It’s one of Sony’s latest midrange Blu-ray players, positioned between the top-end BDP-S5100 and great-value BDP-S1100. Going by usual model number protocol, you’d expect it to be a step up from the BDP-S3100, but actually they sit parallel – both sell for the same price, but the S4100 offers certain features not found on the S3100 and vice versa. We’ll outline these in the features section.
Like all of Sony’s 2013 Blu-ray decks, the BDP-S4100 sports the gorgeous Sense of Quartz design, with a series of sloping facets on the top panel that look a bit like rock crystal. This, combined with the alluring gloss-black finish, give it a fresh, eye-catching appearance. On the sloping front panel you’ll find a tight but legible LED panel, a covered USB port and a disc tray.
What also sets the BDP-S4100 apart from the competition is its size – at 360mm wide, it’s slimmer than regular players, which could pay dividends if you don’t have much room to play with in your AV cabinet. The bodywork’s plasticky feel is typical of players at this price, but it’s all firmly bolted together and robust enough to withstand the rigours of day-to-day use.
The rear panel is identical to that of the BDP-S5100 and houses an HDMI v1.4 output, a coaxial digital audio output, an Ethernet port and second USB port. If you crave a second HDMI output or analogue audio outputs we recommend checking out the flagship BDP-S790, which continues from last year.
As we mentioned earlier, the BDP-S4100 and BDP-S3100 are identically priced. The BDP-S4100 adds SACD and 3D Blu-ray playback but lacks the built-in Wi-Fi found on the BDP-S3100, which is why their prices are the same.
So if you want to access the BDP-S4100’s network functionality, you’ll need to connect its Ethernet port to your router or invest in Sony’s UWA-BR100 wireless LAN adapter (£65 approx), which also explains why the BDP-S4100 sports a second USB port on the rear panel but the S3100 doesn’t.
This mix ‘n’ match approach is useful as you can pick the player that best suits your needs without having to pay for extraneous features. But if you want 3D, SACD and built-in Wi-Fi, then obviously the £139 BDP-S5100 is the deck for you.
For a more detailed run-down of Sony’s internet and streaming features, check our reviews of the BDP-S3100 and BDP-S5100 as they’re identical here. But in a nutshell Sony’s internet portal (Sony Entertainment Network) offers an excellent selection of content, with BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, YouTube, LoveFilm and Netflix as the highlights.
The deck’s DLNA certification means you can also stream music, video and photos from servers on your home network, with a list of supported formats that includes XviD, WMV, AVCHD, MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, JPEG, GIF and PNG, all of which can also be played from flash drives and external HDDs (NTFS and FAT32) connected to either USB port. You can’t stream MKV files but you can play them from USB, while DivX and FLAC aren’t supported at all.
Otherwise the BDP-S4100 does everything you’d expect of a Blu-ray player, outputting HD audio formats in bitstream or PCM, upscaling DVD to 1080p and converting 2D to 3D on a compatible TV. There’s no 4K upscaling though.