547 of 564 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2011
While I do like the Sony SMPN200 unit and am very happy with it, I did list some Possible Show Stoppers at the bottom that are worth a quick read. These are some limitations of the product that result in some people returning it. My goal isn't to convince you whether to buy or avoid this product, but instead to provide factual pros and cons so you can make that decision yourself.
The following are my detailed findings and experiences. My intended usage is primarily Hulu Plus and video streaming from my Windows 7 x64 machine which can include Windows 7 TV recordings (.wtv files), and rips from DVD and BluRay discs which can include .mp4, .m2ts and MPEG file types. My home network is all wired gigabit with Cat6 cable so it is as fast and as stable as you can get. I am not testing the wireless capabilities since I use wired connections, but there are other positive reviews that are based on wireless. I do contrast the unit at times to the WD TV Live since I actually tested both products.
1. Does support Divx after upgrading to the latest firmware that was released on 2011-Nov-30. It even appears on the divxpro10 web site and there are other articles dated November or later documenting that divx is supported and "works perfectly". The reviewers that dinged the unit for lacking this capability were testing the unit before this firmware was available. I don't normally use Divx, and this codec has had many flavors over the years, but as a test I downloaded two .AVI movies (Time Changer and Grandmas Boy) from a site called divxcrawler and both of these played perfectly for me from an attached USB drive and when streamed from my Windows 7 computer. There are also other reviewers stating they play Divx using this device both from USB devices and over DLNA.
2. The popular negative reviewer of this product (who admits they didn't test using DLNA) warns that certain file types and hi-definition files aren't supported over DLNA. This simply isn't true. I have personally tested Bluray quality files (1080p and hi bit rates) using MPEG2, WMV9 and MPEG-4/H.264/AVC codecs. File types I tested with include: mpg, m2ts, mp4, wmv, ts, wtv. If this were an actual limitation of the product I would have given it a single star rating.
3. Supports the Amazon Instant Video service. If you are interested in this service, which is free for Amazon Prime members, then this is a major plus of this unit over the WD TV Live product.
4. Excellent picture quality. It was substantially better than the WD TV Live and probably the biggest factor in my decision to keep this unit over the WD TV Live. (Samsung 40" LED TV and HDMI connection).
5. Handles all file types I tested with ease including 1080p high bit rate videos (up to 24mbps) and hi frame rates (up to 60fps). I could pause, fast forward, reverse, and it would always correctly resume to normal play with no issues. For me, and when used as a network streamer, the WD TV Live had issues with these tests and froze and hung up a few times. Also, the WD TV Live completely chokes on .wts files (Windows 7 TV recordings) and this has been confirmed by other reviewers.
6. Easy setup. Automatically connected and found my Windows Media Center and PlayOn servers.
7. Upgrading firmware was easy, although oddly the unit just shuts down after upgrading instead of restarting which at first made me think something had gone wrong.
8. Supports DTS Audio for streaming video files which the PS3 does not - for example from "passthrough" encoded m2ts Blu-rays files. The PS3 apparently only supports this from an actual Blu-ray disc and not when streaming. Hopefully they will fix that for the PS3.
9. Noiseless since it has no fan like a PS3 or Xbox.
10. Hulu Plus app is actually more advanced than the PS3. When a video queues up it indicates the video bit rate, and exactly how much time before a commercial will start. If you fast forward you can actually see how far you can go before it will force you to watch a commercial. Obviously not "must have" features but pretty cool. Streaming quality is excellent and with surround sound.
11. Contrary to another reviewers claim, the unit does read subfolders on a USB drive. I am able to play videos and music from both the root folder AND from subfolders; however, with a USB connection it will only support 3 subfolders deep which really means you have 4 levels to work with. When using DLNA the limit is 18 subfolders deep. I created 10 subfolder levels as a test on my Windows machine (more levels than I will ever need) and it worked fine with those.
12. The following are the file types are listed in the manual: mpg, mpeg, m2ts, mts, mkv, mp4, m4v, wmv, asf, avi, mp3, m4a, wma, wav. It also plays the following types perfectly for me: wtv, dvr-ms, ts. I tested these types containing hi-def MPEG2 and H.264/MP4 videos.
