If you haven’t, it’s easy to get to grips with in no time. Set-up is no ordeal, with network settings proving to be the only mild chore thanks to the forehead-corrugatingly lavish text-input system.
But you need do that only once. The remote, while a little lightweight and plasticky, is well laid out and easy to use, and there’s also a smartphone version if you’re a touchscreen junkie.
Sony SMP-N200: Mixed apps
A trawl through the services on offer reveals many of the main players – BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 and Lovefilm (though no Netflix, or 4oD – which is available on the PS3), and others including Eurosport and Sky News.
Several of the other apps feel like also-rans, however, offering highlight content rather than full programming. Sony’s Qriocity service has been replaced with Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited (which, hopefully, are more secure than Qriocity).
There’s a decent amount of video content in SD, HD and 3D, while you can’t really fault the choice for music. Both services work over the cloud on other Sony devices, too.
Storage devices, whether networked or attached via USB, appear automatically in the menu system, and accessing video and music content is as simple as going to the relevant area in the XMB.
However, the interface doesn’t allow metadata importing – so while the Boxee might take a while to scan your content, it’s worth it for the thumbnails.
The Sony merely presents a list of sometimes impenetrably long file-names.
Sony SMP-N200: Format support
Format support is fairly extensive. Most video types – including 3D and Full HD content – are handled fine, though the N200’s audio abilities left us slightly less whelmed.
It can deal with MP3, AAC, WMA and WAV, but there’s no FLAC support – which could rule it out entirely if that’s the way your library is encoded.
It’s worth noting that while some files aren’t supported via DLNA, they are via USB… which is a little weird.
Sony SMP-N200: Performance
Play some video and results are good. The picture is detailed and, while there’s a little judder in slow pans, the Sony keeps a decent grip on textures, especially in darker areas.
Its sonic performance is very Sony-ish – detailed and clean, but a little lean-sounding at times. A bit more weight would be nice.We like the Sony.
It does its thing without fuss. It’s the best device apart from the Apple TV for movie streaming, and it’s the most hassle-free when it comes to networked devices.