Note: The following review was written the same week as my receipt of the unit. Since then, maybe 2 months now, we've used the unit enough for me to temper my comments. Additionally, a fellow reviewer, Saltydog, explained how to "direct access" any disk on this machine via the remote control. (Thanks a million...your info cleared up my biggest concern!) That was a major concern of mine, and points to my comments about the instruction manual, which I maintain was not written in "simple user terms" and without a "Quick Start Reference Sheet", or some documentation that hits the most obvious functions that most people would go to immediately after purchase.
Given all that......I would have to add that although no machine is perfect, and given that this box actually manages 400 media disks with a price under $300, it remains my "Best Value" for a mega-disk player. Of course, Sony benefits from the fact that there are no other machines that I'm aware of on the consumer market that address this level of entertainment disk management.
---------My original review--------------
This is tough. I owned the 300 disk player and don't remember the slow access and such. But then, all I had were CD's. I've had this machine for 3 days and am rating it only for the its ability to accept 400 DVD's or CD's. I couldn't find anything else on the market that would do that. Apart from that feat, I was sorely dissappointed with the "automatic reading" of disks and loading their contents into the Explorer program, and then out to a TV screen. That feature, called "Load", just doesn't work above recognizing about 10% or so of my disk inventory. I have to agree with everyone else that it's best to create a hardcopy inventory sheet with locations and other info. Don't rely on the machine's program to work as promised. All of the negatives that you read, as I have done in these reviews, is reasonably accurate. While it's beyond my imagination that Sony would crank out a consumer product that so poorly meets its own advertised functionality, I have to remind myself that all I really wanted was somewhere to stash my huge "Bossa Nova" and Brasilian music collection. Beyond that, I won't expect anything more. Although I'm not happy about the Explorer issues, as that feature, were it to work, would make this device better than a 5 star.........although I forgot........you can't simply punch in a disk location on the remote and go directly to a disk! (Oh crude!!!) I'm back to ".....if only the Explorer worked and also you could access random disks easier." And come to think of it, I forgot..........the instruction manual was written by someone who has poor communication skills! (Maybe they don't leave their cubicle for lunch; get out in the fresh air, mingle with others of their kind?) They (Sony) don't use regular terms and phrases in the manual, like, "If you want the machine to randomly play tracks from random disks, then just do this..." Nothing on the remote was intuitive for me, except the "On-Off." Advanced degrees in electronics, software design, horticulture or auto repair won't prepare you for their manual! In fact, if you have a technical background in electronics, you may be hindered! Well.....other than that, why did I give this unit a 4? Because it gives me a place to stash all my music. (I guess I said that before I started gripping, right?)