264 of 281 people found the following review helpful
UPDATE: Nice Blu-ray Player But Doesn't Quite Deliver On All The Features
, February 5, 2014
This review is from: Sony BDPS3200 Blu-ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi (2014 Model) (Electronics)
***UPDATE 8/10/14: Sony seems to have sorted out all the issues concerning the functionality of the apps, like Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and Vudu. That being said I've increased the rating to 4 stars. If you buy the BDP-S3200 make sure one of the first things you do check for a firmware update and update if needed.
***UPDATE 3/22/14: Sony finally released the software update for the BDP-S3200 which was suppose to correct the issues with the apps; when clicking on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and Vudu a window popped up that said "not available". With the software update Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, and Netflix were suppose to be working fine. However some people are still reporting issues with Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and network errors when loading apps. I did also have some issues with Hulu Plus. The player would completely lock up when loading a show. Since the release of the blu-ray player in late January the price has dropped to about $90 which makes it more attractively prices. However, it is apparent that Sony hasn't sorted out all the issues concerning apps with the player. With all the app issues resolved, the BDP-3200 would be deserving of 4 stars.***
The Sony BDP-S3200 is the replacement for the BDP-S3100 and is in the middle of Sony's lineup of blu-ray players. The BDP-S3200 has a lot of promise with all of its features; wireless internet connectivity, 200+ apps for media streaming, a web browser, Sony's TVSideView smartphone app, and SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) for renting and purchasing movies and TV shows. Additionally it features a USB port for playing music, videos, or displaying pictures from a thumb drive or hard drive. I really wanted to love the BDP-S3200 with all of its features but some of them didn't function all well as I hoped or didn't function well at all. I'll first cover what's new in the BDP-S3200, then give a quick comparison between Sony's new lineup of blu-ray players, and then cover the main features of the BDP-S3200.
NEW TO THE BDP-S3200: The BDP-S3200 is a minor update from the previous model: the BDP-S3100. The BDP-S3200 new features include:
1. Improved Quick Load/Start to watch movies faster than before.
2. More reliable access to wireless networks resulting in boosted Wi-Fi performance and extended range.
3. Miracast technology which allows you to wirelessly send the display from your compatible Android device to your compatible TV by wirelessly connecting through the blu-ray player. Miracast requires a compatible Wi-Fi enabled TV with the ability to connect using Wi-Fi direct. It is a newer feature on TV's like Sony Bravia. Since I have an iPhone and iPad and my TV is a couple years old I'm not able to use this feature.
4. Slight redesign of player. The BDP-S3200 is 1" narrower than BDP-3100. It measures 10.44"x1.7"x7.84".
COMPARISON BETWEEN MODELS:
BDP-S1200: Features Quick Start/Load, USB port for hard drive and thumb drive, 200+ pre-loaded online apps. It DOES NOT have wireless internet capability. Wired internet connection only. Because of that the TVSideView will not work with the BDP-1200.
BDP-S3200: In addition to the features of the BDP-S1200 it adds wireless internet capability, Miracast, and use of TVSideView app.
BDP-S5200: This player adds 3D capability and will convert 2D to 3D for 3D compatible TV's.
BDP-S6200: Sony's top of the line player features 4K output along with 4K upscaling and has a dual core processor for fast performance. It also has 3D output.
THE BDP-S3200'S FEATURES IN USE:
1. QUICK LOAD/START - The BDP-S3200 does start up to the home screen from Off/Standby almost instantaneously. It is quite impressive! Movies load much, much quicker compared to my Panasonic BD60 blu-ray player which came out in 2009. The downside of Quick Start/Load is that the blu-ray player only does a soft shut off. Even when turned off, the motor in the BDP-S3200 often runs, therefore making it ready to go at a moment's notice. Sitting on my couch about 9 feet away I can hear the BDP-S3200 humming away continually whether it's off or on. I once tipped the blu-ray player forward to look at the connection plugs in the back and could hear the blu-ray disc in the player grind against something as the disc spun around even though the blu-ray player was turned off. If you are thinking, just disable Quick Start/Load in the menus, not so fast. If you plan to use Sony's TVSideView smartphone app as a remote for the BDP-S3200, Quick Start/Load MUST be turned on. The only times I've noticed the player's motor not run when it is off is when I hit the Stop button followed by the Off button when watching a blu-ray or video from a hard drive or thumb drive.
2. SETTINGS MENU & MANUAL: Setting up the BDP-S3200 is easy. If you are looking to hook the player directly to a TV and only use it for blu-rays and an occasional app than the Simple Manual included is sufficient as it is very basic and you will likely keep everything at the factory settings. If hooking up to an AV receiver, setting parental controls, and wanting to understand all the features of the BDP-S3200, you will likely need to download the full manual from Sony's website.
The one thing I'm happy the BDP-S3200 allows me to do is turn BD Live off yet still have an internet connection. When I want to watch a movie, I want to watch a movie. BD Live can hijack the player by loading current previews over the internet. Sometimes the only way to get through them is to fast forward. I don't want to spend 5 minutes getting through a movie company's garbage just so I can watch a movie that I purchased or get back to watching a movie from earlier. Even though in the manual it says the BDP-S3200 will register a resume point for a blu-ray if the Stop button is pressed, it never has and I've tried many blu-rays. If you ever stop or exit a blu-ray you have to load it from scratch. Plus, if a movie is paused for 20 minutes the player automatically shuts off, so you have to load it from scratch then also. Blocking BD Live the movies load much, much faster and I still have an internet connection for the apps.
