Review Price £99.95
Sony SMP-N100 - Impressive online services
The key services we’re talking about are Sony’s Qriocity video and music on demand platforms (though at the time of writing these remain closed while Sony tries to fix security issues); the BBC iPlayer, the ‘Demand 5’ Channel 5 catch up service, a Sky News headline news video package, LoveFilm, Eurosport, YouTube, the Billabong extreme sports ‘channel’, and Sony’s own Entertainment Television archive, featuring free access to a host of classic Sony-owned TV series.
There’s actually a ton of other stuff besides, but the list above covers the highlights. It’s likely, too, that other services will get added to BIV’s cloud-based servers in the coming months - though not being party to Sony’s plans in this regard, we can’t make any promises.
Suddenly having so much on-demand video material at your disposal when you’ve likely never experienced on-demand viewing before will come as a revelation to many of the N100’s target audience. And it again underlines why we’d always take a few extra video content sources over any number of silly game or infotainment apps when it comes to ‘smart’ TV services. Especially when the N100s’ video is delivered - even in HD if your screen and broadband speed are up to it - with consistently pleasing quality and stability.
The final point to add is that although the N100 wasn’t quite as intuitive to set up as we’d like and dropped its network connection a couple of times, it’s still for the most part straightforward to use, thanks to the both the remote control and the clean, colourful and mostly logical presentation of its onscreen menus.
In an ideal world the BIV content might have been presented more succinctly than just putting everything in a long, scroll-down list, but this is only a minor irritation really.
There’s room for improvement with the N100, certainly, and you might also consider that you can get Sony Blu-ray players offering broadly similar functionality for - in the case of the Sony BDP-S480 - only around £50 more.
However, if £100 is your budget, then the N100 is a simple and effective way of dragging your aging relic of a TV kicking and screaming into 2011.
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