1. I've seen some critiques that this product doesn't support free Hulu content. NO STREAMING UNIT, TV, TABLET, PHONE OR BLURAY PLAYER SUPPORTS FREE HULU CONTENT. Hulu blocks the free content from everything except a computer browser. Any non-computer device that supports Hulu actually supports HuluPlus which costs $8 a month. This is strictly enforced by Hulu and not any of the device manufacturers. Even if you get a device with a Flash enabled browser (like an Android Phone, PS3, Google TV device like the Logitech Revue, etc) then Hulu will block it from playing videos. So while technically this is a Con, this is also a limitation for ALL other competing devices.
2. A feature that isn't important to me but I have seen WD TV Live fans gripe about: The unit will not attach to Windows shared folders, only to "server" shares like from Windows Media Center, Windows Media Player, PlayOn, Nero Home, Tversity, etc.
3. The Hulu/Netflix interface is getting highly criticized by fans of other products. Instead of showing fewer and larger images with titles directly under each image, there are more smaller images with the text for the selected video shown across the bottom of the screen. I would prefer the interface implemented for the PS3, but my wife actually likes the implementation for the SMPN200 better. Regardless, it is an easy to use interface.
4. I don't know whether to blame this on Nero Recode software or the SMPN200, but it won't play surround-sound-audio for videos created with Nero Recode (versions 10 or 11) that are encoded as H.264 (the most common MP4 codec currently in use). Stereo videos created with Nero Recode play fine such as those that can also play on a phone or tablet. Surround sound videos created with VideoReDo (using the exact same codecs) play perfectly. Also as stated above, it plays surround sound perfectly from m2ts/bluray and DVD files, from Hulu, and from TV recorded with Windows 7, so Nero is doing something that makes its surround sound audio incompatible with the SMPN200.
Possible Show Stoppers:
1. If you have a tiny TV or poor eyesight, then you probably won't find the interfaces for Hulu and Netflix acceptable. Instead of showing fewer and larger images with titles directly under each image, there are more and smaller images with the text for the selected video shown across the bottom of the screen. You would be able to read the text from a distance, but the images would just be useless blurs. I have a 32 inch TV in my bedroom, and a 40 inch TV in the living area, and for both of these the Hulu and Netflix interfaces are fine even when viewed across the room.
2. Apparently there is no subtitle/closed captioning support except for Sony BIVL (Brava Internet Video Link) content, and of course unless subtitle contents are embedded on the video files themselves. If this ever changes with a firmware update I'll change the review accordingly, but if this is an important feature you'll want to skip this product.
3. Is not compatible with streaming videos using PlayOn. It will connect to PlayOn and navigate all menus and video selection lists just fine; however, when you select a video the unit freezes and must be unpluged to recover. I searched the PlayOn forums and found a post describing the exact same behavior. Oddly I have read that the older SMPN100 unit does work with PlayOn.
4. No surround sound from Netflix streaming. The unit does support surround sound, and it supports it for Hulu, but for some reason only stereo from Netflix. There is no way to know if this this will be corrected with a future update from Netflix (yes they provide the client), so if this is a critical factor for you then skip it.
5. No support for ISO files. If you want to copy ISO image files of DVDs/Blurays to a USB hard drive then skip this unit. This would place you in the crowd of users that want to buy a very large dedicated hard drive (since you need 5-to-7GB per DVD and 17-to-50GB per Bluray), and those that buy specialized software that lets you create these files from copy protected DVDs and Blurays. This unit will read and play entire uncompressed DVDs/Blurays copied to a hard drive (such as can be done with products like DVDFab), but not when copied to an ISO image file.
6. Web browser. If you have an expectation of easily searching and surfing the web using a simplistic DVD style remote as though you are in front of a PC with a full-blown keyboard, then skip this unit. If your goal is to play Flash videos using the built in web browser (as opposed to using the built in Hulu and Youtube players) then skip this unit. Also skip the WD TV Live if these are your expectations as it doesn't have a browser at all.
