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Christopher

SI: Youtube, Cross Server Search On Sony’s Network Blu-ray Player Is Easy, Usable

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Sony’s new “Network Blu-ray Disc Player,” model number BDP-N460 ($249), with Youtube, Netflix, and an excellent search feature called “Cross Server Search” (all featured in the Video section of the XMB) was outstanding to observe at CEDIA EXPO 2009 but not really a surprise to me. I remember back during CES 2009 Sony had showed off several items that suggested Internet streaming functionality in a Blu-ray player. I was very skeptical, due to obvious circumstances, that Sony would really be able to execute an attractive solution for streaming services by the end of the year as they promised. It is difficult to deliver Youtube effectively on a television; you have to be able to use it just as quickly as you can on a web browser or it becomes tedious. While I don’t think Sony has totally nailed it, it is really useful and fun. I think that people will use this kind of service to mess around when there is nothing on TV.

It sure feels great to say that we have this kind of technology here in the USA after Japan has had it so long.

ciscowifi

However, there are some requirements for this stuff. You need to connect the BDP-N460 to the Internet via Ethernet, and at least a 2.5Mbps Internet connection, and 10Mbps for HD content). That doesn’t bother me at all, but I could see this being a problem for some people. There will be some people that can’t run an Ethernet cord from point A to point B. It is a little strange that they couldn’t implement WiFi with this device, but they do recommend taking advantage of the built-in software that makes it easy to connect this player to your existing wireless network by pairing an optional Linksys Wireless Ethernet Bridge (WET-610N) to connect to your home router (each sold separately). You don’t need a computer to set it up. Sony collaborated directly with Cisco, and this Blu-Ray player will bridge with A/B/G/N. However, from the marketing side of things, it is disappointing that there won’t be any bundles, or vouchers offered by Sony for discounts on the Linksys device they recommended.

The Cross Server search is nice, and here is basically what it looks like. You choose it from the XMB, then type in via remote keypad the term you want to search for. It searches all of the bundled services at once. Very nice. We will be shooting video of this process and feature it in an upcoming post.

css1

Let’s see, how about we search for..

css2

Here are sample search results for Youtube. You can either watch a clip in full resolution (I think it actually handles Youtube HD well), or preview it while browsing other clips. The whole experience was very fast, obviously because we were at a convention center, but I was definitely surprised with how quickly we were going through Youtube.

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There are many other worthwhile hardware and software features that make this an attractive Blu-ray player (which you can read about here). This is a true Blu-ray player, and capable of delivering rich 1080P content and can handle Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD Master Audio. Also, Youtube is not the only service available for it. There is actually in fact 25 content partners on board with this device, all of which you can see below in this handy chart:

content_provider_popup

All in all, the only major flaws I can honestly see with the N460 is lack of WiFi, but I can see why it wasn’t implemented to keep costs down. It would also be nice if they offered compatibility with wireless keyboards somehow – I was told that wasn’t possible. Typing via remote is nice, but I would expect other options than just that. Also, why isn’t there a web browser? How hard would it be to enable what the web browser that the PS3 has in a Blu-ray player like this? They should make it so if I want to browse the web,

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