At just £229, Sony’s S350 is the cheapest Blu-ray player in this group, so it’s the obvious choice if you’re looking for an affordable entry into the world of high-definition movies. Sony is even throwing in a couple of free films if you buy it from the Sony online store at the moment - while stocks last.
It’s also the smallest player we’ve seen so far – about the same size as our Sky + box – so it’ll fit comfortably into your existing living room set-up. The S350 supports Blu-ray Profile 1.1 straight out of the box, but it’s got an Ethernet network connector so that you can download a software update for the latest Profile 2.0 features.
Both image and audio quality are excellent, and the only minor compromise that’s been made to keep the price down is that the S350 supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD audio formats, but not the DTS HD Master Audio format supported by more expensive players such as Panasonic’s BD50. However, only serious home cinema buffs will miss that, and the S350 is hard to beat if you simply want an affordable, high-quality Blu-ray player.
I assume you havn't checked out the latest 80GB PS3. 90w power consumption (nominal), 110W (under load). That's pretty darn low. The latest units are what I would call silent (from normal viewing distances).
Consider the 360 draws twice that...
It's also worth pointing out that CNN gave the PS3 a A Rating for it's Blu-ray abilities, beating every standalone on test. (not like the audiophile snob test that they did here).
PS3 not getting highest marks
There is one flaw with the PS3 playing films.
Because of the sheer power, size and activity of the machine it generates quite a few watts on heat, all of which need to be removed. Now, when I was working at EA the PS3s were all actually rather loud, now while this doesn't really affect gaming, I can imagine hearing that whine of the fan while watching, for instance a quiet crime thriller, maybe off putting. However, the development PS3 kits we had would also "spin down" when they weren't actually being used much, which I hope is a feature of the retail boxes (as I'll be ordering one very soon).
With standalone BD-players I see the need for a wifi connection as more important than with the PS3... afterall the people who are happy to have cables running the building (or already have cables running the building) are more likely to want a games console.
With myself retiring from high-end PC gaming (what with the rebranding of games as HD, as if my 1600x1200 PC wasn't high enough definition) and the (what I think) disaster of Vista, the PS3 is one hell of a bargain.
@Tezfair and a few other luddites
"I read that in the US all this DVD technology is being ditched in favour of Broadband HD content. Seems that HD style DVDs will end up the same way as the minidisc. Glad I didn't rush out to get one!"
Dewd....get real, we're gonna be waiting a very very long time before the UK's broadband infrastructure can cope with HD downloads that the whole country can realistically use. It's pie in the sky that one. I agree with AC, these so-called HD downloads aren't much better than DVD quality, if at all.
To the rest of you luddites moaning about DRM and this and that (and you haven't even got any HD kit evidently!), sorry guys you have no clue. I got my PS3 hooked up to my Onkyo TX605, a 40" Samsung 1080p with 5.1 sounds delivered by my B&W 620 series, a matching HTM-62 centre unit and a Rel Quake. It's utterly awesome. Hell I don't even go to the cinema any more because this is way better, I can sit in the comfort of my own house with some mates get pished and enjoy some hi-def action all for the cost of a £3.75 rental HD-BR.
Paris....because she probably enjoys some 5.1 action as well.