7. With a USB connection it will only support 3 subfolders deep which really means you have 4 levels to work with. If your primary intended usage is a large dedicated USB drive with a large collection of videos organized deeper than 3 subfolder levels then you won't be happy with this unit. The WD TV Live will better suite this type of user. However, if you are sharing/streaming content from a computer then this subfolder limitation doesn't apply. I created 10 subfolder levels as a test on my Windows machine (more levels than I will ever need) and it worked fine with those.
279 of 321 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2011
I picked up the Sony SMP-N200 looking to find a good solution for playing local media while also having a good amount of choices for internet streaming as well. I own 3 Roku units right now, and by far they are the best internet streamers out there, but they have a very limited range of codec support so aren't ideal at all for local playback. I also have a WD TV Live Plus, which is terrific for local playback file support, but it's interface is terrible. Other quirks it has left me shopping around for other alternatives.
In that search I had purchased and returned the Logitech Revue because it was rather cumbersome to use and lacked local playback flexibility. I did really like the Chrome browser so when I saw the introduction of the new Sony also had an internet browser I was sold.
When it arrived it was very easy to set up and get online. I noticed the box is larger than other boxes I had, and the remote was so lite it was almost weightless. I did worry right of the bat that either I would accidentally break it, as it felt more like a toy than a real remote control. Apparently the augmented version of the Xbar UI from the PS3 used in the smp-n100 is unchanged in this new model. It wastes alot of screen real estate and is small enough that unless you're right up on the TV or are using it on a large screen it's difficult to read. This is a criticism that Cnet also gave it in their own review. The Netflix app, which is customized by Sony suffers from the same. Very small cover art and text that is tiring to continuously squint at. The Hulu Plus app works well, but the Amazon Instant Video app has no rhyme or reason to how things are sorted in the Prime Streaming selections that it too was more pain that it was worth to find what you were looking for. The global streaming search function is a great idea, but in my use it only showed matches to queries from its lesser-known streaming channels and none of the main ones.
The unit does include a very nice Vudu app, but for my tastes there really isn't anything coming out now days that I want to spend their high prices to see. Sony Unlimited Movies and Music is also on the box but I didn't bother to try because honestly I didn't want to give Sony my credit card info lol.
Besides the big providers mentioned, the majority of the other streaming channels were basically worthless throwaways that no one would spend any time watching. One "channel" (I can't remember the name) of tech reviews had seven videos of reviews in total of products that were all dated from 2008. Certainly gave me a glimpse at the expected update frequency.. Also, the Bravia Internet selection is not included on this unit, so if that's what you're expecting you will be disappointed.
The local playback was a mixed bag. The box could do DLNA (which I did not try) because I have my media on a small usb hard drive. As a caution to anyone looking for DLNA functionality, the manual does state that there are file types it can not support over DLNA that it will otherwise support over usb such as WMV9 and AVCHD, and it can only play standard definition over DLNA for some other file types as well. You may want to look up the manual on Sony's website to make sure it can handle your particular application.
With USB the first thing I noticed is that because the Sony has no way to mount or unmount the drive, you must plug or unplug any usb attachment while the unit is off. This is highlighted in the user manual as a must in order to avoid corruption of the usb device and/or files on it. Meaning that you can not even change thumbdrives/hard drives unless you power the whole unit off. Curiously, a few times the unit did not recognize at all the same flash drive that had worked previously in it. I was also dismayed to see that the Sony did not support all the .jpg image thumbnails of coverart for the video or audio files, so then every movie was just a default icon.
Furthermore, I found that it would not play many .avi files I had (that would play on the WD) because apparently Sony does not support the divx codec. I did not realize what type of video was in the AVI container files at the time, just that I had files that I wanted to play. It was only upon investigation of the codecs of the files that wouldn't play did I find out the issue. In all fairness, that codec is not listed in the manual as being supported so that one is really my fault for not realizing before I bought. The issue is, one shouldn't have to think about whether the codec in their AVI is compatible or not. If the box says it plays AVIs then many users assume it will play all files that end in ".avi".
