Blu-ray players have come a very long way since their introduction in 2006. The much-maligned long loading times are on their way out. HDCP issues are becoming less and less common. Players are getting smaller, cheaper, and more advanced. Perhaps the best example of this advancement is Sony's new BDP-BX1. The BX1 is a special model of their BDP-S350 made for Costco stores. Aside from the different name, the BX1 includes an HDMI cable in the box, which the S350 lacks. We picked one up recently, and found that the BX1 is a very capable, fully featured Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player -- and a real bargain at $240.


Blu-ray Profile: 2.0

Maximum resolution: 1080p/24

Connection Panel: Composite video, S-Video, Component video, HDMI, Stereo RCA audio, coaxial digital audio, TOSlink optical audio, 100mbit Ethernet, USB port.


Small Form Factor. The Sony BDP-BX1 is a diminutive little machine, measuring only 17" wide by 8.5" deep by 2.5" tall. The front panel is simplicity itself, with very little clutter. Two top buttons control power and disc eject, while the right hand side has three smaller buttons for play, pause, and stop. A small LED indicates when 24p playback is enabled.

Intuitive Menu System. Like the Playstation 3, the BX1 features the "Xross (pronounced Cross) Media Bar," or XMB, menu system. While Sony's decision to squeeze an X into the name is amusing, the menu itself is easy to use, instantly giving the user access to configuration options for the player, audio files, and video files. A simple press of the enter button on any item brings up further options. Pressing enter on the icon for a Blu-ray or DVD movie starts the disc. The XMB system is easy to understand, easy to navigate, and lays out all the options, rather than squirreling them away inside some submenu.

Load times. An oft-bemoaned downside of Blu-ray movies is that they take significantly longer to load than DVD movies do. Players are getting faster, though, and the days of 90 second load times are thankfully over.

Previously, the fastest Blu-ray player we'd seen was the Sony Playstation 3. With a disc already in the drive, it took about 33 seconds to go from power on to picture on screen. Now, the BDP-BX1 can accomplish the same task in 37 seconds, which is the fastest load time we've seen thus far from a standalone Blu-ray player. If the player is already warmed up, the time from closing the tray to seeing a picture is only 29 seconds, which is a dead tie with the PS3. The bottom line is that you don't need to worry about an interminable wait with the BDP-BX1; compared to Blu-ray players past, it's downright zippy.

Supported Media. In addition to commercially printed Blu-ray movies, the BX1 can play BD-R and BD-RE writable discs, provided that they were authored correctly. It can also play DVDs, as well as all flavors of recordable DVDs. So rather than cluttering up your theater, you can use the BX1 to replace one or more devices and save some space.

Image quality. At the end of the day, Blu-ray is all about image quality. The BX1 is capable of bringing out all the detail inherent in Blu-ray movies, transmitting them to your television or projector in pristine 1080p/24 over HDMI. During testing, we used the Mitsubishi HC6500, which is one of the sharpest 1080p projectors available in 2008. Using this razor-sharp projector, any flaw imparted to the image by the BX1 would have been immediately apparent. We saw none. The BX1 upscales standard definition DVDs cleanly, as well.


Connections. When compared to some other current Blu-ray players, the BX1 is limited in its connectivity. It has the requisite HDMI and component video outputs, and legacy s-video and composite connections are included as well. On the audio front, stereo RCA is joined by TOSlink optical and coaxial. An ethernet port rounds out the ensemble and allows for the use of BD-Live content. Missing are the discrete 5.1 or 7.1 analog outputs, which are one of the easiest ways to use the new HD audio codecs on an A/V receiver without HDMI.

Remote Control. If you have ever seen a Sony remote, chances are that the remote for the BX1 will look familiar. Sony's standard layout applies here, with numerical buttons near the top, a directional pad and menu controls near the middle, and disc controls near the bottom. A small button in the bottom right turns on the backlight, which illuminates the bottom two thirds of the remote with a blue glow.

So why is this listed under Limitations? The remote control is the only way to navigate on the BX1, since the front panel lacks any sort of navigation controls - in other words, if you lose the remote, you're out of luck if you want to do anything except play the movie from the beginning.


Sony's BDP-BX1 is a winner. Its small form factor and lightning fast load times make it a convenient, easy to use Blu-ray player. Its excellent menu system and easy to use remote make navigation a breeze, as well - just don't misplace your remote. And while there are no separate analog audio outputs, you can still make use of the player's TOSlink or coaxial audio outputs for excellent sound. With a retail price of $240 or less at your local Costco, the BX1 is a great value in Blu-ray players. If you do not have a Costco store nearby, or don't want to become a member, you can always pick up the Sony BDP-S350 at a store near you.

