Samsung’s player is a little unusual in terms of design; it’s not intended to sit in a stack, and works best when fixed to a wall, with the illuminated touch-sensitive controls facing you. If the layout of your living room doesn’t allow that, it will sit on top of other things, with or without a stand, though the disc slot on the right hand side may be awkward.
In terms of socketry, it’s the most limited player here – there’s just HDMI, optical audio, composite video, analogue audio, Ethernet and USB ports, plus a connector for the external PSU. This all appears in a small space that can get a bit cramped as you plug more things in. However, it does have a straightforward interface, with a responsive remote and was one of the quickest to load our test discs.
With 1GB built in, there’s no need to add anything to access BD-Live. You can also play a wide range of media, including MKV files, and YouTube is built in too. Oddly, playback from your PC is from an SMB connection, rather than UPnP, and entering passwords or share names using the on-screen keyboard is a chore. If you want something to play back PC media as well as Blu-ray, this is a very handy one-box solution – as long as you can live with the design.
As one of the prime-movers in Blu-ray, you’d expect good things from Sony. There’s a standard selection of outputs – component, composite, HDMI, coax and digital audio – and a front panel that hinges down as the disc tray opens, marring the overall sleek appearance.
Like many of the other players here, the BDP-S360 needs extra memory for BD-Live. Fortunately, the USB port is on the rear, out of the way, so there’s no need to keep the front panel down, or have something sticking out. That said, it lacks support for media other than on disc – so it’s Blu-ray, DVD or CD (audio or photos) only.
If you’ve used a PlayStation, or a Sony Vaio, you may be familiar with Sony’s Cross Media Bar interface. If you haven’t, you’ll quickly come to detest it, and wish you could align the crosshairs on the designer. It’s a misbegotten idea that involves so many changes in directional scrolling you’re liable to become seasick. And to make matters worse, the BDP-S360 has a level of opacity on some settings screens that leaves the previous screen just visible enough to make reading really difficult.
Fans of needless anthropomorphism in domestic appliances will doubtless rejoice at the cheery “See you” message that appears when you turn the player off. The rest of us will whimper in despair at how energies were so clearly directed to the wrong part of interface design. With its quirky interface, and lacking features like YouTube or network media playback, Sony’s player just doesn’t stand out from the crowd. ®
XMB. I like it.
It is a simple and straightforward none-touch interface. Most of my none-gamer mates got used to it immediately.
So let me get this straight...
The PS3 has built in storage, blu-ray, fastest disc load times, iPlayer and much much more at a decent price point but because it has a "gaming remote" El Reg is practically dismissing it out of hand? Despite an official Sony Blu-Ray remote for PS3 being available for £14.99 online (a 10 second Google search BTW).
Another vote for the PS3
Quite apart from the WiFi, web, iPlayer, excellent DLNA facilities, superior upscaling and audio options, massive built in storage, announced upgrade path to 3D, and range of controller options, my PS3 Slim only cost £199.99 from Sainsburys.
Frankly, the standalone players don't even begin to compete with it.
Oh, and it can play games, rent movies and do a ton of other crap too.
WTF? Is there some kind of anti-PS3 agenda we should know about?
Hmm, you seem extremely biased aginst the PS3, despite it offering BD playback on-par with the other players on test, despite it upscaling DVD's better than most of the players on test, despite it offering features like iPlayer, video store, media streaming, Freeeview PVR (which none of the other players offer) in addition to it's gaming capabilities.
Like you mentioned, you can get the players less than list price, but you can pickup the PS3 for less than list price too. Sainsbury had the 120GB PS3 Slim for £199. Why one earth would anyone choose a basic, non(or limited) upgradable player for the same, or more, when the PS3 offers so much and does it so well.
As for marking it down on the basis of a £15 remote, that's just plain pathetic...
PS3 - Gaming remote only?!
I know the PS3 only comes with the sixaxis but you could have at least mentioned that you can get a remote for some extra ££ which makes it feel like a proper player, additionally it's compatible with newer Sony tvs so you don't even need that control if you have one.
Also since when is only having hdmi a downside for a blu-ray player? Isn't it the defacto standard for HD devices playing content with copy protection?
Games and HD content in one box, brilliant :)