Sony SMP-N100 review

John Archer

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Sony SMP-N100

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Caters for any age of TV
  • Nice interface
  • Excellent online service

Cons

  • The box looks rather utilitarian
  • Codec support not totally comprehensive
  • Only one USB port

Key Features

  • Set-top box to add network and online streaming to old TVs
  • Built-in wi-fi
  • Bravia Internet Video compatibility
  • USB multimedia playback
  • HDMI, component and even composite video outputs
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £99.95

If 2011 is the year of the Smart TV, then it’s also the year people with TVs more than a couple of years old start to feel a bit hacked off. After all, while people buying new TVs can enjoy extra on-demand video streaming services, apps and even in some cases open Internet browsing on their gogglebox, people who invested in a TV before Smart TV fever took hold will be feeling left out in the cold.

Today, though, we’re looking at a neat little set-top box solution from Sony, the SMP-N100, which can turn even the most ancient of TVs - even CRT ones, for heaven’s sake! - into all-singing, all-dancing multimedia whizzkids.

Sony SMP-N100

One thing the N100 won’t do, though, is make your old TV look more glamorous. Its design is essentially one of those classic little metal ‘laboratory box’ jobs. Sony has tried to disguise the utilitarian nature of the bodywork by shoving a glass-like panel on its fascia, but frankly, they’re not fooling anyone. The best thing that can be said about the N100’s design is that it’s small, so you may be able to hide its drabness out of sight somewhere.

With this in mind, it’s perhaps a pity the N100 ships with an infra-red remote (which requires a line of sight) rather than an RF one. But then RF remotes are hardly common elsewhere in the streamer world, either.

At least the remote control is rather better designed than those found with many streamers, with an intuitive button layout and some decent size to it. It’s a relief to find we’re not expected to navigate the N100’s charms via some tiny, fiddly little ‘credit card’ remote that you’ll spend more time looking for down the back of the sofa than actually using.

The N100’s connections are interesting because of the varied output options they include. Most people reading this site will probably go for the HDMI output, but there’s also a component option and even a composite video option. While we would never recommend a composite connection where anything else is available, the composite feed on the N100 is actually very important, since it enables the box to hook up to just about any TV ever made.

Castalan

May 27, 2011, 2:18 am

Bought one of these at Christmas as Amazon were selling them back then for not much more. Completely agree with the review - windows7 media player playback to the smp-n100 works flawlessly - it's positioned in the bedroom on a 4 year old Sony lcd - and despite the distance form the wireless router, once it has buffered the video stream works extremely well - the BBC iPlayer content is available in HD - but either SD or HD quality are just like watching normal TV on a 22inch.

I just wish they would provide 4OD as well - fingers crossed it comes soon - but overall i love it - and love how it gave a TV which still has a great picture another lease of life with streamed content.

Hamish Campbell

May 27, 2011, 11:33 am

Glad I read through to the verdict, so that I didn't make an arse of myself suggesting that a Sony blu-ray player might be a better option.

Of course to get wifi you'd need the BDP-570 (or newer 580) and this costs a bit more than the 470.

noncorporeal

May 28, 2011, 2:39 am

The BDP-570 is a very nice piece of kit. I use one with a Samsung 51" LED, they work well together. I'd consider this for the mater bedroom 37" Vizio.

comments powered by Disqus