Sony BDP-S360 Blu-ray Player - (A Great Entry-Level
Released in 2009, the BDP-S360 from Sony is a great entry level Blu-ray Player. While it does not provide any features beyond the basics, the BDP-S360 is a Profile 2.0 player that supports BD-Live Content, Bonus View(PIP) and has excellent image and audio quality. Lacking online internet streaming media services, Wi-Fi connectivity or DLNA support, the BDP-S360 focuses all its attention on High Definition Blu-ray and DVD playback. You will have to look elsewhere if you want extra features.
Small in its design, the BDP-S360 is only 16.9 inches wide by 2.2 inches high and 8.1 inches in depth. It is a combination of a sleek glossy finish with touches of conservative elements. It will not be a standout feature in your Home Entertainment theater, but should blend in nicely. The dark, glass like front panel flips open, revealing the disc loading tray. The player itself does not have many controls, you will have to use the Remote Control to navigate the player's operations. The remote is easy to use but does not have a Open/Close button which might not appeal to some consumers. A universal remote can be used to remedy this as the BDP-S360 will support receiving an Open/Close IR command.
Most of the inputs and outputs are located on the back of the player, including a USB Port. It is important to note that this USB Port is recessed into the player, encompassed by plastic. This small opening will not support larger USB devices.
Video Quality: The BDP-S360 has a HDMI Output, a Component Video Outputs, and Composite Video Outputs. HDMI will provide great images with resolution options of 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, and 1080p/24. You can choose between three different types of picture modes - Standard, Brighter Room and Theater Room and choose types of noise reduction. For your DVD playback, it offers up scaling to near High Definition levels.
Audio Quality: Audio connections are the HDMI Output, Digital Outputs (Optical and Coaxial) and 2.0-ch Analog Outputs. Unfortunately, the BDP-S360 does not have 7.1-ch Analog Audio Outputs, so you can not connect to a non HDMI Audio/Video Receiver. However, the BDP-S360 does have internal audio decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and can transfer these High Resolution audio formats in their native bitstream form through a HDMI cable, for a Audio/Video Reviver to decode. Audio can be adjusted by using the A/V Sync, the Dynamic Range Compression options and an audio filter for analog signals.
On the back of the Blu-ray Player is an Ethernet Port to connect to the internet. This will allow access to any BD-Live content found on certain Blu-ray Discs and for firmware updates. Downloading any BD-Live content will require an external storage device, such as a USB Flash Drive, since the BDP-S360 has no internal storage memory. The USB Port does not support playback of any digital music or photos. But the BDP-S360's disc drive does support the following - BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, MP3, and JPEG playback.
While the lack of any streaming Video On Demand services puts the BDP-S360 at a disadvantage with other entry level Blu-ray Players. It more than makes up for it by proving great image and audio quality on Blu-ray and DVD playback. If you are not interested in any VOD features, the BDP-S360 may be a good fit for you.
THE PROS: Sony's BDP-S360 Blu-ray Player is a Profile 2.0 player. It has internal audio decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio Essential. It produces great image quality on Blu-ray disc.
THE CONS: New Blu-ray models provide online streaming services such as Netflix or Vudu. Has an Ethernet Port but no Wi-Fi. Strangely no eject button on the remote, which can be annoying. Load times are slow compared to it contemporary models.
THE FINAL WORD: Sony's BDP-S360 provides great video and audio quality on playback of Blu-ray discs. But it does not have online streaming media and slower load times. --Price you should look for when purchasing -- Under $150.00