Review: Sony BDP-S300 Blu-ray Player

June 13, 2007

Sony BDP-S300

A good friend of mine was kind enough to drop by and allow me to check out his new Sony BDP-S300 ($499) Blu-ray player. You know me, check out turned into a five and a half hour review. Sony’s BDP-S300 at $499 has sparked a fair amount of interest among those who have, thus far, remained on the sidelines of the hi-def disc battle. The player outputs at resolutions up to 1080p/24 and handles all of the commonly used lossless audio formats, HDMI 1.3 1.1 and supports x.v.color. Of course as with any other new piece of gear, we’re just as, if not more, interested in how the unit operates as much as its specifications. So let’s get at it.

The BDP-S300 is a bit slimmer than its predecessor (the BDP-S1) and the overall design is pleasing enough, with one notable exception. Chalk it up to personal preference, an unwillingness to accept change or just downright stodginess, I don’t like function buttons on the top of equipment. The S300’s eject and power buttons are placed to the left and right top-edge of the unit’s front facade. I feel this was a mistake but the top edge does slope down a bit so while annoying (at least to me) it shouldn’t offer any real-world hurdles in day to day operation.

The back panel of the player has the usual assortment of component, HDMI, composite and s-video connections but one interface in particular is notably absent. Entry level (most to be exact) Blu-ray players typically lack Ethernet connectivity so nothing new here in that regard but I have to scratch my head every time I spin a BD player around and see a feature that’s mandatory, even on the cheapest of HD DVD players, missing from its Blu-ray counterpart.

Here’s the thing that I’ve come to realize about interactivity and networking features on hi-def disc players, it isn’t about what you can/can’t do with them today, it’s about what you can/can’t do with them tomorrow. Even Blu-ray’s new minimum 1.1 profile slated to become mandatory after October 31st, only mandates 256mb of memory and a secondary video decoder, something that HD DVD players have had since day one, but I digress.

It appears as if fully functional Ethernet connectivity will only be mandated with players conforming to profile 2.0 aka BD-Live, at the risk of beating a dead horse, no 2.0 compliant BD playback devices are currently available. It’s assumed that the PS3 could achieve profile 2.0 compliance by means of a firmware update but this remains to be seen. Either way the BDP-S300 will no doubt receive firmware updates as well, we’ll just have to burn them to a CDR and or wait for official firmware updates by mail, directly from Sony.


Setup and General Observations: One of the first things I encountered with this player was actually one of the best features/implementations I’ve seen on any HD disc player to date and all I had to do was turn the player on. The player defaults to language and resolution settings on first boot, which of course would be quite advantageous to those with odd/unusual display settings. Nice touch, simple but nice.

The player also did a good job at recognizing our display’s (JVC DLA-HD1) native resolution and adjusting its output accordingly. Load times were on par with other current generation BD/HD disc players, about 18 seconds from open tray to video on-screen, not bad at all. The remote however leaves a bit to be desired. It’s not bad per say but the smallish buttons combined with the fact it’s not back-lit doesn’t exactly make for an intuitive user experience in a darkened room, of course learning the codes into a back-lit universal remote will remedy this.

HQV Benchmark Results: The BDP-S300 scored quite nicely with the standard definition HQV benchmark disc, not only did in pass most of the tests with flying colors it was able to lock onto the 3:2 film cadence test faster than many of the DVD and BD/HD players I’ve tested recently.

•Color Bar/Vertical Detail: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Jaggies Pattern 1: Pass – Score 5 of 5
•Jaggies Pattern 2: Pass – Score 3 of 5
•Flag: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Picture Detail: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Noise Reduction: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Motion Adaptive Noise Reduction: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•3:2 Detection: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Film Cadence: Pass – Score (Combined) 40 of 40
•Mixed 3:2 Film, Horizontal Text Crawl: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Mixed 3:2 Film, Vertical Text Crawl: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Total Score: 128 out of a possible 130.

Image Quality: The display device for this review was a ISF calibrated JVC DLA-HD1 – 1080p projector with the audio being handled by a Denon AVR-4806 paired with PSB G-Design towers, center and rears and a PSB SubSeries 9 subwoofer. Right off the bat everyone in the room noticed the image quality from the S300, it’s always comforting when the results right out of the box are at least on par with expectations, surpassing them is of course a nice bonus.

