Thursday, March 31, 2011

Old dog learning new tricks

sony-bdp-s580-blu-ray-disc-player-black I took a day off from the blog yesterday to climb the learning curve on our new Blu-ray player.
It’s a Sony BDP-S580. We saw one about a month ago at Best Buy and were ready to pull the trigger then and there until the salesboy discovered they had only the display model, it wasn’t listed in inventory and it was apparently not yet available. Never mind how they happened to have one on display. He didn’t know either.
So we put the idea in the “future” file. Until last Friday when I discovered the unit, which has an MSRP of $199, could be had on for $168. Shipping was free, thanks to our Preferred Membership.
Well, alrighty then.
I pulled the trigger and the UPS guy delivered it late Tuesday.
It has built-in Wifi, which is what got our attention at Best Buy. That means it can “see” our wireless router Wifi signal and access the Internet, making it possible to stream all kinds of Internet content, including Netflix, huluplus, Movies, YouTube, Pandora Internet Radio, CinemaNow, Vudu. It can even read 3D content. All for about half what we paid for our first Blu-ray player a couple of years ago.
But the entertainment center is in the living room and the wireless router is upstairs in the office at the other end of the house, separated by about 50 feet, a floor and three walls. Consequently, the Blu-ray’s Wifi showed only two of five bars of signal strength and that led to interruptions in streaming media. The Linksys router is at least five years old and I wondered whether I should get a new router and/or a remote signal booster.
linksys Then I remembered the Linksys WRE54G Wireless-G Range Expander that I bought about three years ago, but could never get to work. It was still on the floor under my desk, so I pulled it out, dusted it off and Googled up the instructions. They seemed straightforward enough, so I took it down to the living room, plugged it in, stuck a paperclip into the “reset” hole, and pressed the “automatic connect” button. The monitor lights showed it was working correctly. I played a YouTube video and was pleased to see that the Blu-ray Wifi now showed a full five bars of signal strength. Woo-freaking-hoo! Problem solved at no extra expense.
I suspect a newer “N” router and repeater would be better, but as long as everything functions well, I’m not going to worry about it. Besides, with technology the longer you wait the better and cheaper it gets.
Several of the Internet content providers like Netflix, huluplus, movies and others require the user to first create an online account via a regular computer and then synch the Sony unit with it. So far, we’re synched with Netflix, YouTube and movies. I’m going to look into a huluplus account this morning before I get serious about a final attack on clutter in anticipation of the arrival of Maria’s parents from Indiana this afternoon.

No comments: