"Nicely performing Blu-Ray player"3.5 starson by forkboy
Pros: Price point, built-in Wi-Fi, quick to start (even without quicker start feature enabled), simple remote, automatically changes Input on qualified Sony television to the connection of the player, fairly straight-forward navigation
Cons: Wi-Fi okay (but haven't used it enough to really pass judgment-see bottom-line summary), a bit small (in terms of fitting in with other audio/video components, user manual fairly useless beyond initial set-up
Summary: Purchased at Costco as the BDP-BX57 (included HDMI cable). Confess that the purchase was made in no small part to take advantage of the Netflix streaming option. We had discussed other options (e.g. Roku, etc.), but going with a Blu-Ray player that included streaming services seemed more logical.Enjoyed the first one so much we purchased a second for the bedroom. Still think some of the setting-up could be easier, but also still very much pleased with its performance.
We are very satisfied with the device as a Blu-Ray and/or DVD disc player. It worked well right out of the box and while the menu system might seem a bit strange to many, it is quite comfortable to those (like us) who have been borrowing their child's Sony PS3 to watch Blu-Ray discs.
Physical set-up was as simple and straight-forward as it can be, but there were some hiccups and confusion regarding some of the other set-up parameters. Linking to our Wi-Fi router was both simple and painless, but I was surprised to discover that I would have to visit a Sony web site to link our Pandora and Slacker accounts to the device before we could stream. I had imagined all would be handled directly through the player itself. Regardless, we managed to have everything up and running within an hour, which I consider to be a success by any measure.
One feature I really like, even though it's rather tiny, is that when the player is turned on it will automatically switch our recent-model Sony LCD television to the appropriate input for the player.
Of the discs (both Blu-Ray and DVD) we have watched thus far we have been very, very pleased with the overall picture quality. I'm certain it must have its issues (as illustrated in the CNET review), but for this casual movie watcher the experience, especially in HD, is simply phenomenal.
Regarding the Wi-Fi and streaming video from Netflix, we have only done so once thus far (with the latest firmware installed as of late August 2010) and found the stream quality to be less than what we had anticipated. Overall quality wasn't up to the standard I had expected and we did experience one drop-out near the end of the movie, which required us to restart it and then fast-forward to the appropriate location.
I will add a reply to this review in the future when we have watched more streaming content via Netflix.
Lastly, regarding the streaming of music via Pandora and Slacker. While I do not recall the exact particulars for Slacker, I checked with Pandora regarding the quality of the streaming to what are called "in-home devices" as opposed to a web browser connection. The news wasn't good. Even though the player is connected to the stereo (which sounds much better than my pretty good computer speakers), Pandora's API only supports something like 64kbps streaming to in-home devices, even with a paid account (as opposed to 192kbps for a paid account when streamed through your web browser). I seem to recall that Slacker wasn't much different regarding the streaming quality to an in-home device.
To be frank, I was rather surprised to learn this information and even more disappointed. I had hoped to use the Pandora account via the A/V receiver for the better sound quality, but that appears to be pretty pointless now. The folks at Pandora did indicate that they hope to offer higher bit-rate quality audio to in-home devices in the future. As to when that is... ?
Updated on Mar 1, 2011
Wi-Fi reliability is difficult to determine as the issue could be with Netflix instead. Regardless, streaming Netflix via Wi-Fi on these players hasn't been perfect. Will have to wait and see how this shakes out over time as to whether it is a Netflix issue or player one.
End result: I'd buy it again. Which I did.