Sony’s NEW Blu-ray Player BDP-S350

When I decided to get my first Blu-ray player, the decision seemed easy. It was either go with a Sony PlayStation 3 OR a Sony stand alone Blu-ray Player. Believe it or not, it was better to go with the PlayStation 3 (PS3) for a couple of reasons. The first reason was that the PS3 (although hard to find at first) was actually cheaper! The other reason to go with the PS3 was that it was more easily firmware upgradable right over the internet via it’s built-in Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections. To this day, I don’t understand how you could get a full game console AND a Blu-ray player all in one that was cheaper than just a Blu-ray player by the same company. Who am I to argue? So I bought a PS3 last year and have been happy with it. Sony has upgraded it regularly and I’ve never had any playback issues with Blu-ray movie discs.


PS3 vs. the NEW BDP-S350

Recently I decided it was time to put a Blu-ray player in my bedroom. So it was time to revisit that idea of getting a PS3 vs. the NEW Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray player. This new player has overcome all of the issues with the original BDP-S300. The BDP-S300 was notoriously SLOW at loading discs and even opening the drawer. It was also not easily upgradable and from what I understand it didn’t or couldn’t support the newer Blu-ray 1.1 profile, while the updates to the PS3 allowed support for 1.1. However, the game has changed now with the new BDP-S350. This new player is much much faster at loading discs and supports all the latest and greatest specs. It also has a built-in ethernet port for doing firmware upgrades (and will support BD-Live as well as Blu-ray 2.0). The price is also cheaper. This unit goes for about $399 on average. That’s the same price as a PS3. Now since it’s the same price, you could argue that the PS3 is still the better deal because you do get a game console too. However, there are some tradeoffs. The BDP-S350 is much smaller in size than a PS3. So if you’re tight on space or want to stack it, it would be the better way to go. Also if you don’t care about games at all then the PS3 wouldn’t be a good choice. The next and probably the biggest reason not to go with a PS3 if your primary need is to play movies is that you won’t have a standard DVD remote or the ability to use a universal remote without an additional purchase. The PS3 uses Bluetooth based controllers. So your standard infrared remotes won’t work with it. Sony makes a Bluetooth based DVD remote and I’ve used the Nyko remote to allow me to use my Harmony One, but that adds $$ to the cost of going with the PS3. There is nothing stopping you from using the game controllers to control your movies, but it’s just awkward and not intuitive. There is no play, pause or chapter advance buttons on the game controller. You’ll have to remember what the “X” button does vs. the “O” button, etc.

Seeing that I don’t play games often and have no desire to play video games in my bedroom, I went with the BDP-S350 and I’m quite happy with it. Set up was a piece of cake using an HDMI cable (not included) right to my HDTV. Speaking of cables, I still don’t understand why Sony would include a standard def Composite video cable with a Blu-ray player. To a consumer that doesn’t know any better, they would use this cable (since it’s in the box) and get a horrible playback experience. Why not include an HDMI cable instead? Or even NO Cable! At least then it would make the consumer get the proper cable and length for their needs. I was able to easily add it to my Harmony One universal remote setup There was a software update available the minute I plugged it in and it downloaded an installed it with no problems. As a matter of fact, I liked this new player so much and how it worked with my Harmony One remote that I bought a second one for my theater (which already has the PS3). Now the PS3 will be just for games and the BDP-350 will be for watching movies.

The BDP-S350 goes for $360.29 on Amazon. I still feel that Blu-ray will not really take off with the masses (especially in this economy) until players are well below the $199 mark. However, if you’ve been wanting one and your budget allows for it, this is the one to get.

34 Replies to “Sony’s NEW Blu-ray Player BDP-S350”

  1. Hey Terry I’ve been looking at the Sony BDP- S350 and the BDP-S500. The 500 is $600 Did you look at this one as one of your choices or is it not worth the extra money. I haven’t been able to understand what the advantages and disadvantages are in each player besides price. I asked the people at Best Buy and they just made it worst. What do you think?


  2. Sean,
    I did a quick comparison of the S350 and S500 on the site and to be honest I can’t really see a single feature to justify the $200 price difference. It appears that the S500 may have slightly better audio, but that’s about all I can see. I think the S500 was better than the S300, but the S350 seems to have surpassed the S300 and is on par with the S500.

