The Internet link means that firmware updates can be 'pushed' automatically, or you can use a USB stick to copy them from a PC. While some recent players can access plenty of on-line content – including the BBC iPlayer in HD in Sony’s case – options are limited to just YouTube with the BDP-330. It’s not so much a ‘walled garden’ approach, more of a window box. That said, its YouTube playback looks fine, even enlarged on a 42in TV, though it plods through the menu options compared to Panasonic’s speedy rival players.
No iPlayer support as yet, but will play MP3s, photos and BD-Live content
The roster of other features is not huge and some are straightforward conveniences. The quick-start option uses 7W of power in standby (instead of virtually zero) and merely speeds up the player's readiness rather than accelerating Blu-ray disc loading times, which can still clock up between 30 and 60 seconds.
The player’s HDMI output is version 1.3, which means, among other reasons, that it’s not 3-D ready. However, it does bring some refinements, including Deep Colour (improved colour gradations) and x.v.Colour (wider colour gamut) as long as your display and the source material are compatible too.
Blu-ray’s digital audio formats – DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD – can be output as a native bitstream or decoded internally by the player and piped through HDMI as multi-channel Linear PCM. It lacks analogue multichannel sockets for feeding non-HDMI amps with uncompressed audio, but you’ll at least get basic flavours of Dolby Digital and DTS from the optical port.
The BDP-330 boasts the latest iteration of Pioneer’s Precision Quartz Lock System (PQLS) for jitterless transmission of all sound over HDMI, including multichannel LPCM and bitstream. Previous versions of the technology only worked with two-channel LPCM, making it ideal for CDs but not for films.
YouTube playback is included, along with Wi-Fi support with an optional dongle
PQLS removes jitter (clock timing errors) that could cause distortion during the final digital-to-analogue conversion in an AV receiver before outputting to loudspeakers. You’ll also need a compatible higher end Pioneer receiver, such as the £700 VSX-LX52, to use it in more than stereo mode, though.
Still far too expensive
Blu-Ray has been around for about 4 years now and it's still impossible to find a player (let alone a recorder) for under 50 pounds. At almost 300 pounds, the pricing of this should be considered "high-level" and not "mid-level" nowadays, but the prices of players/recorders have been moving far too slowly downwards really.
The problem Blu-Ray is now having is that average net speeds have been climbing more quickly than its price has been dropping, so there will come a point in the next few years where end-users will consider HD movie downloads as a viable option (they aren't really at the moment).
Blu-Ray movie discs need to cost the *same* as DVDs, IMHO - this would encourage more people to buy Blu-Ray players and drive the price of the players down more quickly. There has to be several "cheap and cheerful" 50 quid Blu-Ray players out on the market in the next year or two or Net downloads will start to hit the Blu-Ray market, IMHO. And I haven't even touched on the fact that most people think DVDs are "good enough" (especially whilst the discs and players are notably cheaper than Blu-Rays).
BD player vs PS3
As much as I hate Sony I can't understand how one could buy a BD player that doesn't have wi-fi nor any internal memory but costs more than a PS3 (that has the same or better audio or video specs).
Can't find mention in your review anywhere, does it have Source Direct for video output?
How fast is it?
I recently rented a film from iTunes on my ATV, I had to wait 4 hours before I could watch it, clearly downloads aren't really practical yet, however the wait was nearly as long as it take for my Sony BDP-S550 to power up, eject the drawer, load the disc and start the film.