Upon its initial release, the Sony BDP-S350 complies with Profile 1.1 specifications (Bonus View), which allows access to interactive disc-based content, as well as Picture-in-Picture based disc features, such as simultaneous visual commentaries.
In addition, this player also has a high-speed ethernet connection and USB port (for adding external memory capacity via flash drive) to accommodate the firmware upgrades and added compatibility to meed Profile 2.0 specifications (BD Live), which include access to internet-based interactive content related to the Blu-ray disc that is being played.
At 0, the PS3 was delivering a full-service Blu-ray player, with the added value of being a top-notch digital media device and gaming machine as well.
But as Blu-ray players get better and cheaper, the equation is no longer so cut and dry. With its latest firmware update in place, the S350 adds full BD-Live (Profile 2.0) compatibility to its bag of tricks.
But honestly, while I might have been impressed with the raw video output of some previous Sony Blu-ray players, in other ways they really have been next to useless.
Even though Blu-ray as a format has ﬁnally reached a point where it can offer the same level of functionality HD DVD did from day one, Sony has not had a player able to do that functionality justice. Firmware update Well, actually 'now' isn't quite accurate.
This utility updates the BDP-S350 firmware to version 020.
The good news is that this ﬁrmware update doesn't have to be delivered to the S350 via disc.
Now here's something you don't see every day: a dedicated Blu-ray player from Sony that's actually worthy buying.
Of course, starting my review of the Sony BDP-S350 with such ﬁghting talk probably looks like showboating.
That leaves only its annoyingly recessed USB port (for added storage) and its lack of onboard DTS-HD Master Audio decoding (not a huge issue outside of audiophile circles) as the remaining red flags--and neither is a deal-killer.
The Sony is in a neck-and-neck battle with such other full-featured standalone Blu-ray players as the Panasonic DMP-BD35 and the Samsung BD-P1500.