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Sony BDP-S3100 review

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Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100
  • Sony BDP-S3100

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Good feature list for the money
  • Slick and easy to use
  • Sony Entertainment Network

Cons

  • Lags behind Samsung on smart content
  • No 3D or DivX support
  • Limited DLNA format support

Key Features

  • Sony Entertainment Network
  • 2D Blu-ray playback
  • TV Side View app
  • DLNA file streaming
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £109.00

What is the Sony BDP-S3100?

It’s a Blu-ray player from the lower reaches of Sony’s current range, offering a step-up from the entry-level BDP-S1100. It’s not 3D capable but is designed to provide an easy way of watching hi-def movies in the bedroom or living room – and with built-in Smart functionality it does much more than just play Blu-ray discs.

Sony BDP-S3100

Sony BDP-S3100 – Design

What jumps out straight away is the BDP-S3100’s size – at 290mm it’s about half the width of most Blu-ray decks, which makes it perfect for second room use. The design is also a refreshing break from the norm. Called ‘Sense of Quartz’ it’s inspired by the look of rock crystals, which explains the sharp angles and slopes at the front and sides. This gives it a flashy, futuristic look, augmented by a sleek gloss-black finish.

Build quality is surprisingly good for such an affordable player. The bodywork is fashioned from aluminium, making it feel sturdy enough, although like most budget players it’s still light.

Sony BDP-S3100

Along the front slope are four buttons for power, play, stop and open/close. These are stiff and clunky but being a budget model touch-sensitive controls were probably out of the question. The disc tray shoots forth from the front panel, where it’s joined by a USB port for media playback.

Sony BDP-S3100 – Connections

On the back is a typically sparse selection of sockets for a budget deck. There’s an HDMI output of course, which pipes 1080p video and HD audio to a TV and receiver, alongside a coaxial digital audio output and Ethernet port. Sounds stingy, but for most users it should be more than enough.

Sony BDP-S3100

Another major bonus is that the BDP-S3100 features built-in Wi-Fi, so there’s no need to buy and connect a LAN dongle to access the deck’s generous range of network features.

Sony BDP-S3100 – Features

Heading the bill is the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) portal, which provides a range of internet apps for your entertainment. The list is long and varied, taking in everything from video and music sites to social networking, games and puzzles. But the standouts are BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Sky News, Love Film, Netflix and YouTube, plus Video and Music Unlimited, Sony’s on-demand movie/music services.

Sony BDP-S3100

While its selection puts many Blu-ray decks to shame, this year Sony has been usurped as the king of web content by Samsung, whose F series Blu-ray decks offer a full range of terrestrial catch-up TV services (BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand 5). Sony will need to address this if it wants to keep pace with its Korean rival.

The BDP-S3100 can also stream movies, music and photos from networked servers, such as PCs and NAS drives, or play them from a USB storage device. The list of playable video formats is decent, including AVCHD, AVI, MKV, MP4, MPEG-1/2/4, XviD and WMV. On the music side MP3, AAC, WMA, LPCM and FLAC are supported, plus JPEG, PNG and GIF photos.

It’s not completely problem free, however – hi-def WMV and AVI files were downgraded to a blurry resolution when streamed (which isn’t the case from USB), you can’t stream MKV over a network and Sony’s lack of support for DivX continues to grate.

Download Sony’s TV Side View app on an Android or Apple device and you can use it to control the player over your network. There’s a QWERTY keyboard and a Free Cursor system that works like a mouse.

It also enhances your viewing experience by showing you real-time details about the disc you’re watching. You can post about it on social networking sites and access other internet apps through your device – although we’re not sure why you’d do that when the device you’re using can already access the internet…

Rounding up the feature list is a surprisingly responsive web browser (but still more hassle than firing up a laptop) and Triluminos Colour, which boosts colour depth on a compatible display.

Keith Bowman

November 17, 2013, 4:07 am

the apps seem to be missing on mine so no streaming possible. connecting to internet service keeps timeing out and going no were wont stream

trimmerman

November 21, 2013, 6:26 am

I just got the thing today. We actually have a similar one. It's a few years old and It's wired. We recently discovered that it works great for Netflix. We don't have to tie up a computer to run Netflix and it's simple. Very similar to any other video controller you have. So we started to wonder if there was one that is wireless, sure enough there is! It's got a great picture and is really fast. Not having to wire it opens up your world.

As for internet, well? It is theoretically possible but it's painful. I believe any used $100.00 PC would outperform this device as a computer. However, that cheap computer would in no way compare to the Model # BDP-S3100 downloading and streaming video. So there is a point here about using modern devices for what they are good at and not trying to force them uphill into tasks that will have disappointing results. Grab an HDMI cable before you leave the store, it doesn't come with one.

wullie

December 31, 2013, 1:18 pm

Got this brand new from Pixmania for £74.90 including postage, best I could find.

RO

January 27, 2014, 6:37 pm

I need to hook up an extender (I think) the router is too far from the player, is an extender a possibility? if so which ones will work?

Miyako O'Conner

April 7, 2015, 10:15 am

Great article Danny .:) For those who live outside US like me, you can access Netflix, Hulu and similar media stations on your Sony Blu Ray player by using UnoTelly or similar tools.

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