The only SD DVD I had on hand was ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’ (pulled specifically to compare to the BD version). As an SD DVD player the BDP-S300 appeared to perform quite capably, surprisingly well as a matter of fact. I’ve always found this disc to be mediocre at best and just plain bad at worst, in all honesty much of what we viewed looked quite nice. Perhaps the disc wasn’t quite as bad as I’d first thought.

Moving on to some BD playback, it didn’t take long to start noticing something that I’ve long suspected about the PS3. (In my opinion, at least for the foreseeable future, all BD playback comparisons should at least include some cursory comparison of the PS3 as it’s undeniably the most used BD playback device in service.) While the PS3 is indeed a “good” Blu-ray player, it isn’t necessarily the end all in BD playback. I quickly noticed scenes in several discs that I had previously written off as mediocre or worse, suddenly having a tad more detail and sharpness.

After setting the unit up and taking a few minutes to get an overall feel for its performance we broke for lunch and grabbed a few BD’s on the way back. (My BD collection needed freshening up.) I picked up ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’ while the BDP-S300’s owner opted for ‘Hellboy’. Back from lunch we watched a bit of Hellboy, which looked excellent sans a bit of macro-blocking in several of the scenes with explosions, overall however the image was quite nice. It actually made me want to finish the film which is more than I can say for previous viewings.

Moving on to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’ however wasn’t without incident. The player struggled loading the disc for what seemed to be an eternity, followed by yet another loading screen (presumably for the discs advanced Java menus and animations). Needless to say actually navigating the disc was also a chore, no doubt a firmware update could and likely will remedy the player’s sluggishness. I just hope that fix is already in the works, if not playing discs like POTC and other advanced Java titles will prove to be a less than ideal experience for new users.

Note: Afterwards I took my POTC disc home and tried it with my PS3, it was a night and day difference, the disc loaded immediately and the second layer of interactive feature (after the trailers) loaded up within seconds. Also once loaded, the menu commands responded crisply without any of the lag present earlier with the BDP-S300.

Later we popped in ‘Casino Royale’ and found it to look quite nice through the BDP-S300. The colors were bold and faithfully rendered while the overall image was sharp and detailed. One scene in particular, the fight pit scene between the mongoose and snake really stood out. I’d never noticed just how much detail is present in the scene, overall resolution certainly doesn’t seem to be one of the BDP-S300’s shortcomings.

Audio Performance: We used PCM audio whenever available and found the bass extension and upper frequencies all sounded great, as mentioned earlier the player supports all the commonly used lossless audio codec’s/formats sans DTS HD Master Audio. Either way we were impressed with the S300’s audio performance and feel you will be as well.

Summary: I’m in a bit of a pickle here as to a recommendation based on the Java sluggishness alone but I’m going to go out on a limb for Sony. (Yes mark your calendars) Having seen first-hand how other hi-def disc players have been firmware updated to overcome quirky menus and other minor incompatibility issues, I’m relatively confident that once those inevitable updates reach the BDP-S300 it will warrant a full recommendation.

Given the fact that dealer discounting and further price drops will eventually soften the $499 (MSRP) blow even further, perhaps my real recommendation would go something like: the BDP-S300 is a good player now but with further incentives combined with a firmware update or two it would be even better. If you’re sure this is the player for you, the real question is when to jump in, enjoy it now quirks and all or wait a bit longer for extra incentives and firmware updates.

–Update– It looks as if the BDP-S300 isn’t HDMI 1.3 equipped after all. This post from A/V Magazine (Italian) clearly shows a Silicon Image SiI9030 chipset which is HDMI 1.1 only

–Update– Folks when I’m wrong I’m wrong what can I say, the whole TrueHD thing has been eating at me since the review was posted and I just couldn’t take it anymore. Yesterday afternoon we went out and purchased ‘Ghost Rider’ on BD (One of the few BD’s with a TrueHD track) and you guessed it, the BDP-S300 in its current state doesn’t decode the track. I’ll admit the TrueHD notations in the owners manual even had your’s truly fooled. It appears as if TrueHD decoding simply hasn’t been implemented into the player as yet, without knowing the specifically hardware inside the player it would be hard to say with any certainly if its even a possibility at a later date by means of a firmware update.

