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Sony BDP-S3100

Est. $110
Reviewed by ConsumerSearch
Sony BDP-S3100

Pros
  • Crisp picture
  • Respectable load time
  • Good range of apps
Cons
  • No 3D support
  • Not much savings over 3D-compatible players
  • No display on console

Bottom line

The Sony BDP-S3100 offers solid image quality and good -- though not class-leading -- streaming features. Value is a concern, however, as the price break is small compared to equally performing better-equipped Blu-ray players, such as the 3D-capable Sony BDP-S5100 (Est. $120) .

Picture quality

Low price, great picture. Compared to pricier models, you'd expect the Sony BDP-S3100's performance might waver in the video quality department. Not so, say critics and users alike. Testing shows no serious fumbles, whether handling Blu-rays or upscaling DVDs to HD resolution -- with the standard disclaimer that the player can't create detail that's missing from DVDs in the first place, says Trusted Reviews.

Performance

Plenty fast. In owner reviews on sites like BestBuy.com and Amazon.com, many users comment that the Sony BDP-S3100 loads up much faster than their previous players. That's echoed in professional reviews for the most part. There are faster players, to be sure, but the BDP-S3100's operational speeds are above average overall.

Usability

Cluttered user interface drags things down slightly. The BDP-S3100 uses the standard Sony Xross Media Bar interface. While the interface is slick-looking and still works fine, Trusted Reviews critic Danny Phillips notes that it can get cluttered and tricky to navigate thanks to the growing volume of media content accessible on the player. Don't lose the small remote, as it includes commands that can't be duplicated on the player itself.

Features

No 3D, but not stripped down. There's no shortage of TV, movie and other apps to be found on the Sony Entertainment Network, which supports everything from Netflix, YouTube and Hulu Plus to Pandora, social networking apps, and much more. That said, the lineup of providers is small compared to what you can find on some Blu-ray players from other makers. The BDP-S3100 has DLNA support to stream music and videos from your PC or other compatible device to your TV. Wi-Fi is built in -- something that separates this player from those that are cheaper still. The Sony TV SideView App lets you control the player and browse content from your mobile device, though some users feel it's a bit persnickety and doesn't work that well. There's no 3D, as we've already noted. There's also no on-console display; some critics take that as a negative, but user objections are few. More limiting is the connectivity -- just one HDMI out, plus a coaxial digital audio output. If you still need an analog audio link to your other gear, look elsewhere. You'll need to plug in a USB thumb drive (1 GB or larger) if you want to use BD-Live features.

Value

A good buy for 3D haters. If you are sure -- absolutely sure -- that 3D Blu-ray viewing is nowhere in your future, by all means pocket the sawbuck difference and go for the Sony BDP-S3100 over the BDP-S5100. Picture quality is every bit as solid as that Best Reviewed choice, as are streaming features. Other differences are too small to be a concern in most reviewers' eyes. Still, given the small price premium, we think most would be better served by future-proofing their home theater and stepping up to the step-up BDP-S5100. Either way, both Blu-ray players do an excellent job in playing back Blu-ray Discs and DVDs -- and that's what most people buy Blu-ray players for in the first place.

Where To Buy
Sony BDPS3200 Blu-ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi

 
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Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

The Sony BDP-S3100 is among the many Blu-ray players reviewed at ConsumerReports.org. The player is rated and ranked compared to competing Blu-ray players. Discussion is brief, but geared to be easy to follow even for those not familiar with Blu-ray technology.

Review: Sony BDP-S3100, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

2. ConsumerReports.org

The Sony BDP-S3100 is among the many Blu-ray players reviewed at ConsumerReports.org. The player is rated and ranked compared to competing Blu-ray players. Discussion is brief, but geared to be easy to follow even for those not familiar with Blu-ray technology.

Review: Sony BDP-S3100, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

3. Amazon.com

Users at Amazon.com generally give the BDP-S3100 high marks, with an overall score of 4.1 out of 5 stars across more than 300 reviews. Customers like the unit's easy setup, sleek design and great picture, though some complain about minor issues, ranging from dropped sound to having to create a free online account to use streaming features.

Review: Sony BDP-S3100 Blu-ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2013

4. BestBuy.com

With over 600 reviews and an overall score of 4.6 out of 5 stars, the BDP-S3100 is a popular Blu-ray player pick among users at BestBuy.com. Budget-conscious movie enthusiasts value this player's impressive performance for a reasonable price. Complaints are generally minor and infrequent.

Review: Sony - Smart Wi-Fi Built-In Blu-ray Player, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of July 2013

5. TrustedReviews.com

Reviewer Danny Phillips gives the Sony BDP-S3100 an 8 (out of 10) rating at Britain's TrustedReviews.com. He notes that this Blu-ray player offers solid picture quality and good features. He does slightly prefer a Samsung Blu-ray player, but that model is not offered in the U.S.

Review: Sony BDP-S3100 Review, Danny Phillips, May 16, 2013

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