As an aside It also does not play DVD ISO files, the primary way that I archived my dvds. I knew that going in, but just in case that is a requirement for the reader I wanted to mention it. I had begun ripping all my DVDs to H.264 MP4 files also so I could watch them on my Roku, and possibly on my iPhone, but I found that to be an arduous and lengthy process. I've also come to the realization that I'm probably never going to sit and watch a 2 hour movie on my phone, and if I do I'll just go to Netflix.
The Opera browser, the biggest reason I went for it over another capable box, is terrible. Navigation with the remote is awkward and cumbersome, and the biggest kicker is that it is not flash capable!?. I was under the assumption that the whole reason for having a browser on your TV is so you could point it at web page video and view it, but apparently that is not the case. I did chat with a Sony support rep and they stated there was not going to be support for a flash plugin.
Even for the core functionality it has, it gets a lot of the small things wrong. All those small things add up to a sizable frustration using the device for the average user. The problem with the Sony is it doesn't do anything particularly well. If you are looking for internet streaming only, local playback only, or both, frankly other boxes can do it much better. The only real thing it has over competing boxes is 3D capability, so if you have a 3D TV or are interested in getting one this is the only option for 3D streaming. Be forewarned though that there really isn't much if anything in 3D available to stream right now.
All in all, if you are looking for a streaming box that lacks any real user-friendliness that includes customized apps like Hulu Plus, Amazon, Netflix, and Vudu, somewhat (but not complete) wide local file support, and a (worthless) browser, well the Sony is the way to go I guess. CNET says of it, "The subpar user interface holds it back as a streamer and it's just OK at handling your own digital media, especially compared with boxes like the WD TV Live or Boxee Box" and I completely agree. Unless you are on a strict budget, I would say skip it and go for another box. In the end you will probably be happier.
Truth be told though, I sent mine back after four days of use and opted for the new WD Live streaming player. It plays just about anything you throw at it with probably the best UI on the market right now, also has built in wireless, and a great selection of streaming services. I couldn't be happier with the WD over the Sony.
Some commenters have expressed their displeasure that I mention that I returned the unit and purchased a competing product, with which I am very happy. They have also felt that I am too harsh and expect too much of the unit for my "unorthodox" uses as well. I will just say that for anyone reading this review, please keep any and all user experiences from product reviews in mind when deciding what is right for you. The best way to make an informed decision on what's right for you is to have all the information you can. No review or experience is "right" or "wrong", take from them what you can and draw your own conclusions. Have a happy new year.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2012
The Sony SMP-N200 seems to perfectly fit what I was looking for in an DLNA streaming device - easy Wifi connection with no lag in streaming, UI that is smooth and not laggy when scrolling through tons of files, something can play various formats without hiccup (Xvid, 264, etc), and it was inexpensive ($70 at time of this review) to boot! It has quite a few bonus features (over requirements at least), such as a plethora of online content such as YouTube, Hulu Plus, Netflix, etc. The most useful for me was the Amazon Prime streaming, which wasnt the selling point but is definitely a nice feature that quite a few of similar devices lack.
My main use-case for this device is to stream DLNA content from my NAS to my bedroom TV. I had no need for permanent local HDD storage, and the web-based apps were not my main reasons for buying. I used to use an old Xbox360 till it RRoD'd on me, then I purchased the WDTV Live, but the UI was sluggish, especially when scrolling through tons of files... but the main thing was it failed to stream 80% of the time till I restarted it, even tho it was able to navigate the menus fine. Maybe I had a dud unit, but I was not impressed.. anyway, I searched far and wide for something that would fit my needs perfectly, and have a few extra features as a bonus. The Sony SMP-N200 seemed to be just that, and I'm very glad I took the risk.
The UI on this device is VERY similar (I'd say nearly identical) to the PS3, so if you love/hate that interface, it could be a deciding factor. Personally I find it might be a little smoother scrolling files, but maybe not quite as fast.. so it doesnt 'hang' like the PS3 would sometimes. It has what you'd want for a streaming function, such as decent fast forward/rewind (I didnt encounter any buffering from my NAS, tho Amazon Prime videos took a sec to catch up). When you stop a video it will remember the last location, which is a very good thing (and expected these days)
The N200 also has a USB port that seems to function exactly as I'd expect - you plug it in, it appears in the list, and you can watch videos with ease (like an X360 or PS3 behave). For some reason the WDTV wanted to build up a media library before even letting me watch something off a USB stick, which was beyond annoying. Well enough about that...