Given the lack of TrueHD compatibility (in its current state) and the previous unearthing of the HDMI 1.1 transmitter chip, I’ll have to temper my recommendation even further. At this point if you’re looking for a stand-alone Blu-ray player I can’t wholeheartedly recommend the BDP-S300 quite as easily as before these issues came to light. It’s still a good player, but certainly not quite as good as our first impressions indicated. For what it’s worth; I feel I’ve paid my penance for my original oversights, ‘Ghost Rider’ was truly abysmal.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Blu-ray, Reviews


Comments

  • Eduardo

    Sony says the BDP-S300 will be Dolby True-HD compatible, after version 4.50 firmware update, available at

    http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/swu-download.pl?mdl=BDPS300&upd_id=4320&os_id=28

  • Eduardo

    Sony says the BDP-S300 will be Dolby True-HD compatible, after version 4.50 firmware update, available at

    http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/swu-download.pl?mdl=BDPS300&upd_id=4320&os_id=28

  • S O’Mara

    I have a BDP-S300. i was very impressed at fisrt but my first purchased disc tells me that to play one of its special features I need Bonusview or Blue Live.

    I know Blue Live will be available oon the 2.0 models and bonusview will be available on 1.1

    Does anyone know if Sony wil update the BDP-S300 to make it 1.1?

    As it currently stamds I am thinking of returning the machine for a PS3 or replaceit with the 350.

  • S O’Mara

    I have a BDP-S300. i was very impressed at fisrt but my first purchased disc tells me that to play one of its special features I need Bonusview or Blue Live.

    I know Blue Live will be available oon the 2.0 models and bonusview will be available on 1.1

    Does anyone know if Sony wil update the BDP-S300 to make it 1.1?

    As it currently stamds I am thinking of returning the machine for a PS3 or replaceit with the 350.

  • gaz

    i have sony bdp s300, it only plays dvd zone 4 does any one known the code to open so it will play also zone 1 dvd or make it multy zone

  • gaz

    i have sony bdp s300, it only plays dvd zone 4 does any one known the code to open so it will play also zone 1 dvd or make it multy zone

  • Phil B

    Sorry to have to ask such a basic question, but in comparison, is the PS3 better, or the standalone S300?

    I’m about to buy a new hi def TV and I’ve been offered a free PS3 or S300. I wouldn’t use the PS3 for games, just the blu ray capabilities, so which would you recommend?

    Thanks.

  • Phil B

    Sorry to have to ask such a basic question, but in comparison, is the PS3 better, or the standalone S300?

    I’m about to buy a new hi def TV and I’ve been offered a free PS3 or S300. I wouldn’t use the PS3 for games, just the blu ray capabilities, so which would you recommend?

    Thanks.

  • B.Greenway

    That would be tough with this particular player Richard 🙂

  • B.Greenway

    That would be tough with this particular player Richard 🙂

  • richard_lichenfelt

    You probably just need to hook the player up to the internet and download the latest firmware updates. It’s been a while since it was produced, oredered, shipped from overseas, then in a warehouse somewhere before being trucked to its final destination.

  • richard_lichenfelt

    You probably just need to hook the player up to the internet and download the latest firmware updates. It’s been a while since it was produced, oredered, shipped from overseas, then in a warehouse somewhere before being trucked to its final destination.

  • LC

    Any comments/feedback on how the S-300 compares to the S-1?

    Thanks.

  • LC

    Any comments/feedback on how the S-300 compares to the S-1?

    Thanks.

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Michael, the SiI9030’s product page clearly states the chipset is only capable of HDMI 1.1, as to whether this is a limitation, that would really boil down to whether you want to send lossless audio as a bitstream to one of the new HDMI 1.3 receivers.

    The S300 can still decode that audio internally and send it as PCM, so no real “loss” there, just really a matter of which piece of gear handles the decoding.

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Michael, the SiI9030’s product page clearly states the chipset is only capable of HDMI 1.1, as to whether this is a limitation, that would really boil down to whether you want to send lossless audio as a bitstream to one of the new HDMI 1.3 receivers.

    The S300 can still decode that audio internally and send it as PCM, so no real “loss” there, just really a matter of which piece of gear handles the decoding.

  • michael foster

    Were you able to verify with Silicon Image that the SiI9030 chipset used by Sony does limit it to HDMI 1.1 only? Could it be that they have a special chip? If not, does this limit the player in sound, video or both?

