Sony SMP-200 review
The Sony SMP-N200 is a compact black media streamer and smart TV system that shouldn't look out of place next to your TV. With the exception of its USB port, all its connections are located on the back panel, and include a 10/100 Ethernet port, HDMI, optical S/PDIF, component video and line-level audio outputs.
Switch on the SMP-N200 and you’ll probably think you’ve switched on your PlayStation 3 instead. Its menu is exactly the same as the PS3’s, so many users will be able to use the SMP-N200 without having to read the manual. The menu is also well organised and easy to navigate, just as on Sony's console. Sadly, the menu’s motion is isn’t as smooth, and the whole unit seems to run very slowly. Transitions from one menu item to another, for example, display a jerkiness that you'd expect from a budget media streamer, not a Sony product, which is disappointing. The streamer does, however, have a vast amount of settings that let you configure and control the SMP-N200 how you want.
Setting up the SMP-N200 is straightforward. Getting it online involves plugging it in to your router with an Ethernet cable or connecting it via Wi-Fi. Either method is painless and takes moments. Once online, you can enjoy a wide range of high-quality internet services, such as the all-important BBC iPlayer, Sony Entertainment Television, LoveFilm, Sky News and the free movie channel Crackle. There's definitely something for everyone hidden among the content. We were generally impressed with the streamer's video quality, although this is of course dependent on the source material. BBC HD will always look better than a poor-quality video on YouTube.
You can also stream media to the SMP-N200 from your own network, freeing audio and video from your PC's hard disk. DLNA-enabled streaming devices are displayed in the SMP-N200’s menu, and from there you select the media you want to enjoy. It works brilliantly as long as you can see the server to which you want to connect. We tried to stream from a USB flash drive attached to a Buffalo WZR-D1800H router, and although the SMP-N200 knew it existed, we couldn’t get it to display the server on its menu. However, a USB flash drive plugged into a Fritz!Box 7390 router worked fine, and we had no problem streaming from our DLNA-enabled NAS drive.
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