  3. Hello Terry,

    I was wondering if you could tell me if the Blue-Ray format works like the DVD with Zones, as in Zone 1 (USA and Canada), etc… or any DVD or Blue-Ray disc will work just fine in every player.

    I’m asking because I’ll be moving to Europe and I want to take with me a Blue-Ray player.

    I’d appreciate all your help.

  4. The S350 plays only Zone 1 DVDs. But it does a great job with them, and does excellent up-conversion of standard DVDs.

  5. Hey Mr. White,

    I was wondering if you could tell me if there is any noticeable difference in the load up times between the BDP-S350, and Playstation 3. While I had a PS3, I never actually used a Blu-Ray disc other than the games, but I’ve heard horror stories about the times it actually takes for the system to read the disc, and load the content off of it. I’m not sure if its true or not, but if it is true is the S350 faster? Thanks.

  6. Ozell,
    The PS3 was never slow at loading discs. So I haven’t really noticed much a of a difference in speed between the PS3 and S350. Both are very acceptable.

  7. Hello Terry,

    I just purchased the S350 for my Samsung 58″. I did not own any blue ray dvds so I put in a regular dvd when setting-up and it worked fine a few days ago. I have since purchased several blue rays and tried “2001 Space Odyssey” from Best Buy. The disc loaded the video past the FBI and Warner Bros logos, then all I got was audio and no video. Tried this several times with same result…any thoughts? Thanks.

  8. Kelly, there was a firmware update waiting for mine when I plugged it in to my network. Perhaps this update will help. Plug your S350 into your internet connection and then use the menu to apply the latest updates.

  9. I’m thinking of getting a PS3 instead of the S350 for versatility (kids) but read that some folks say the quality of blue ray disks is rather poor on the PS3. I understand the PS3 does not have a dedicated video chip set optimized for decoding Blu-ray video, instead relying on the Cell processor and its software to do the job. Would the video quality be significantly impacted?

    Also, and I see and I’m quoting “the PS3 “offers 1080p60 (per second) playback, which is less optimal than 1080p24 for filmed content. Since movies are filmed at 24 frames per second, you’d want to use an even multiple of 24 (such as 72 frames per second) to avoid motion artifacts in slow-panning scenes.” I’m not a technie but don’t know if I’d see anything if I was watching a movie such as CARS or Transformers.

    Thanks for the help

  10. Hi Terry. Congrats on the 350s purchase. Have you had a chance to compare picture and sound quality to the PS3? I’m also considering the PS3 for versatility, but I want the best picture possible. Is there a difference?


  11. Hi Terry, I’m curious after reading your reviews of PS3 and the Sony BDP-S350, if you didn’t already own one and were buying your 1st Blu-ray player would you go with the PS3? I was concerned about PS3 doesn’t scale regular DVDs and that I couldn’t use a Harmony One remote but it looks like neither of these are issues at this point so I’m trying to figure out if there is any disadvantage of going with PS3 (especially since it has many other great features).

  12. John,
    If you are going to play games, then the PS3 makes sense. If not go with the BDP-S350. You will like it much better with the Harmony One.

  13. Terry,
    Are there issues between Harmony One and PS3, other than the work around you describe in your blog? What works better with the BDP-S350? Thanks.

  14. John,
    When you configure the Harmony One to work as your PS3 remote, the screen will have the same X, O, box, triangle symbols as the PS3 game controller. While this works, I prefer to have plain english instead of having to remember which symbol does what when I’m watching a movie.

  15. I think there is a difference in video quality in the blueray d.v.d’s compared to other blueray videos, are there any differences?

  16. Thanks Terry!
    Have you had any problem with sound on your S350 using an HDMI cable? I find that for the Blu Ray, I have to turn my TV volume up into the 40-50 range! Similarly, I actually use the same HDMI port for my XBOX 360 (and switch cables for movie watching) and do not have this problem on the XBOX (Volume is usually at 10 -12.) I have checked to make sure that the audio setup is HDMI on the S350. I admit I have not done any updates yet, but wanted to see if you had heard of this problem. my next step after updating would be to switch our the cables to see if there is a problem with one over the other.

    Thanks for your great review!