  • michael foster

    Were you able to verify with Silicon Image that the SiI9030 chipset used by Sony does limit it to HDMI 1.1 only? Could it be that they have a special chip? If not, does this limit the player in sound, video or both?

  • jyzz

    RE: BD-R / BD-RE.
    the s300 PDF manual states that it is NOT compatible with BD-R/BD-RE, in contrast to the S-1, which is compatible after firmware update. However, the S300 was able to play mpeg2 ts/ps streams burnt on a dvd. Interesteing.

  • jyzz

    RE: BD-R / BD-RE.
    the s300 PDF manual states that it is NOT compatible with BD-R/BD-RE, in contrast to the S-1, which is compatible after firmware update. However, the S300 was able to play mpeg2 ts/ps streams burnt on a dvd. Interesteing.

  • Steve

    One question I never see answered in reviews of BD players: will they play BD-R or BD-RE disks?
    I operate a video production company now working in HD. We have begun to author and burn our productions on BD. Initially, the BDP-S1 would not play our BD-R and BD-RE disks, but after a firmware update, it did. We also have two Samsung BD players, one of which does not consistently handle these home-burned disks. I realize this is not an issue that affects many consumers, but it would be nice to know; over time, it will become more important. In the manufacturer’s specs for the BDPS300, the BD-R and BD-RE disks are not listed, but that may be an inadvertent error.

  • Steve

    One question I never see answered in reviews of BD players: will they play BD-R or BD-RE disks?
    I operate a video production company now working in HD. We have begun to author and burn our productions on BD. Initially, the BDP-S1 would not play our BD-R and BD-RE disks, but after a firmware update, it did. We also have two Samsung BD players, one of which does not consistently handle these home-burned disks. I realize this is not an issue that affects many consumers, but it would be nice to know; over time, it will become more important. In the manufacturer’s specs for the BDPS300, the BD-R and BD-RE disks are not listed, but that may be an inadvertent error.

  • Garry H

    Hi…I had a question taht I was hoping someone might be able to answer. I just bought a BDP-300S. I also bought the series “Planet Earth” on Blu-ray and I have to say it just blows me away. One problem I have is that when i stop a movie and then turn the machine off and come back later to pick up the show again, the machine doesn’t remember where it left off and starts from the beginning. Memory Stop is a pretty standard feature on every other DVD player I have ever owned (as a matter of fact, I have a Sony DVD player than can even resume play from where you left off even if you remove the disc from teh machine). I’m wondering why this basic feature has not been included in a $500 player. Anyone know???

  • Garry H

    Hi…I had a question taht I was hoping someone might be able to answer. I just bought a BDP-300S. I also bought the series “Planet Earth” on Blu-ray and I have to say it just blows me away. One problem I have is that when i stop a movie and then turn the machine off and come back later to pick up the show again, the machine doesn’t remember where it left off and starts from the beginning. Memory Stop is a pretty standard feature on every other DVD player I have ever owned (as a matter of fact, I have a Sony DVD player than can even resume play from where you left off even if you remove the disc from teh machine). I’m wondering why this basic feature has not been included in a $500 player. Anyone know???

  • B.Greenway

    Mike, thats a tough one, at the moment I’m hard pressed for an answer although the new Samsung would at least on paper appear to be worth a look, hoping to get my hands on one in the near future.

  • B.Greenway

    Mike, thats a tough one, at the moment I’m hard pressed for an answer although the new Samsung would at least on paper appear to be worth a look, hoping to get my hands on one in the near future.

  • Tom

    Hi DKonda. I registered my BDP-S1 online with Sony when I bought it (April) and they have sent me firmware update DVDs automatically. I recently updated to 2.00 and it has dramatically improved load times and navigation on Pirates of the Caribbean (both I and II).

  • Tom

    Hi DKonda. I registered my BDP-S1 online with Sony when I bought it (April) and they have sent me firmware update DVDs automatically. I recently updated to 2.00 and it has dramatically improved load times and navigation on Pirates of the Caribbean (both I and II).

  • mike

    I would like to throw in a peeve unrelated to this machine, which I just purchased (although I swore after buying an SACD, I would not enter into a format war):

    The nice blu boxes that contain the media are typically sealed on three sides. The addhesive used on the bottom and side “security” seals adhere to the box when the seal is removed. The result is a glue that sticks to your hands and when the box is set on anything or next to anything, it sticks to it. What is wrong with these people? I would like the manufacturers of the stickers to provide me with clean boxes. I already regret my purchase–is that what Sony would like to hear?