The remote is small and easy to use, and I was very pleased to see that it was NOT a bluetooth remote, which meant I could code my Logitech Harmony universal to use with it - which works flawlessly by the way. So I'm a happy camper on that front as well.
A few other side notes: a firmware update applied without any issue, tho I am not sure what it really did to improve anything. The N200 has a nice option for power consumption - you can either have it use a lower power mode but slightly longer boot time when powering on, or a quick boot time that uses slightly more power when turned off. I opted to stick with the lower power/longer boot, and it comes up quick enough for my needs - I usually tend to hit the all-on button on the universal remote, and come back after a half a minute of doing other things while the TV/devices turn on anyway.
I've yet to find a single thing that I dislike about the N200 - which is rare, but my needs/wants for a product like this are perhaps more niche than most. I will update this review if I face any issues.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2012
I bought the streaming player - only problem is It wont show the subtitles (closed captions) on netflix content - unless you are watching a foreign movie.
when I spoke to the sony representative - this is what they had to say
-- The Sony Network Media Players does not support Line 21 data which is the reason why the closed caption/subtitle may not be displayed for the particular movie.
Bottom line If you can live without closed captions its the best bet - but if you are someone like me who NEEDS closed captions - then that's something to ponder about?
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2012
I have a Roku player which I paid more for and does less. I was so happy to find this product. The only drawback to it is the user interface is, let's just say, less then polished. Having said that, I will deal with the quirks to get more than the middle of the line Roku offers (and somethings more than the top of the line) for less than the cheapest Roku.
So what do you get over the Roku?
1. A hard wired Ethernet connection. Better then wireless for sure. It does have wi-fi too if you prefer. How Roku could leave this out is beyond me.
2. Optical digital audio out. This was huge for me. I want to be able to get that great sound (thanks Amazon, no thanks Netflix) directly to my audio receiver.
3. USB input so I can hook up thumb drives and hard drives and play all kinds of media files.
4. DLNA support. You could by a $300 device from Google (Google you are losing touch) that does nothing else but why when you can get this for less than $50?
5. Connections for older TV's. I don't personally need these, but very nice that they are available.
6. Vudu - haven't tried it yet but nice to have more options.
Bottom line a great device that is a Roku killer both on price and features. I hope they make the interface more user friendly (Amazon watch later list for one) but I will deal for these awesome features at the bargain basement price.
By the way the picture (especially colors) and audio is outstanding. Personally I think it is better than the Roku, but I admit that is subjective.
May 2013 Update: Been having a lot of trouble streaming Netflix. Thought it was Netflix but after some research turns out it is Sony. One person wrote they send Netflix through their own servers. I can't verify this, but what I can verify is that Netflix is unwatchable during prime time on the Sony and works with no problem on the Roku. So I am back to the Roku and I no longer can recommend the Sony.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2012
***UPDATE 5/18/2012: I discovered today that the Sony SMP-N200 works perfectly in Mexico! I can watch Crackle, Televisa, TV Azteca, Youtube and many, many others. Kudos to the Sony Entertainment Network ***
More than a video-streaming device, as it can also stream MP3/WMA music and JPEG pictures, the Sony SMP-N200 is one of the best products I've tried in my gadget-collector life, and it sures deserves my 5-star rating and review.
It was an impulse buy but I quickly started to love it. First I hooked it up to my "old" 32" Panasonic CRT TV with a component video cable and was instantly happy with the video and audio quality. Then I hooked it up to my 46" 1080p LCD TV set with HDMI cable and WOW, what a difference! Cinema-like experience right out of the box. Then I streamed a couple of XviD and DivX files over-the-air from my computer to the SMP-N200 (thanks to its DLNA support) and the little device worked wonderfully again. Then I copied some HD video files (780p and 1080p in a .MKV file container) to my USB flash drive and tried playing them off the USB port... total happiness again.