  17. Terry,
    Regarding my message from 12/16, I am all set 🙂 I did up upgrade last ngiht and that did not work, however I did discover one of the audio settings had to be set to TV Sound. Once I made the change, it worked like a charm!

  18. Hey Terry!

    I have just bought the S350. Blu-ray disc are superb in image quality. However, I have just put in a couple DVDs. Artifacts are crazy and pixellation is evident compared to watching DVDs on a DVD player. Anything I can do with the settings on the blu-ray or perhaps cable tips?

    Much appreciated!

    Happy Holidays!

  19. Thanks, Terry! I have actually upgraded my firmware and by testing out other DVDs, seems like the mastering of the DVD is an issue (not controllable from my end of course). Truth be told, it’s the Christmas season and my wife and I put on “The Sound of Music” DVD. The pixellation was not too great, hence the query. But testing out LOTR, Shrek and even 50 First Dates on DVD have proved much clearer pictures!

    I appreciate your reply! Now we can certainly enjoy the rest of the holidays (and a new year of blu-ray movie purchasing!)!

    Happy New Year!

  20. If anyone needs the firmware update for the bdp 350s I have one on disk. Email me and I will send it to you for free

  21. Just purchased a new BDP-S350 and hooked it up to our existing Sony Bravia 40W4100 using a HDMI cable. While playing different regular dvds the video feed keeps blanking out without losing the audio feed. Any suggestions?

  22. I have the same problem as Brett. Even after the firmware update, this still is an issue. It appears to be trying to play, as the audio comes through and some video will flicker. In high light scenes, it seems to work better than in low light where it will just cut out. I am wondering if it’s a disc quality issue as the player is trying to play the DVD. I assume the player would have issues if the data wasn’t clear enough to read from and convert up (although I am not all that enlightened on the topic). I watch a lot of netflix movies, not sure if the quality of these discs are lower than a store bought DVD.

  23. Hi,

    Some of the problems we’re having with the S350 are similar to the ones I’ve seen people mentioning in this forum.

    We’re having another one though: The audio will not sync directly, so we’re getting that “Foreign, dubbed over” effect where talking continues after mouths stop. We’ve messed with the syncing and 0 msec seems to be the best. However, we can’t get them lined up appropriately.

    Here’s what we’ve got going on, in case you can clear up any user errors (as these things usually are). Thanks, Terry!

    HDMI cable directly from Blu-Ray to TV (no receiver)
    Audio settings we’ve set to the TV mode
    Took it off Dolby Surround and put it on Normal

    Any advice? Thanks!

  24. Hi,

    With regards to Rose and her problem with the sync we are having the same problem. I have been told it may be that I need to buy a better optical cable but i cannot see how this will improve.. It seems I only have the problem when playing movies that are dts enabled. It is really annoying however when you get the dubbed effect. I am so happy with the picture quality of this machine shame i am not about the audio.

    Anybody got any helpful hints and tips as I am pulling my hair out over this.

    Please help.


  25. I am having the same LIP SYNC problem. The picture quality is great but the SYNC problem is tearing me up. The audio is too slow so therefore the ms delay only makes it worse.
    I have played standard DVD’s and there doesn’t seem to be a problem with them, only Blue-Rays. Any help would be appreciated.

  26. My receiver (Onkyo TX-SR806) sees the True HD audio signal from the Sony BluRay S350 as Multichannel PCM 5.1. I am connected with an HDMI cable. I have read other articles that quote: "…the player offers full bitstream output for both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It passes each codec at up to 7.1 channels via its HDMI output.."
    It looks to me like the player is decoding the True HD signal and sending it as PCM to the receiver.
    How can I setup the player so it won’t decode the signal and let the receiver do it? I’ve tried all the audio set up combinations to no avail.

  27. Terry;

    I recently aquired a BDP-350S and its giving me a “No Disc” whenever I put in a Bluray disc or a DVD.

    I dont think the unit is on warranty, and it was a gift from a buddy that bought a PS3. I have the latest firmware I think its 7.4.019

    Do you have any Idea to what it may be? Could you answer to my email too?



    1. I have been experiecing this problem with my sony BDP-S350 ever since the .019 patch was added more on blu rays the dvd also when the blu ray does play about 3/4 of they way through the moive freezes( contacted Sony thier reply was the disk not the player)

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