  • mike

    I would like to throw in a peeve unrelated to this machine, which I just purchased (although I swore after buying an SACD, I would not enter into a format war):

    The nice blu boxes that contain the media are typically sealed on three sides. The addhesive used on the bottom and side “security” seals adhere to the box when the seal is removed. The result is a glue that sticks to your hands and when the box is set on anything or next to anything, it sticks to it. What is wrong with these people? I would like the manufacturers of the stickers to provide me with clean boxes. I already regret my purchase–is that what Sony would like to hear?

  • MikeW

    Enjoyed your June 13 review of the SONY BDP S300. Of all the Blu-Ray players you’ve seen, ethernet connection, or no, which would you purchase. I understand the Samsung BDP 1200 is supposed to be good.. The Pioneer Elite BDP is supposed to be great, as well.. What would you purchase, if you were I?

    Cordially,

    Mike

  • MikeW

    Enjoyed your June 13 review of the SONY BDP S300. Of all the Blu-Ray players you’ve seen, ethernet connection, or no, which would you purchase. I understand the Samsung BDP 1200 is supposed to be good.. The Pioneer Elite BDP is supposed to be great, as well.. What would you purchase, if you were I?

    Cordially,

    Mike

  • mike

    Let me throw in two complaints, having just purchased the new player (after previously sworn an oath that I would sit out this war):

    1. The blu ray cases contain up to three seals on the edges. Attempting to remove these seals to access the disc leaves glue around all edges of the box–forever. I am not happy to have the box stick to anything I sit it on or next to, or on my hands. PLEASE FIX THIS!

    2. Commercials at the beginning of a program I have purchased at a prmium to enjoy. I am not pleased. PLEASE PUT AN END TO THIS.

  • mike

    Let me throw in two complaints, having just purchased the new player (after previously sworn an oath that I would sit out this war):

    1. The blu ray cases contain up to three seals on the edges. Attempting to remove these seals to access the disc leaves glue around all edges of the box–forever. I am not happy to have the box stick to anything I sit it on or next to, or on my hands. PLEASE FIX THIS!

    2. Commercials at the beginning of a program I have purchased at a prmium to enjoy. I am not pleased. PLEASE PUT AN END TO THIS.

  • Carey

    What’s the CD playback like?

  • Carey

    What’s the CD playback like?

  • Rod Lasley

    I have a Sony BDP-S1. How will the the 1.5 firmware enhance the player?

  • Rod Lasley

    I have a Sony BDP-S1. How will the the 1.5 firmware enhance the player?

  • Dkonda

    Is Sony aware of the slow load times and are they doing anything to fix them ASAP? What is the procedure for updating this player via firmware when updates are available? Will Sony send me a ready-to-install disc (somewhat quickly) like Toshiba does with the HD DVD players?

  • Dkonda

    Is Sony aware of the slow load times and are they doing anything to fix them ASAP? What is the procedure for updating this player via firmware when updates are available? Will Sony send me a ready-to-install disc (somewhat quickly) like Toshiba does with the HD DVD players?

  • B.Greenway

    There’s obviously some confusion around my setup and review environment so some clarification is in order. First of all the “Afterwards I took my POTC disc home” comments applied directly to the BD java performance, I wasn’t making any image quality comparisons ‘later that evening’. Again, that particular passage applies only to the BD java performance of both machines.

    My “friends set-up” never entered the equation, he “dropped by” with the player, i.e the player was inserted into my review setup not vice versa. All image quality comparisons were made on the same display even if the original reviews weren’t, i.e. my original PS3 review was made before the DLA-HD1 was available, however since then I have used the PS3 with the DLA-HD1. Hope that helps Aron.

  • B.Greenway

    There’s obviously some confusion around my setup and review environment so some clarification is in order. First of all the “Afterwards I took my POTC disc home” comments applied directly to the BD java performance, I wasn’t making any image quality comparisons ‘later that evening’. Again, that particular passage applies only to the BD java performance of both machines.

    My “friends set-up” never entered the equation, he “dropped by” with the player, i.e the player was inserted into my review setup not vice versa. All image quality comparisons were made on the same display even if the original reviews weren’t, i.e. my original PS3 review was made before the DLA-HD1 was available, however since then I have used the PS3 with the DLA-HD1. Hope that helps Aron.