Comments (21) Post a Comment
Tod Posted Jan 7, 2009 10:40 AM PST
My older projector has only analog inputs ( up to 1080i). I'd like to know how this blue disc player and other similiar units behaive if you only can use the component outputs. Does it still up convert standard DVD's? Are there any HD discs which will not play through the analog outputs? What about the 24p mode? Even commercial theater film projectors running at 24fps open the shutter twice for 48 frame rate. How about an article on how 24p relates to new 120 refresh displays?
Steve Posted Jan 7, 2009 1:28 PM PST
I'd like to see you all do a review of the Panny DMP BD35, which is supposedly the equiv model. In other reviews I've read that the Panny has better image quality upscaling SD DVDs than the Sony, and noticed that you all didn't dig too much into the SD DVD arena. Speaking of "SD" (as in Secure Digital this time), it would be interesting to cover off how the DVD players address local storage, as this is required for BD-Live (1GB min). Anyway, I'm happy to see you all reviewing a BD player - I love this site and find it instrumental for home theater development.
Adam Posted Jan 7, 2009 6:57 PM PST
I own a BDP-S350 and it WILL upconvert to 1080i with the component video outputs. One slight drawback I have found is that it will NOT output component and HDMI at the same time--you have to choose.
jim Posted Jan 8, 2009 5:26 AM PST
dynamic contrast ratios are useless and decieving and a phony marketing ploy that should not be entertained. they compare only to themself . am i a fool because i am a consumer. tell me the static contrast ratio so i can compare. please stop discrediting yourselfs with nonsense
Bill Posted Jan 8, 2009 5:58 PM PST
I have burned jpeg files from my camera on a CD and put them in the Sony S350 Blu-ray player and it outputs them perfectly sharp in 1920x1080 on my big 92 inch projection screen. In contrast, my upscaling DVD player shows fuzzy photos. My computer's hdmi output over sizes and crops all edges but what is shown is sharp.
Henry Posted Jan 12, 2009 4:28 AM PST
I would also be interested to hear more about this player's SD upscaling capabilties as well as whether it can properly construct progressive video from interlaced sources (SD DVD and video-based HD), including motion-adaptive circuitry.
Mark Posted Jan 12, 2009 4:41 PM PST
I have a Sharp & the original Sony Bluray battleship before I purchased on recommendation a BDS350. I am in Australia and over the years I have built up a reasonable collection of region 1 titles from either the States or Canada. This device is region free for Standard def discs out of the box (as is the playstation 3) so this was an added bonus for me as well as the PC quality and fast loading times. The only files it wont play so far are AVI burnt onto DVD media. However this is no real issue and certainly no dealbreaker. I never been a Sony fan, (not for product but for poor representation) but still seem to accumulate a number of Sony products, however this one is a real winner.
Bob Posted Jan 14, 2009 4:47 PM PST
Was $179.00 at Costco in Naperville, Illinois. Has anyone seen it for less?
Bob Posted Jan 16, 2009 11:29 AM PST
Oops, typo... $279.00 at Costco.
bopanna Posted Feb 2, 2009 4:40 AM PST
Hi, Can anyone who has this Sony BDX1 confirm me that this unit plays all formats and compatible to all regions?
Jeff Posted Feb 13, 2009 6:54 AM PST
I own a BenQW500 720p lcd projector. Full on Full off 5000to1 iris on. I just picked up a Pioneer BDP 51FD Blu-ray player. I sent the 1080p 24 through my HDMI cable and the image is the best I have seen so far. I had the Sony 350 and the Samsung but they both did not look nearly as good as the Pioneer. If you want the very best image for your Home Theater it is worth the extra money by far. Also you can have 7.1 Dolby HD through the analog outputs. This player is worth every penny and will soon be replaced by units made by Sharp out of China. Pioneer can no longer make MONEY IS NO OBJECT units and still be in bussiness. So buy one while you still can!!!
Frank_L Posted Jul 31, 2009 10:33 PM PST
Awesome Unit! Caught it on sale at a Sony Outlet store near Austin TX. It cost $169 new sale price for that w/e mid July 2009. I was hesistant as my computer has BD and I have in connected to my Onkyo TX-SR876 7.1.

The unit is small form factor so it fits well stacked above DVD player. It loads fast and my wife and 8 year old love that its as easy to use as the DVD player. Previously they complained of the hassle factor with using the computer to watch the BluRay discs.

Worth it even if i had to pay $250. I initially wanted to hold out for the new OPPO unit but at a 1/3 the cost this is a best buy.
Jeff in Hillsboro Posted Oct 3, 2009 10:08 PM PST
Love my unit also, but faces of people are always BLUE. What is this? Regular DVDs are great, but BlueRay discs are always this way. Is it just a setting? Or do I have a lemon?
Rob Posted Dec 9, 2009 10:43 AM PST
Does anyone know if the BDX1 can play sacd media?
Melissa Posted Feb 16, 2010 11:23 AM PST
Is this model NetFlix ready?
Paul Foster Posted Jul 28, 2010 10:50 PM PST
I've attempted to use the PS3 disc with this. It gets to the point of searching for an internet connection and tells me it can't find one... though it can download updates. :S
John@BD570 Posted Oct 21, 2010 5:51 PM PST
I love my LG blu-ray player, It has everything I want and more, including connection to Netflix, Hulu, You tube and more....Check it out, may be worth a look
Bill Posted Oct 26, 2010 9:45 PM PST
Does this one have access to streaming video from Netfix?
edwin medina Posted Nov 2, 2010 8:40 AM PST
It cost me just $95.00, but is working great, I'm sorry about the analog output, but it is still a good buy. by the way, it worked perfectly with my Bravia, and the LCD remote controls the blue ray so i got two remotes without configuration, thanks to the Sony Sync technology.
Mark Posted Feb 2, 2013 6:29 PM PST
Can someone advise me if my Sony.BDP-BX1 can play bluray 3D DVD's

Thanks much Mark
Rachel Washington Posted Jul 28, 2014 6:49 AM PST
Great article Bill. For those who live outside US like me, you can access Netflix, Hulu and similar media stations on your BD Player by using UnoTelly or similar tools.

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