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Customer Review

264 of 281 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars UPDATE: Nice Blu-ray Player But Doesn't Quite Deliver On All The Features, February 5, 2014
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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.

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***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.***
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ORIGINAL REVIEW:
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.

SUMMARY:
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.
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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 5, 2014 7:21:55 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 5, 2014 7:30:41 PM PST
Whatever says:
You state it as fact that your phone and tablet don't work with the Miracast feature of the Blu-ray player, but do you know for a fact that your TV won't? Does the TV need to support something other than HDMI to work with that feature? Isn't the point of the Blu-ray player including Miracast that it will interface with a device like a phone or tablet via Miracast and pass the signal to the TV via HDMI so that the TV doesn't have to support Miracast? I'm suspicious that Sony just copied and pasted some language from their TV product descriptions.

Re: network connectivity / performance, considering Apple's reticence / incompetence at making their devices and technologies interoperable with devices from other manufacturers and technologies implemented by other companies, I take the problems you're having with a grain of salt considering that you're using it with an Apple router. I'm totally open to the possibility that it is the Blu-ray player's fault though.

Re: the streaming, I'd personally be more interested to hear about the performance with services like Netflix that don't have ads. I've found all of the streaming video that interpolates ads to be very buggy, doing things like freezing after ads.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2014 9:09:06 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 5, 2014 9:15:55 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2014 9:16:12 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2014 9:57:17 AM PST
JJG says:
You don't even own the BDP-S3200 nor have used it yet you are making excuses for it.

Here I'll copy and paste the Miracast info for you. From Amazon's product listing of the BDP-S3200, "Wirelessly send the display from your compatible Android device to your compatible TV." Sony's product listing of the BDP-S3200 says the same stuff plus adds, "Miracast requires a compatible Wi-Fi® enabled TV with the ability to connect using Wi-Fi® direct." I understand your reasoning that it would make sense for the signal to travel out the HDMI of the blu-ray player but this is Sony we are talking about. Sony is probably using Miracast to push their own ecosystem. This is from a Sony press release at CES about the new blu-ray player lineup, "...while Miracast™ allows viewers to display photos and video from a compatible Android smartphone or tablet on compatible TV screens by wirelessly connecting through their Blu-ray Disc player." That's a lot of compatibles. Common sense would tell you that they would never use the language "compatible TV screens" if it actually meant any TV, monitor, or projector the blu-ray player was connected to. They are trying to push their Bravias and there are probably a few other HDTV that will work with it also.

Hmmm...my Roku LT which is 35 feet away from the router and a PC which is 35 feet away from the router and a Kindle Fire and a Kindle eReader and a Roku 1 and an iPad and a second PC and 2 iPhones rarely have any problems with wireless network connectivity to the Apple Time Capsule, yet the BDP-S3200 which is right next to router has extremely sluggish performance. You know, I don't think it's the Time Capsule. I do find it extremely humorous that you rip Apple for making devices incompatible with devices from other manufacturers when we are talking about a Sony product.

Maybe your not streaming from the right devices then or maybe you need a Time Capsule. I've streamed videos that have ads from 3 different Rokus, iPhones, iPads, WD TV Live, PC's, and Mac's on my network and rarely have an issue. I have YET to watch a TV Show on Hulu Plus through the BDP-S3200 in which it is able to make it through an entire show without a problem.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2014 4:04:40 AM PST
Whatever says:
> Here I'll copy and paste the Miracast info for you.

I've already seen that stuff -- and I'm suspicious that Sony just copied and pasted it from a TV product description.

> Sony's product listing of the BDP-S3200 says the same stuff plus adds, "Miracast requires a compatible Wi-Fi® enabled TV with the ability to connect using Wi-Fi® direct."

Does that make sense to you? What would that mean, that the sending device (phone / tablet / computer) would connect to the Blu-ray via Miracast, and the Blu-ray would connect to the TV via Miracast? If that were the case wouldn't it double the latency? Moreover, if the TV has Wi-Fi and supports Miracast natively, then what would be the point / role of the Blu-ray player supporting it?

