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted August 13 2008 - 10:44 PM

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

#12 of 92 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted August 14 2008 - 01:18 AM

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!
Joseph
---------------

#13 of 92 OFFLINE   Phil Iturralde

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Posted August 14 2008 - 02:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan X
Thanks Phil. I'll definately have to consider the 606.

Your welcome!

Back to the Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray Player - just remembered (yep, gettin' old! Posted Image ) this little tidbit ...

If you're using a AV Receiver that encodes TrueHD & DTS HD Master Audio via HDMI ... and you want to see "TrueHD" or "DTS HD Master Audio" in your AVR display window, ... then you would set the following in the BDP-S350 ...

1) Setup OPTION:

...a) SETUP / AUDIO SETTINGS / BD Audio Setting = "Direct" (pg. 44 in manual)

------------------

Now, here's the tidbit, ... if you get a Blu-ray movie that includes Bonus View (aka Profile 1.1), ... and one day you want to watch the PiP Special Featurette w/interactive audio / secondary audio - and you WANT TO HEAR the , interactive audio / secondary audio, ...

... then YOU MUST CHANGE THE ABOVE TO ...

1) Setup OPTION:

...a) SETUP / AUDIO SETTINGS / BD Audio Setting = "Mix" (pg. 44 in manual)

-----------

I confirmed the above step with Nim's Island Bonus View disc.

So, with this Blu-ray player, it's not like all HD DVD players - play the PiP featurette and watch, ... it's more like, ...

1) Enter the BDP-S350 Setup
2) CHANGE: AUDIO SETTINGS / BD Audio Setting = MIX
3) Then - play the Movie
4) Select the PiP - Bonus View PiP Featurette option & watch.
5) AFTER watching - Bonus View PiP Featurette
----
6) Enter the BDP-S350 Setup
7) CHANGE: BD Audio Setting = DIRECT
.... a) So you can HEAR "TrueHD" or "DTS HD Master Audio" primary audio
.... b) And see "TrueHD" or "DTS HD Master Audio" in your AVR Display Window! Posted Image

-------------------------------

The reason why we have to go thru the extra steps, the BDP-S350 cannot decode "DTS HD Master Audio" internally, but it can bitstreams "DTS HD Master Audio" to the AVR HDMI as a primary audio ONLY.

Using the option "MIX", as the manual states (pg. 44)

Quote:
Mix: Outputs the audio obtained by mixing the interactive audio and secondary audio to the primary audio"

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
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#14 of 92 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted August 14 2008 - 02:55 PM

Quote:
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!

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 of 92 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted August 15 2008 - 12:45 PM

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 of 92 OFFLINE   Larry Sutliff

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Posted August 16 2008 - 02:56 AM

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 of 92 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted August 16 2008 - 12:09 PM

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 of 92 OFFLINE   PattyFraser

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Posted August 16 2008 - 05:13 PM

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 of 92 OFFLINE   Phil Iturralde

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Posted August 16 2008 - 05:17 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan X
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.

Congrat's on the New Pioneer 1018! You'll love TrueHD & DTS HD Master Audio!!! Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan X
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.

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. Posted Image

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) Posted Image

I can request refunds if the price continues to go down, until Sept. 5th! Posted Image

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
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#20 of 92 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted August 17 2008 - 12:05 AM

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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