UPnP/DLNA issues with current blu ray players

Too many wishes?

I wanted to buy a blu ray player for my home theater. It shall feature three things besides blu ray playing to replace an Apple TV, a WD TV Live streaming client and a Sony BDP-S350 blu ray player:

  • UPnP/DLNA movie streaming from a local server (e.g. mediatomb)
  • being controllable (including power on) via UPnP from a control point (e.g. Goodplayer on the iPhone, gupnp-av-cp, …)
  • Online rental of movies

I tried three different players. All vendors made promises on their webpage. Unfortunately it is quite hard to find information regarding these features on the net. So I ordered one player online and got two from a local store. All players were perfectly fine for blu ray. A 24p test with Casino Royale (crane scene) gave great results. From the blu ray picture quality perspective all players did really excel. In the end I returned all three players. For the reasons read below:

LG BP420

The player did play the tested content via UPnP without issues. Even high bitrate 1080p MKV was streamed without any issues. Unfortunately the player did not allow UPnP control via a control point. I did talk to LG UK and they verified that the player was not designed for such operation. As this was one of my main requirements, this player was out of the race. By the way, powering on the player via network was not possible, even with the LG iPhone app.

Panasonic  DMP-BDT220

I did like the interface better than on the LG. It gave a cleaner look and was easier to navigate. Controlling the player via UPnP worked only for streamed content but not for blu ray. And the player is very limited regarding supported codecs/containers for movies via UPnP. It only supports mpeg2. Another miss..

Sony BDP-S590

The interface of the Sony was the best. Navigating through dozens of items was very easy. Unfortunately it is very limited regarding the content it does play. Even worse, when selecting formats that are not supported, the best you get is an error message after many minutes. But often it just hung there for over 10 minutes and then powered itself off without further notice. The online rental did not work in Austria. The Lovefilm logo and die Video Unlimited feature did not even appear when not using a proxy server in Germany. Next FAIL..

Conclusion

Of course I did update the firmware of all players before the tests. I’m a bit disappointed with the products as they promise many things and deliver only so much. For comparison I used a WD TV Live (old model). It streams all content tested without issues (via UPnP) and can be controlled with a control point. It just lacks power on/off. So I’ll keep my old disc player, will control it manually and continue to use the WD TV Live for movie streaming and the Apple TV for online rentals. Combining these three things into one device just seem to be too many wishes at once…

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