3. 200+ APPS: The BDP-S3200 offers many of the most popular streaming apps out there and doesn't have all the "special interest" apps that populate the Roku units which is fine by me. Upon release of the BDP-S3200, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, and Netflix are not working. If clicking on one of those apps a window pops up that says "not available". For the other apps, the player performs well as a streaming device but can't quite compete with the streaming reliability of my Roku 1 or Roku LT. The Roku 1 is next to the BDP-S3200 and both devices say they have an excellent signal yet the Roku 1 is quicker in loading pages and provides better fluidity when streaming. When streaming on Hulu Plus there is a lag time when loading ads and then returning to the show with the BDP-S3200 which I don't have with the Roku 1. When loading shows on Hulu Plus, I've had some issues with the BDP-S3200 completely locking up causing me to have to unplug the player. When streaming videos through the BDP-S3200 the picture look greats and when streaming music the audio sounds great.
4. INTERNET BROWSER: This feature to me is the biggest disappointment. The BDP-S3200 features an internet browser icon in its home menu. It is a nice feature but pages load on the internet browser about the same speed as dial-up. Loading Yahoo's home page commonly takes about 8-10 seconds before everything is displayed correctly. Trying to surf on the browser is tedious. The TVSideView app works with the player through your home network. TVSideView features a touchpad which you can use to control the cursor when on the internet browser. However, there is a lag time between when you move your finger across the smartphone's screen and when the cursor on the browser moves. It's frustratingly slow trying to click on a link. I've also plugged a wireless keyboard with touchpad into the USB port of the BDP-S3200 and tried using it. It has the same amount of lag time.
As a default setting the SSL Alarm Display is set to on. It is there to provide a layer of security when using the internet browser. However, every page that is loaded on the browser has triggered the alarm; Google's home page, news items in Google, Yahoo's home page, and news items in Yahoo. Because of the browser's slow speed and the alarm, I haven't ventured much further than that but every time I load a page the alarm is triggered and a window pops up.
From reading reviews on the BDP-S3100 and looking through the specs for the BDP-S3200 it is my understanding that Sony uses its own internet browser. I can only think that this is the cause of the problems with the internet browser. It can't be the wireless connection. The player has a good enough connection to play HD videos without any issues, yet it takes several seconds to load Yahoo's home page. It is worth noting that Sony's browser doesn't support flash.
5. TVSIDEVIEW: Overall, I like the app. It functions as a TV guide, a remote for the player, and a keyboard and mouse if using the web browser. If trying to use the web browser the app is a must because of the keyboard for typing in url's or doing searches. Whenever I initially start up the app on my iPhone it will almost always say "Unable to connect to Blu-ray Disc Player." Then the message goes away, then it says connecting, and finally it connects. Definitely not instantaneous like a remote but still very useful.
6. USB INTERFACE: The home menu for the BDP-S3200 is easy to understand and navigate. You can connect a thumb driver or hard drive to the player through the USB port on the front. By selecting either the photos, music, or video icon on the home menu you can easily scroll through the folders to find what you are looking for. It works very well and is much, much better than the horrid USB interface with the Roku 3. I have a WD TV Live and the only reason I've kept it around is because of its USB interface. I like the BDP-S3200's interface and display information better than the WD TV Live. The only downside with the BDP-S3200 regarding playing videos from a thumb drive or hard drive is that it doesn't record resume points for videos. The WD TV Live can keep track of resume points for multiple videos for weeks, even if the hard drive is disconnected. Even though the BDP-3200 doesn't record resume points, I'd much rather use it than the WD TV Live for watching videos from a USB drive.
7. SEN (Sony Entertainment Network): This is a rental/purchasing service for streaming movies and TV shows. It also has a menu for the 200+ apps available. Plus, you can select your favorite apps. I like the layout of the SEN. The only downside is that it will only allow you to select 8 apps to your favorites which is fairly limiting when you consider there are 200+ apps available.
Needless to say the BDP-S3200 is far superior to the 5 year old Panasonic BD-60 which it is replacing. It also has allowed me to get rid of my WD TV Live thereby trimming down the number of devices connected to my AV receiver and number of remotes I use. The BDP-S3200 does offer a lot of features but some of them do not perform as well as they should. Using the internet browser is futile. Yes, it starts incredibly fast but the motor will run even when turned off. TVSideView is overall nice but I end up resorting to the remote because it takes several seconds to unlock my smartphone and the app to connect to the BDP-S3200 just to pause a movie. The 200+ apps is a great selling point but there are issues with the most popular apps: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and Hulu Plus. I love being able to turn off BD Live yet retain my internet connection. Being able to play music, videos, and display pictures from a thumb drive or hard drive is a great feature and the interface is well designed. Depending on the features you are most likely to utilize, the BDP-S3200 may or may not fit your needs. My guess is that most people are drawn to the BDP-S3200 for its 200+ apps. Considering the issues myself along with others have experienced trying to stream apps, hopefully Sony will completely resolve the persisting problems soon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you?