> but this is Sony we are talking about.

What does that mean, do they have a track record of doing things that don't make sense?

> Sony is using Miracast to push their own ecosystem.

So how are they using the open Miracast technology to push their own ecosystem in this case, are they the only ones that make TVs that have Miracast (and if someone already has one of those, why wouldn't they just buy a cheaper BDP-S3100 or BDP-S5100)?

> "...while Miracast™ allows viewers to display photos and video from a compatible Android smartphone or tablet on compatible TV screens by wirelessly connecting through their Blu-ray Disc player." That's a lot of compatibles.

What makes the TV compatible?

> You know, I don't think it's the Time Capsule.

Maybe, maybe not. I once had a Netgear router that worked with any device it was tried with until a Macbook came into the picture.

> I do find it extremely humorous that you rip Apple for making devices incompatible with devices from other manufacturers when we are talking about a Sony product.

I didn't say Sony doesn't -- I don't know.

> Maybe your not streaming from the right devices then or maybe you need a Time Capsule. I've streamed videos that have ads from 3 different Rokus, iPhones, iPads, WD TV Live, PC's, and Mac's on my network and rarely have an issue. I have YET to watch a TV Show on Hulu Plus through the BDP-S3200 in which it is able to make it through an entire show without a problem.

Maybe it is the player's fault, but in my experience Hulu is a flaky platform in general due to the ads, so I'll be interested to hear how this player does with other services like Netflix.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2014 6:29:33 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2014 7:49:59 AM PST
JJG says:
I wasn't saying that Sony has a track record for doing things that don't make sense but they have a track record for unnecessarily forcing you into their products. The memory stick and mini disc are nice examples. Memory stick: inferior to sd cards and twice the price. Almost everyone else was using sd or compact flash. What does Sony do? They come out with their own format that has to be used in their cameras or camcorders.

I have a newish Sony P&S. Videos will not play properly unless I play them using Sony's software and to do video editing I pretty much have to stick with Sony software also.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2014 8:12:01 AM PST
Whatever says:
Ah, ok. Yeah, I don't like it when any company does that. I'm more familiar with Apple's transgressions in that department than with Sony's. Like I said, I'm totally open to the possibility that the poor network performance is the player's fault, but I'm also going to consider the possibility that it's the router's fault until I hear some reviews about how it performs with non-Apple routers.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2014 8:39:02 AM PST
JJG says:
I'm not saying that Apple doesn't do it because they obviously do but at least in the last 10 years Apple has achieved enough market share with sales of MP3 players, iPhones, and iPads to get away with it.

Posted on Feb 6, 2014 11:52:55 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 6, 2014 12:01:06 PM PST]

Posted on Feb 11, 2014 11:30:18 AM PST
badger prof says:
You said in your review "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...." Perhaps I did not fully understand your comment on this but would it make sense to hit "Stop" before hitting the "Off" button as a good routine? That does not seem like an excessive step to take.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2014 12:10:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 11, 2014 12:20:11 PM PST
JJG says:
Just to clarify when I say, "the only times I've noticed" doesn't mean every time I shut off by hitting "stop" and then "off". I've heard it run even when shutting off that way but the only times it hasn't run is when shut off that way.

You shouldn't need to be in a blu-ray movie and shut off in any combination of buttons to prevent the motor from running. You should be able to just hit the power off button from whatever screen, listening or watching anything through the player, like you can with the Sony BDP-S1100 and I assume the BDP-S3100 and S5100 since they have the same Quick Start/Load. If there is some combo, which I would then say is not very user friendy, Sony needs to document what that combination is.

What do you then if you are watching a show on Netflix or listening to music on Pandora? Do you start a blu-ray movie so you can then hit "stop" followed by "off" so the motor will not run when it is off? If you are on the "Home Screen" or in SEN again do you start blu-ray just to turn the player off? Even hitting "stop" and then letting the player auto shut off doesn't stop the motor from running when off.
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