Blu-ray Players

Sony BDP-S5100 Blu-ray Player


Design and Setup of the Sony BDP-S5100 Blu-ray Player

Out of the box, the BDP-S5100 has a pretty striking design, with an angled top and a dark blue tint to the plastic finish. The back of the player is very minimalist with only HDMI, Ethernet, USB, and Coaxial ports on the rear. There is a front USB port hidden behind a cover, and buttons are placed on the top, which is a better location than the past few years. Since new Blu-ray players can't output analog video, the lack of connections isn't an issue, and it makes it easy to hook up even if the rear isn't visible.

There are a couple issues I have with the design of the player. The tray has a bit of plastic on the front to make it close flush to the angled front, but the construction of it feels cheap, and I'm unsure if it would hold up to a heavy workload. I also am not a fan of the angled top, which prevents you from putting anything on top of the BDP-S5100. Even resting the remote or the case for the movie you are watching won't work well. It looks really cool, and the blue-tinted finish looks great, I guess I just prefer the practical flat surface.

One item missing from the BDP-S5100 is any onboard BD-Live memory. What we took for granted years ago has now become a cost-saving cut, even as memory prices plummet. The included remote from Sony is nice and compact, with direct access buttons for Netflix and their Sony Entertainment Network. It isn't backlit; so it's harder to use in the dark. Sony has an iOS app you can use to control their player, but it mostly just mimics the remote.

One area that I still want to see Sony and others work on is streaming setup. With Sony, you can register your new player at their website, and connect some of your streaming accounts there. If you already have a Sony device, it copies over those existing accounts. However some services like Netflix and Vudu require you to enter your email address and password to login, while Amazon and Hulu require you to go to their website and enter a code they display on screen. The lack of a uniform experience is annoying, and entering in my full email address and really long passwords with a remote is excruciating. Did I mention that some of these services use QWERTY keyboards while some use an ABCDEF layout? Hopefully soon these will all work the same way, but it remains a hodge-podge version at the moment.

Setting up the Sony for movies is dead simple. Hook up an HDMI cable, pushing hard, as the HDMI jack is very tight, and then telling the setup instructions what resolution I want. After that, you're ready to go.