  • Aron

    I enjoyed your review. But my concern is that your conclusions about the relative PQ of the PS3 and BDP-S300 were based on seeing the former on your home set-up and the latter on your friend’s set-up. [“Afterwards I took my POTC disc home and tried it with my PS3 . . .”] Before saying the latter looked better than the former, shouldn’t you have viewed both of them back-to-back on the same TV?

  • Aron

    I enjoyed your review. But my concern is that your conclusions about the relative PQ of the PS3 and BDP-S300 were based on seeing the former on your home set-up and the latter on your friend’s set-up. [“Afterwards I took my POTC disc home and tried it with my PS3 . . .”] Before saying the latter looked better than the former, shouldn’t you have viewed both of them back-to-back on the same TV?

  • PFC5

    From what I have read, this new 2G Sony BD player does NOT have Dolby trueHD decoding but does have DD+ decoding built into it.

    Since they were able to add DtHD decoding for the 1G player I assume they will be able to add DtHD decoding to this one too. But then again, the 1G player was based on the 1G pioneer BD player sans the networking features.

    It is reported that this 2G BD player by Sony is made by Samsung for them, and currently the Samsung players (both 1G & 2G) do not have HD audio decoding built in so maybe it should not be assumed that DtHD decoding will be added.

  • PFC5

    From what I have read, this new 2G Sony BD player does NOT have Dolby trueHD decoding but does have DD+ decoding built into it.

    Since they were able to add DtHD decoding for the 1G player I assume they will be able to add DtHD decoding to this one too. But then again, the 1G player was based on the 1G pioneer BD player sans the networking features.

    It is reported that this 2G BD player by Sony is made by Samsung for them, and currently the Samsung players (both 1G & 2G) do not have HD audio decoding built in so maybe it should not be assumed that DtHD decoding will be added.

  • Dov

    I don’t know if anyone else reading this has the BDP-S1 and has updated the firmware, but if so, does it bug you that they distribute it as a self-expanding EXE that barely even reduces the file’s size? My home computers are Macs, so I have to download the update at work and then bring it home on a flash drive before I can burn it. The burning doesn’t bother me all that much, but why can’t they allow you to download the ISO disc image without the compression (or at least a normal cross-platform ZIP compression)?

  • Dov

    I don’t know if anyone else reading this has the BDP-S1 and has updated the firmware, but if so, does it bug you that they distribute it as a self-expanding EXE that barely even reduces the file’s size? My home computers are Macs, so I have to download the update at work and then bring it home on a flash drive before I can burn it. The burning doesn’t bother me all that much, but why can’t they allow you to download the ISO disc image without the compression (or at least a normal cross-platform ZIP compression)?

  • B.Greenway

    Sam, different display (the DLA-HD1 wasn’t out then) but still calibrated.

  • B.Greenway

    Sam, different display (the DLA-HD1 wasn’t out then) but still calibrated.

  • SAMe

    Good Review. The only question I have is when you tested the PS3, did you use the same calibrated TV?

  • SAMe

    Good Review. The only question I have is when you tested the PS3, did you use the same calibrated TV?

  • B.Greenway

    Gosha, Crutchfield seems to think it has HDMI 1.3, hard to say for sure until Sony confirms or denies. As far as the lossless codecs, I went out of my way to repeat “commonly used lossless audio formats” DTS-HD MA certainly wouldn’t fall into that category.

  • B.Greenway

    Gosha, Crutchfield seems to think it has HDMI 1.3, hard to say for sure until Sony confirms or denies. As far as the lossless codecs, I went out of my way to repeat “commonly used lossless audio formats” DTS-HD MA certainly wouldn’t fall into that category.

  • Gosha

    I thought it didn’t have HDMI 1.3 and did not support some newer codecs…

  • Gosha

    I thought it didn’t have HDMI 1.3 and did not support some newer codecs…

  • vishwa

    Why did they lose the SACD support (and add CD support?) Dang, this means that we will need to have a seperate player for SACD. I suppose, we will have to wait for a further shakeout of the market before we get mid level BD players also supporting SACD like the PS3

  • vishwa

    Why did they lose the SACD support (and add CD support?) Dang, this means that we will need to have a seperate player for SACD. I suppose, we will have to wait for a further shakeout of the market before we get mid level BD players also supporting SACD like the PS3

  • Mike Z

    As I own a PS3 now, the BIG question on my mind (and I am sure others too), is would this new player be worth dumping the PS3 for it or not? Any games I play are on my PC anyway, so only use the PS3 for the movies.