With a plethora of video connection options (component video, composite, HDMI and more) plus wireless video/MP3/JPEG pictures streaming from your computer (again, thanks to DLNA support) plus the ability to play media directly off USB drives with ample file format and codec support (WMV, XviD, DivX, MPEG-4 / H.264 for 720p/1080p HD movies; AVI and MKV containers) plus both wi-fi and wired internet connection support, this little box can do just about anything to entertain you.
Thanks, Sony. Everything just works better than I expected. This is the perfect match for any TV!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2012
The best streaming video quality and content thus far! I've tried various Panasonic and Toshiba products that also stream media. I even tried dedicated streamers from WD and the roku junk...the ONLY consumer device I've run into that you CAN NOT configure network settings manually and are forced to use DHCP...Stay away; their outsourced customer disservice is also horrible. I've also tried hooking up PCs (Boxee through PC too) and even Android telephones and tablets but not practical for me. I've tried XBOX 360 and Wii as well but this is the box of choice so far.
Some commented on the UI but it does the job and I don't need animations or any useless eye-candy when it's about functionality. There's something as too much content and there are numerous "fluff" channels I could care less about but it's not as bad as roku which throws all kind of pixelated junk to increase their garbage count. I didn't bother with external storage because I only do optical media or stream movies from commercial content providers and from my FiOS service. I only listen to Slacker (Sirius too) for new music but unfortunately it's not the best quality due to compressed lossy audio...I still buy optical media for the music I really like.
I was looking for the following and the unit has it all:
- Great video and audio quality
- Fixed installation
- Wired Ethernet connection (avoid wireless if you can - if not then try to go 5GHz N if you can find streamers out there that support that band)
- Quiet operation
- No obnoxious bright lights
- Responsive remote control
- Vudu, Netflix, Amazon, Slacker, YouTube-not so much (Blockbuster would have been nice but they've pretty much quit streaming to STBs except for Samsung players, for now) (It also has Cinema Now as another source of movies and Hulu Plus but I could care less about paying to watch TV shows and commercials)
Vudu (Best streaming video and audio quality around)
HD Netflix with surround sound
Slacker Radio (Best audio streaming)
Amazon Instant Video
Easy connectivity options and manual A/V and network configurations (even proxy settings)
It's only Fifty bucks
It's not an i-poop product
Painful keyboard input
No backbit remote control
Search feature difficulty
YouTube interface and search
Didn't bother with various other content because I had to keep going to external web sites to register
sony - I've avoided their products for many years and was quite surprised by this model thinking I was going to return it after playing with it for a short while.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2011
So this streamer has a lot of competition. However, it's the only streamer that will let you watch 3d movies. I have a 3d tv and need a device that will be able to stream 3D videos, especially as they are becoming more available. Although there are some complaints about netflix titles being too small, or the browser being too hard to navigate, overall, for $68, this is the best deal if you have a 3d tv. Also, the remote App for the Iphone is great as you are able to use you phone keyboard to search netflix, use the browser, and so on. One compaint is that VUDU 3d movies do not work with this unit. In fact, Vudu 3d only works with the ps3 and some samnsung tv's. When other services like Netflix start streaming 3D content, I will be ready and wont have to upgrade. If you DON'T have a 3D TV, get a Roku.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2012
I own the SMP-N200, a Roku 2 XS and a Google TV blu-ray player. My main concern is streaming movies and the SMP-200 has the most content. It plays movies from Amazon, Netflix, Vudu, and Sony Entertainment Network all in high quality HD without lag. About any movie that can be streamed can be found on one of these services. The interface is fine, and will be familiar to anyone who has used a PS3.
-My Google TV blu-ray (also by Sony) has many benefits but I found lack of Amazon (in HD) and Vudu to be limiting. The Google TV plays Netflix and Sony Entertainment Network beautifully and streams from my media server better than the SMP-N200.
-The ROKU is excellent but costs twice as much as the Sony, lacks Vudu and SEN movies and does not stream from my media server. It is smaller than the Sony, but the Sony is small enough for my needs and has more output options. The less expensive ROKU players do not have an ethernet port. The ROKU has more additional "channels" than the SONY but most of the freebies are not of any interest to me. Setup time for the two units is similar. I initially bought the Sony for my kid's TV but the ROKU will have that role. The Sony will be for the big boy setup.
