Sony's BDP-N460 Blu-ray Player Also Streams Netflix, Web Content

Remember the days when you were content with a DVD player doing nothing more than playing back DVDs? Those days are long gone. Now, Blu-ray decks aren't even considered worthwhile against rivals unless they can do a whole mess of other things, including stream Web content, check Twitter feeds and enable users to access BD-Live material.

And that's why Sony has made sure that it's new BDP-N460 is well connected, ready to take on whatever the Internet can throw at it. Introduced at CEDIA Expo this past week alongside the gorgeous JVC HDTV we spotted earlier, this Blu-ray Disc player also handles DVD playback (upscaled to "near HD") and streaming Internet video. Owners simply plug in a live Ethernet cable and, like magic, they have access to a vast library of premium and free on-demand content from the BRAVIA Internet Video platform. Said portal features thousands of movies, TV programs, and music from YouTube, Slacker, and, later this fall, Netflix.

On the BD front, this one delivers Full HD (1080p) playback and 24p True Cinema output, and it also decodes the latest audio formats internally. Naturally, it's also Profile 2.0-compliant, meaning that BD-Live discs are welcome here so long as you can provide your own 1GB USB stick for holding the additional content. Also of note, this unit includes built-in software specially designed for use with the Linksys by Cisco Wireless-N Ethernet Bridge with Dual-Band (WET610N, sold separately); the bridge helps ease the connection between the Ethernet-enabled player and a wireless router in either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz radio band for optimal streaming.

Finally, the heck includes a feature that frequent Netflix renters will live: Sony's Precision Drive technology. This addition helps it to etect and correct wobbling discs from three directions, supporting stabilization of warped or scratched Blu-ray Discs and DVDs during playback. Those interested can pick one up this October for around $250.