Drew Rattray : Design vs. Functionality
Drew Rattray
| News and views on design vs. functionality balance across the communications and technology space.

Video Game Consoles

Sony BDP-S350 = good, but PS3 = better

August 25, 2008

Blu-ray won the HD format war, and while the picture quality has met and exceeded our wildest multimedia dreams, the units that play them leave something to be desired. Compared to standard DVD players, the Blu-ray stand alone players are for the most part bulky, oversized, and overpriced.

Sony has made a valiant effort of breaking the mold with the Sony BDP-S350.  It measures in at a comparably slim 8.75 inches deep (about half of most stand alone Blu-ray players), and a $400 list price.  But as a result, there are a few missing features, such as Profile 2.0 and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding.

The biggest problem is that the PS3 (also by Sony) can be had for the same price, and it offers superior Blu-ray playback and features.  Not to mention that you also get a high-definition gaming console, and all of the perks and fun that comes with that.

If you're going to spend a couple hundred dollars on a high-definition experience, you might as well get more "bang for your buck".

You can read a full review at CNET













Netflix on Xbox 360 Frustrating

December 20, 2008

I haven't had much time until yesterday to actually play with some of the new features of the improved Xbox 360 interface that was released a few weeks ago.  One of these improvements is the ability to now stream Netflix movies right to your console for your viewing pleasure (once you have an account of course).  Seeing as I'm on vacation, I figured it would be a decent time to check out the two week free trial.

So...  I log into my Xbox 360 and search for the Netflix area.  I click through a few menu options and supply my email address and password, and then end up on a screen that tells me to "go to netflix.com/xbox to create my account".   So now I have to get up off the couch, stroll over to the computer and punch in a url.  I do so and go through the regular hoops of setting up one of these trial accounts, including choosing a service that I can cancel anytime over the next 2 weeks for no charge (of course), and giving them a credit card number.

But now... it sends me back to the Xbox.  I go back to the couch, ready to watch a movie, press a few buttons and then my Xbox gives me an activation code and tells me to go to netflix.com/activate to activate my streaming account. Again I get up and go back to the computer, plug in the code, and boom, I'm ready to watch movies on my Xbox, Right?

Wrong.

Maybe I was a little too eager, or maybe the frustration was already kicking in and I had ignored a direction somewhere, but I went back to the couch assuming I could browse through lists of movies on my Xbox, hit a button, and spend the next few hours watching something I wouldn't cough up 11 dollars for at the theaters a few months ago. What greeted me at the couch was nothing.