I’m firing the Sony S380 Bluray player I bought it last weekend. It’s finished. I’m taking it back to Best Buy on Sawtelle this afternoon, and I’d love to punch it a couple of times and then throw it against the wall for dramatic effect, and then kick it and spit on it. I hate brand-new machines that fuck with you because their designers are assholes.

There’s nothing wrong with the picture quality at all, but the bugger gave me all kinds of trouble with aspect-ratio control. I had to struggle and call around and ask questions just to figure out how to make 1.33 to 1 aspect ratio films (i.e., those released from the mid ’50s and back) look like they should without getting that irritating horizontal taffy-pull effect. Plus the Bluray remote doesn’t have an instant return to the DVD home screen command button. You have to click up and then sideways and find the right control….the hell with that. Plus the remote command action is sluggish; the TV needs a second or two to think before responding.

I got the 1.33 to 1 thing working well for a time (I was quite pleased, in fact, that the S380 delivers almost a perfect box effect by displaying the full height of those old films) but then it reverted to problem status. I’ve been told by a home-video specialist who dropped by to get a wifi-friendly Samsung 8500. I’ve never liked the name Samsung (i.e., too Korean) but I’m done with Sony Bluray players for life. I’d honestly like to put the S380 in the middle of Westbourne Drive and run over it with my car.