In summary a media player should stream media, and if movies are your main interest the the SMP-N200 does this better than the other players mentioned at a fraction of the price.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
Just bought few (2) units of this Sony SMP-N200 player, mostly for the price and to play YouTube videos. After 2 weeks of setting and configure the units I can make a review and an opinion of it, first of all the units is located outside US, so some features and channels were not available.
Unboxing and connecting the unit was very easy, the easy-setup was clear and fast, the unit picked out my Wi-Fi signal and connect as designed, however just noticed why some bad reviews about wireless connectivity and spontaneous drop outs, it happens once or twice to me and the reason found is that the 2.4ghz Wi-Fi N were we are is so crowded that it is OK for laptop to browse the web and read email, but for video streaming, as intended with this device, is just not possible in that frequency band, I hope Sony starts including 5ghz radio devices very soon, second unit was wired connected and the connection was rock solid, also I re-locate the wireless unit closer to the router and the signal got stronger with less interference from neighbors 40mhz routers and the Wi-Fi connection was way more stable.
This unit cans playback 1080p videos from USB port and DLNA server, I was able to properly, I was able to play mkv, m2ts, mp4 using AVC and Xvid, also it CAN reproduce embedded subtitles from mkv (AVC) files.
Also it was a great surprise to me that I was indeed able to stream from a NAS server all of my mkv (AVC) files with embedded subtitles to this Sony SMP-N200 unit, without a transcoder PC and with fully functional subtitles that can turn ON and OFF.
More amazing was the fact that it could also bitstream Dolby TrueHD from the NAS server using a m2ts file with HD lossless audio (@ 40mbps), not the same luck bitstreaming DTS-Master, it could in fact pass-through the core DTS but not the DTS-Master track, all of this from a NAS DLNA server.
Also it could in fact reproduce AVI using Xvid from DLNA NAS server.
The video quality from these units was indeed very good, I was very pleased with it, could only compare with Blu-ray which of course is not match but it is very close for the naked eye. The noise IP and video noise reduction function works like a champ.
Features and Channels:
Since I'm located foreign US (which this device intended to use), my channels list was reduced, could not access to any of the main apps like Netflix, Pandora, Vudu, etc., but it has some pretty good little channels, such as TV Azteca, Cosmopolitan, YouTube etc., some of them offering HD content.
This unit has very good settings menus, that is easy to use and offer a great value to those, like me, who love to tweak settings.
The UI is good (not great), is not pair with PS3 but is similar; here we have some room to improve.
I could control this unit with another brand remote (Panasonic TV) trough HDMI CEC, it could control most of the main functions very well, also could turn ON and OFF the unit and the TV trough HDMI CEC.
The browser is really bad period, Sony could do better, I rather prefer not to include such a bad piece of software, and it couldn't even load easy pages like yahoo or msn.
The unit is good looking, runs a bit warn, nothing to be alarm of, it has great selection of ports, run smooth the video loads fast enough, it also has very informative bitrate mbps and internet speed, YouTube app could be better and couldn't get HD content from it, maybe geographical restricted.
Also geographical restricted is the ability to register the unit in the SEN, which I could do with other Sony products such as PS3.
I was able to install the remote iPad app and control the unit through it, the registration and device pair was easy and fully functional, it work flawlessly as designed.
In general I'm very pleased with this Sony product, it could do some things that others can't such as DLNA out of the box (Roku), USB playback (Apple TV) and bitstream HD lossless audio, in resume it is a VERY GREAT unit.
Just merge and remux some video files with external SRT subs, Original video file was a MP4(H264) with an SRT external sub file, using MKVmerge and add the MP4 video and the external SRT and then merge both in a MKV file works WONDERFULL the whole process took only 15 seconds, and this unit read the file perfectly, also it is capable to read MULTIPLE subtitles embedded in a single MKV file, and yes it took only 15 seconds using a weak computer and a full length movie, then you can select the different subtitles tracks.