Blu-ray disc players and Internet TVs have developed a lot in the recent years, and there are more and more features to access online video and music content.
Blu-Ray Playback Made Easy
The advantage of Blu-ray players over media PCs is that they are so much simpler to get started in watching high quality movies with HD audio. It is still relatively complicated to watch Blu-ray discs with media centers.
However, the downside of the network Blu-ray player is the lack of flexibility and customization options which many technology enthusiastic appreciate with the home theater computers.
YouTube inside Your TV
The user interface of the Sony BDP-S480 is simple and reminds of PS3’s user interface. For example, YouTube application works nicely and allows you to access all the video content. YouTube app also plays automatically similar videos in a category or search keyword, so it feels like watching mini TV shows after another.
Other pre-installed apps include live sports, videos, and music from Netflix, Pandora and Hulu.
Inflexible and Restricted
However, the downside is that you are restricted to the applications that come with the player and there are very limited options to customize the user interface and applications.
The Internet browser is a big disappointment. Typing letters with a remote control is pain, and the whole browsing experience is just slow. I would not recommend using the browser feature on the Blu-ray player. Fortunately, there is a downloadable Media Remote app for available for iPhone, iPad, or Android phone which makes typing slightly easier.
Pros and Cons
- Blu-ray playback just works
- Nice YouTube app
- Good Media Remote app for mobile phones
- Network streaming is slow
- Slow Internet browser and awkward remote input
- Separate USB Wireless LAN adapter required
Good Attempt, But Still Far From the HTPC
All in all, network Blu-ray players are a good attempt to bring online video to your TV, but it is still far from the media experience with a media PC.