Sometimes your HDTV needs a little help. Sony’s new generations of Blu-ray players deliver a crisp picture and great sound from your HDTV.
Both offer a solid combination of a responsive Blu-ray player and a streaming device.
Sony Wi-Fi Blu-ray Player BDP-S3200
The first surprise: Size. At 265 x 43 x 199 mm (10.44 x 1.70 x 7.84) and weighing .09 kg (2 lbs.), the BDP-S3200 is a diminutive machine. With is compact size, the BDP-S3200’s has lost some components along the way; this is not the player for your old analog TV. The dozen or so analog connectors found at the back of older models are gone. In its place is one connection for the HDMI cable – which is NOT included with the player.
The compact size means there is only room for the disk drawer and that is about it. There is on off/on button and one for opening and closing the drawer and nothing else. All other functions are done using the remote, which is also amazingly compact but fully featured. The best addition by far is the Netflix shortcut for streaming your TV shows and films.
Set-up for DVDs was simple: plug it in, hook up the HDMI cable and you’re ready to go. Playback was instant and the picture really was superior with brilliant colours, crisp details and great sound. What about older technology? I tested our older DVD collection and was pleasantly surprised that the picture was also sharper and the sound more clear, despite their age.
The Sony BDP-S3200 lets you connect to a high number of streaming services. Sony has over 200 services available. I stuck to our favourites: YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Slacker and Pandora.
Setting was easy but on the slow side. Play Station buffs will recognize the XrossMediaBar (XMB) interface used on the BDP-S3200. Navigating through this panel does feel old school, after all, this is an 8-year-old interface. I simply followed the instructions on screen with one mistake. I choose Wired Setup instead of Wireless Setup (built-in) that automatically searches for available networks.
The most irritating part of the set-up: The XMB keyboard that doesn’t show the character shown so you are basically working blind. It took three passes to get both the Internet and Netflix up and running. At times accessing our content and navigating the vertical list of streaming services was slow and made even more irritating by no shortcut keys being available. Our most used channels are at the top of the list but scrolling down through the other icons gets old fast. Hoorah for the Netflix button on the remote.
One of the newest features on both the players is “Screen Mirroring.” This is Sony’s version of Miracast standard that is currently available on some Android and Windows devices. Conceptually this feature is great, but it just didn’t work for our needs and I put that on the back burner of something to play with at a later date.
Overall, we found the Sony Wi-Fi Blu-ray Player BDP-S3200 great for playing DVDs, watching Netflix but could have been faster for streaming. Additional options such as the Miracast screen mirroring and DLNA streaming with support for FLAC, WAV make this a economical entry for streaming direct onto your HDTV. This would be a great alternative for a secondary TV where you wanted to play Blu-rays and occasionally access Internet content.
The faster brother
The more expensive Sony Wi-Fi 3D 4K Blu-ray Player BDPS-6200 has a dual-core processor that speeds everything up. The disc loaded up in under two seconds and response time was faster.
The BDPS-6200 has the same on/off and open/close buttons in triangular gem-like top design but is larger: 36.0 cm x 4.3 cm x19.9 cm (4.2 in x 1.7 in x 7.8 in). in dimension and weighing 2.8 kg (1.3lbs). It’s very portable. Sony Wi-Fi 3D 4K Blu-ray Player BDPS-620 is the machine to get for your 4K Ultra HD experience. I hooked it up to a neighbour’s Sharp AQUOS 60″ 1080p and was blown away by the incredible picture with a heightened sense of depth and incredibly natural shades of color. Faces looked more natural as did the landscapes. I noticed details I had missed watching in a regular format. The Sony, TRILUMINOS™ Display technology was really visible on this player.
I also enjoyed how quickly this player loaded webpages. There was less lag time proving the super Wi-Fi or 802.11 b/g/n was definitely speedy enough for our 1080p video streaming. The dual core processor also offers an IP Content Noise Reduction Pro that made makes low resolution clips from the web look crisper and clearer. Soundtracks were also cleaned up with the Digital Music Enhancer combines that restores high frequency details and lost dynamics in low-bit audio streamed. Although with the XMB platform it was the same tedious process for entering passwords for the initial set-up, the pain was forgiven by the quicker response time. If you are having problems, check your network configurations.
The BDPS-6200 has a few more connections than the BDP-S3200. The rear Ethernet LAN 100 connection means you use can connect directly to your cable or DLS modem. This gives you the most consistent unhindered viewing experience. You may need to re-configure your network settings to get this up and running.
The BDPS-6200 is also equipped with two USB ports, one on the back and one on the front. Unfortunately, you can’t store any information and will need a USB drive plugged on. But the player does steam info from the front USB key quickly with no lags.
I discovered the free Sony BDPS-6200 TV Side View App a bit too late and would have used it instead of the interface. This app for Android devices, iPad and iPhone lets you control the BDPS-6200 player and browse content from and addresses the lack of easy text inputting. It’s a much more user-friendly experience than inputting on the XMB screen.
You can also throw your videos, pictures, and music from your smartphone as well as Facebook and Twitter. You can supersize your social media. The one downside: Phones pics don’t look as great on screen. The Miracast screen mirroring worked better with this model as well. The BDPS-6200 lets you experience lightning-quick playback for DVDs as well as quick web pages loading and media streamer.
Both the Sony Wi-Fi Blu-ray Player BDP-S3200 and the Sony Wi-Fi 3D 4K Blu-ray Player BDPS-6200 lets you enjoy wireless entertainment and web surfer at a low cost with few set-up hassles. It is currently the best of both worlds; it is a responsive Blu-ray player and respectable streaming device.