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Hands on: Sony’s $129 N100 Media Player ‘Does More Than Roku’

New SMP-N100 is a DLNA client that streams local content, as well as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Pandora and other Internet services; includes USB port, HDMI, WiFi


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Sony SMP-N100 DLNA client aggregates and streams content from local servers as well as the cloud. Just $129 retail, including WiFi and USB.

If you like the streaming capabilities of Sony Blu-ray players, you’ll love the new SMP-N100 Network Media Player.

CE Pro enjoyed a sneak preview of the player at Sony headquarters in San Diego last week.

This SMP-N100 Netbox has everything the Sony BDP-S570 has, minus the Blu-ray drive and plus the support of additional video formats including DivX and MKV.

And the suggested retail price is only $129, meaning the street price may eventually come in around the $100 mark. That puts the product into contention with other standalone media streamers like those from Roku, Popbox and Western Digital.

Streaming Services


For starters, the SMP streams Sony’s full suite of Bravia Internet Video services including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon VoD, Pandora; exclusive channels such as FIFA (back when), Michael Jackson, Dr. Oz and the Berliner Philharmoniker; popular online channels such as Slacker, NPR, Crackle, Wired and Epicurious.com; and Sony’s own Qriocity VoD service that is tied to the PlayStation Network.

Basically, you can get most of the same services offered by the other streaming players, with one glaring exception: There’s no Hulu or Boxee.

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That is expected to change this year when Sony releases Hulu Plus to all of its Bravia Internet-enabled displays and players. For now, you can head to the Crackle tab on the Bravia Internet menu and get something pretty good in the interim.

What you won’t see in the N100 is Google TV, says Jeff Muto, product planning manager for Sony’s Home Audio & Video Group.

“It’s not integrated now,” he tells CE Pro. “Their strength is searching the wide-open Internet. In this [N100] case, we’ve packaged the content it for you. … Each of the services looks the same with a consistent UI [user interface].”

Sony announced a few months ago that it would implement Google TV in its CE devices but the company has not detailed its plans.

[CONTINUES AFTER VIDEO]


Bonus Features: DLNA, 802.11n, USB


Unlike most of the other inexpensive players on the market, the SMP-N100 lets users stream content stored on the home network – not just services from the cloud.

Being a DLNA-compliant client, the unit automatically recognizes any DLNA server on the network, including PCs, NAS devices and more. If you have pictures, music or videos (hopefully of the legally ripped variety) on a DLNA drive at home, you can watch it through the SMP.





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Article Topics

News · Product News · Video · Digital Media · Media Servers · Streaming Media · Sony · Pandora · Media Player · Roku · Dlna · Smp-n100 · Neflix · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

26 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Eyal Kattan  on  08/23  at  11:13 AM

Nice and great price but I would wait to see what is coming out with W7 Embedded which includes Windows Media Center.

Hopefully some TV manufacturers will jump on the train and integrate it into the panels.. then you don’t need any box.

Nevertheless, there is always room for standalone streamers such as this one.

Posted by Joe Spisak  on  08/23  at  05:18 PM

Anyone know which chipset this uses?

Posted by Todd  on  08/23  at  07:24 PM

Any discussion about future Netflix upgrades? I was all set to scuttle my Roku purchase plans in favor of this, but then I saw the bit about not being able to browse Netflix. Roku was the same way in the beginning, so I’m wondering if Sony will eventually come around, too.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  08/24  at  04:34 AM

Joe—no data sheets have been released yet. Don’t know about chipset, but I’ll ask.

Todd—I can only imagine that Sony will come around and add more functionality for Netflix. I use Media Center and I really enjoy browsing Netflix from the TV.

Posted by kgruddy  on  08/24  at  09:35 AM

What I really want is the stand!  Does anyone know where to get one?

Posted by George  on  08/24  at  10:29 AM

Don’t fall for it.  We’ve seen Sony create the Beta video tape standard and try to unsuccessfully coherse the market into paying license fees.  Now they’ve successfully raided the HD DVD market with their Blu-ray standard, in which everyone has to pay a royalty on.  I blame Sony for the high priced and slow high-def acceptance by the masses.  Now they introduce a new streaming device.  I can guarantee they’re at it again.  There will be an open standard and Sony’s proprietary one.  They’ll pay off whoever they need to so their standard is the de facto and everyone will again have to pay to use this technology, again stifling acceptance of a new technology. 

Roku has done a great job at keeping everything open.  They’ve added new capabilities while keeping the price low.  They’ve not tried to capture the streaming market, create a new streaming protocol standard, or be sneaky in any way.  I vote for and recommend Roku for anyone who’s interested in this type of device.

Posted by Shawn  on  08/25  at  01:37 PM

George,
I have a Roku but the Sony N100 looks interesting, it will have more features than the Roku and will likely get Hulu Plus before the Roku.

Posted by awx  on  08/25  at  07:05 PM

Any idea if this supports soft subtitles embedded in videos or external .srt or idx/sub files? The PS3 supports Divx subtitles in .divx files but has no support for subs in .mp4 files.

Posted by Razoe  on  08/26  at  12:49 AM

Probably a Sigma Designs chipset as those are the only ones which have Netflix at the moment.

A nice box with a good UI for a change on a network media player.

Posted by Scott  on  08/26  at  09:21 AM

I’ve ripped my dvd collection to video_ts folders to maintain the DVD menu system and extras. Any idea if they will be playable on this unit?

Posted by Shawn  on  08/26  at  10:53 AM

Here’s the manual if anybody is interested:

http://pdf.crse.com/manuals/4192726311.pdf

Posted by joel degray  on  08/26  at  01:45 PM

The spec sheet does not show VOBs.
You can use Handbrake to convert out to
MP4 / M4V. The VOB qual may be preferred, so MKV (also supported) may be of interest. I don’t know if there is a pgm
which will take your files and parse out- AVS forum is a good place to inquire.

Posted by Mark  on  08/27  at  09:17 PM

That manual seems to only reference DLNA servers. I’m wondering if it’ll be possible to browse standard file shares (ie. SMB, NFS)?

Posted by Jim  on  08/30  at  06:26 AM

I can’t wait for the Sony offering.  I have two Roku units (HD with N speed) and the remote control is out of a Model T.  It’s very clunky, cheap, and has few features.

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