Blu-ray Players

Sony BDP-N460 Networked Blu-ray Player

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

The BDP-N460 is a nice-looking Blu-ray player. It has a drop-down face reminiscent of Sony's very first DVD player, the DVP-S7000. The front panel is a high-gloss black, with a few transport controls on the right, and a not-too intrusive white LED display (you can also set to dim or turn off during play back.) There is also a USB port on the front of the player, for playback of JPEG image files only. Structurally, the player is fairly light-weight, but then nearly all the players in this price range are, so I don't know that one should ding it for this, as you have to spend significantly more on an optical disc player these days to get any sort of heft. The disc tray was not too flimsy, with smooth operation synchronized with the drop-down faceplate.

Around the back side, there is another USB port. This port can only be used to for BD-Live content. You must have 1GB or more of memory attached here, in order to access BD-Live content (more on that later). In addition to the USB port, there are the requisite connections, which include an HDMI output (1080p/24 compatible), component output, digital audio output (coaxial and optical) analog A/V output, and an RJ-45 Ethernet port for connecting to your LAN and the Internet. The power cord is detachable (huzzah!) and has a fairly small plug which I found convenient for routing through one of the cable holes on my equipment shelf.

The remote is classic Sony, in other words plain and utilitarian. It gets the job done, but is far from anything you'd want to use on a regular basis. Basically it's a reference for the commands you want to program into your universal remote. I think more and more device manufacturers have just given up on remote control design, largely assuming that most people will simply use a universal remote. This one has fairly small buttons, and no backlighting or night-glow buttons. Tactile navigation of the remote is not too bad though, as the buttons are fairly well varied in shape and/or size. Range was acceptable, though not impressive. My dated Harmony H688 universal remote gets an IR signal to any device in the room, almost regardless of where or how you point it. The Sony remote definitely needed to be pointed at the n460 to be effective.

The BDP-N460 is “almost” compliant with the Profile 2.0 specifications for Blu-Ray: given that the requisite 1GB of storage memory for BD-Live content is not included with the player, one can't consider the BDP-N460 “fully” compliant with Profile 2.0. Although most people have a 1GB or more USB memory stick lying around the house, it seems not only odd, but almost petty that Sony wouldn't just include a paltry 1GB of RAM, given how cheap RAM is these days. Once the 1GB of memory is attached, the player is ready for BD-Live and Bonus View content. The LAN jack is a 100Mb port, which is ample for any streaming content. The BDP-N460 supports most types of optical disc media available today, including +, -, R and RW variants. It is not a “universal” player though, since it does not support playback of either SACD or DVD-A high resolution audio formats.