A tale of two Blu-ray players (and two retailers)


I’ve been thinking that this would be a great time to upgrade to a Blu-ray player.  Since our Wii was stolen we don’t have a convenient way to watch Netflix streamed movies on our big screen TV.  Many of the new Blu-ray players support various streaming sites, so I’m more interested in that feature than the ability to play Blu-ray discs.

I was watching bfads.net to see which players were going to be on sale and would read reviews of them on Amazon, which seems to carry all the products and has a very vocal customer base. It seemed no matter which product or brand I looked at, they all have their issues.  I was looking for a player with built-in WI-fi to make it easier to setup but after reading reviews of all the major brands it seemed to be iffy you could get a player with a reliable connection.  It didn’t seem to matter if you were looking at Panasonic, Sony, LG or Samsung, according to the reviews they all had issues, if not with the internet connection, then with the time for a disc to play, updating firmware or with how the internet interface worked. My approach was to purchase from a retailer with a store I could easily return it to.  Come Thanksgiving I still hadn’t decided on a single player so I decided to order two of them and decide later.

Player #1 Sony BDP-S380 from Kmart.com for $80 

This player doesn’t have wireless and was a good choice for a starting point.  Shopping through the Discover website I also qualified for a 15% cash back bonus, lowering the price to $68 before tax.  Kmart’s site told me they had one in the store near my home and I could pick it up once I got an email notification. I got an order confirmation email at 11:08pm thanking me for my order and letting me know they were processing my order and would email me when my item was ready for pickup.

At 12:17pm on 11/25 I got an email informing me the player was no longer available and I could talk to one of their 800 number Personal Shoppers to find a comparable item.   No offer of substitution.  Kmart’s inventory system is not very accurate if they let me order an item they didn’t really have.

Player #2: Sony BDP-S580 from Walmart.com for $109

This 3-D player with built-in WI-Fi was reasonably priced.  Shopping through the Discover site again, I qualified for a 5% cash back bonus, bringing the total to around $104 plus tax.  Walmart was offering free shipping so I had it shipped directly to my home.  Got my email confirmation at 12:48am on 11/25, over an hour after I placed the order. Friday night at 10:34pm I got an email notifying me the player had shipped and was estimated to arrive by 12/5.

My doorbell rang at 2pm on Saturday afternoon and there was the FedEx guy with my player, less than 48 hours after I placed my order.  Wow!

I connected my player that night to watch a movie and connected it to my local network and the internet, all without problems.  Yesterday I set the player up so I could watch Netflix movies.  Tonight I’m listening to my Rockin’ Christmas station on Pandora.

I’m happy I don’t have to decide which one I’m going to keep. Kmart blew it. Walmart wowed me with great service.

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2 thoughts on “A tale of two Blu-ray players (and two retailers)

  1. We’ve had a Sony for about a year (don’t remember the model number) and I have no complaints with it. We also have a Sony TV so I really like that one remote will operate both of them. Any time we’ve had problems with the wireless it was because of my router, not the player. I do not care much for the Netflix interface on it though, I prefer the Wii interface.

  2. Hopefully John we’ll have the same experience as you. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because based on reviews I’ve read, sometimes the player doesn’t act up for a couple of months.

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