Here we are again, another year and another new budget Blu-ray player from Sony. It seems like we’ve been writing about these models forever, but it’s only been five years since the BDP-S350 was introduced as the brands first real budget model. This year though, the Japanese giants have introduced their latest model, in the form of the Sony BDP-S390, with a few differences.
New model, new styling
Sony are well and truly moving away from the smart monolith design concept they introduced a few years ago and have introduced a much more rounded design this year. The curved top is similar to the styling we saw in the BDV-E380 home cinema system, but it seems to look somehow more finished on this player. Whilst the design looks good we do have some reservations about the practicality of it – if you store other gadgets on top of your player, then expect them to slowly slide off the front!
Overall the design is very polished, and it’s nice to see a different type of material being used rather than the plain matt or glossy black we’re used to. As you can see from the images, the playback buttons sit nicely on top of the machine and are perfectly integrated into the design. It’s small too at only 320mm wide, by 200mm deep and 43mm high so will tuck away if you need it to.
Fully networked and ready to stream – straight out of the box
Network ready players are a necessity now, and with the growth of movie and tv streaming service, it is important that brands embrace this fully. Sony have pulled out the stops this year, and have really surprised us including built in Wi-Fi on the S390, saving the buyer the bother of having to spend an additional £60 on a wireless dongle. This is a really good move by Sony and with the plethora of built in streaming services in the player, such as LoveFilm, BBC iPlayer and YouTube, it will make it easier and quicker to get streaming.
The online aspect doesn’t end there though with DLNA support you’ll be able to play videos from your PC, and stream off your iPhone or Android phone too – which you can also use as a remote control by downloading the free Media Remote app.
A whole host of standard features too
No review would be complete without a run down of the standard features, and the S390 doesn’t really surprise here – a front USB socket, DVD upscaling to near HD quality and high definition audio support are all pretty standard these days, but at least they’re here. The rear of the player also comes with the standard digital coaxial output, and enthernet socket if you can connect a network cable to your router.
What to consider…
That curved top does look great but won’t be that great if you need to store iPod docks or smaller media streamers on top. There is also no optical or component outputs on this player so we’re starting to see the death of these two non HD cable types already. There is also no DivX support at the moment which seems an odd omission – XviD playback is possible though if you don’t mind doing a batch of converting.
Why you should buy the Sony BDP-S390
The Blu-ray player market has changed a lot in the last 12 months and with media streaming starting to become much more popular, Sony really had to up their game and come up with a player that could do much more, straight out of the box. They’ve managed to succeed in this goal with built in Wi-Fi finally being included on the entry level model. This, combined with a design that is very easy on the eye, should keep them ahead of the cheaper supermarket players that are starting to arrive – for this year anyway… Rating: /5