Unsolicited Praise for the Sony BDP-S280 Blu-ray Player

17 12 2011

New rule: [Jerks] can’t write online reviews for anything electronic, ever again.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the idea of online reviews, in that not everyone is going to have the same experience with a given product and it’s nice to know that it’s not just you who got a lemon. And another one after you exchanged it. And another one after that. (Looking at you, Best Buy house brand.)

But fundamentally, don’t submit a 1-star review (out of 5) for a device that serves a primary purpose and bitch moan and groan about how some arcane side feature wasn’t to your liking.

ZOMG this HDTV sucks bcuz it doesn’t render 2180P like my HD cable says it can do waaaaaaah waaaaah

(Product: 720P 32″ HDTV, says it right on the label and the freakin’ BOX)

After my Best Buy nightmare, which I will defy conventional wisdom by not retelling in agonizing detail, I took a flyer on a refurbished Sony BDP-S280 Blu-ray player at the local outlet mall. My thought was that since Sony, you know, invented Blu-ray maybe they have a clue how to make a reliable player.

Hey! They do!

What I Like

  • The menus are modeled after the Sony Playstation 3 console. I don’t have a PS3 but now I can pretend that I do.
  • Features galore, man. Old player = Netflix which I don’t subscribe to, CinemaNow which was a rip-off, Pandora, Napster, and something else. New player = where do I start? YouTube, Hulu, Slacker, Pandora, Amazon Instant Video (big fan), and lots of other audio/video goodness. On the side, that is.
  • Remember how it’s a Blu-ray player? Well it’s awesome for that.
  • It also plays standard DVDs without crashing.

What I Don’t Like

  • The unit is wide. Much wider than my AT&T U-Verse box, and like a yutz I have them stacked the opposite of common sense. However in my defense I wanted to be able to yank the player out of my entertainment unit and yell at the Sony outlet for selling lemons if that was the case. I’ll make time to fix the stacking job someday.
  • The remote doesn’t come with batteries.
  • Entering information into the player (user names, passwords) is like old-school texting, where you seemingly have to press the number keys to scroll through the letters you want to pick from. I found out that you can cursor around and enter the info that way but it was a happy accident that I found that out.
  • Some of the web services are better served up via computer, such as YouTube. It’s a nice perk to see it on the big screen but it didn’t add lots of value. BUT it’s a side feature, not the reason I bought the thing.

The Verdict

People may balk at the fact that wi-fi is not included in the unit by default, BUT, I prefer wired anyway because the connection speeds are fantastic, HD video from Amazon is DVD quality, silky smooth. Plus my router is right next to the TV so stretching an ethernet cable a whole 4 feet isn’t like scaling Everest.

I’m sure there are better Blu-ray players out there but for $55 USD (after taxes) I’m very, very happy.

This is not the player’s cue to shoot sparks out the back and only show “Barney and Friends” clips on a loop.

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