Sony BDP-S301/BDP-S300 Blu-Ray Player Review

We received this Blu-ray player along with a few Blu-Ray DVDs for an anniversary present. The BDP-S301 is the same as the BDP-S300 except it is only sold at wholesale outlets like Costco and Sam’s Club. The S301 also includes an HDMI cable.

The Pros: The image looks great. Hands down it is a clean, crisp image, and with the latest firmware updates (click here) supports most audio configurations.

The Cons: This thing is the slowest media player I have ever laid my hands on.

The instructions warn that the initial setup could take 90 seconds to start and after that, start up would be quicker. I suppose they didn’t lie – start up on an everyday basis takes around 40 seconds or more! After that, you can finally eject the tray to insert your movie, or make your way to the menu.

Forty seconds, when you have an impatient toddler wanting to watch Finding Nemo for the 50th time, is similar to taking a short detour through Dante’s 3rd circle of hell.

In addition to that, woe to the consumer who might get a relatively new, $30 Blu-ray movie to play in it. We put in Dan In Real Life (Ok movie, but slow paced) – it proceeds to play the previews, fine. Then it seemingly locks up for a few minutes on a screen with a progress bar that says “loading”. We power down, start the process again. Briefly before the “loading” screen pops up again, it mentions that on older players it could take several minutes to load the menu. Seriously, 3 to 4 minutes later, the menu loads up.

Again, we received 10,000BC (don’t waste your time) in the mail from Blockbuster. Started to play it and we wanted to stop and start it over. I pressed the stop button, and I guess I overloaded the system as it was totally frozen. I had to press the power button for 10 seconds and start the whole process over.

Are you kidding me? This is the worst consumer experience I’ve had in a long time. Maybe I am just an impatient American, but spending 5 minutes waiting for a movie to load up, after having spent that much money on top of the line technology, is a disgrace. Sony should be ashamed that they let this product go to market.

What is it doing during this loading time? Is the Java OS loading all of its unnecessary libraries? Who allowed this to pass by QA?

So my recommendation to anyone looking to buy one of these systems is keep looking! There are more and more choices out there. The PS3 is only $50-$100 more and it loads movies much faster and has many more advanced media features (like streaming audio and video right to the PS3 from other media servers), not to mention all the games you can play on it.

Sony used to be top notch in my opinion when it came to hardware of any kind. However after this incident, I will really have to think twice before getting another Sony product!

Dave Drager

Dave Drager


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