    I also have the new Onkyo 805 with HDMI 1.3a and does all the new HD audio (though its the players that decode anyway, at least for now?), would this sound better than the PS3 as well?

    Thanks

  • Mike Z

    As I own a PS3 now, the BIG question on my mind (and I am sure others too), is would this new player be worth dumping the PS3 for it or not? Any games I play are on my PC anyway, so only use the PS3 for the movies.

    I also have the new Onkyo 805 with HDMI 1.3a and does all the new HD audio (though its the players that decode anyway, at least for now?), would this sound better than the PS3 as well?

    Thanks

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Will, not sure we’re really in disagreement here. The statement was specifically aimed toward the network capabilities of HD DVD players, of which we seem to be in agreement on. I probably didn’t delineate that enough. Specifically I was referring to the 2.2 firmware update (first generation players) that added support for network delivered content.

    Of course no amount of firmware in the world can add an Ethernet port to the back of a piece of gear, I hope I didn’t come across as suggesting it could. I was quite careful to point out that we won’t really see that type of connectivity from Blu-ray standalone’s until BD-Live capable players are released.

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Will, not sure we’re really in disagreement here. The statement was specifically aimed toward the network capabilities of HD DVD players, of which we seem to be in agreement on. I probably didn’t delineate that enough. Specifically I was referring to the 2.2 firmware update (first generation players) that added support for network delivered content.

    Of course no amount of firmware in the world can add an Ethernet port to the back of a piece of gear, I hope I didn’t come across as suggesting it could. I was quite careful to point out that we won’t really see that type of connectivity from Blu-ray standalone’s until BD-Live capable players are released.

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Tyler, unfortunately no I don’t have a BD with TrueHD on it, but the BDP-S300’s owners manual does mention TrueHD decoding, no real reason to doubt the manual, yet anyway… Also no on the HQV BD, I’d love to have one though, just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Tyler, unfortunately no I don’t have a BD with TrueHD on it, but the BDP-S300’s owners manual does mention TrueHD decoding, no real reason to doubt the manual, yet anyway… Also no on the HQV BD, I’d love to have one though, just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  • Will Merydith

    “Here’s the thing that I’ve come to realize about interactivity and networking features on hi-def disc players, it isn’t about what you can/can’t do with them today, it’s about what you can/can’t do with them tomorrow.”

    I have a “blue laser” DVD authoring business and my experience is counter to that statement. If you’re looking for a networked experience today – go with the latest HD-DVD players. If you can wait for a networked experience at a later date, then re-evaluate and purchase a player for that purpose at that later date.

    Firmware will not save you here. We’re still early in the technology – buy your player for what it can do today.

  • “Here’s the thing that I’ve come to realize about interactivity and networking features on hi-def disc players, it isn’t about what you can/can’t do with them today, it’s about what you can/can’t do with them tomorrow.”

    I have a “blue laser” DVD authoring business and my experience is counter to that statement. If you’re looking for a networked experience today – go with the latest HD-DVD players. If you can wait for a networked experience at a later date, then re-evaluate and purchase a player for that purpose at that later date.

    Firmware will not save you here. We’re still early in the technology – buy your player for what it can do today.

  • Tyler

    Good review, did you test Dolby TrueHD decoding? Do you have a copy of the new BD HQV test disc?

  • Tyler

    Good review, did you test Dolby TrueHD decoding? Do you have a copy of the new BD HQV test disc?

  • B.Greenway

    Adam, the Samsung is still on the way as far as I know, just don’t have any firm dates.

  • B.Greenway

    Adam, the Samsung is still on the way as far as I know, just don’t have any firm dates.

  • Adam Griffith

    Definitely looking forward to your final analysis. With its brand and lower price, this may be the first BD stand-alone that many of the still fence-sitting non-gamers are interested in. It’s probably the only BD-related stand-alone that I will consider til I hear what the story is with the Samsung dual-format player (BTW, is that still on track, coming out in July, or what?!)…

  • Adam Griffith

    Definitely looking forward to your final analysis. With its brand and lower price, this may be the first BD stand-alone that many of the still fence-sitting non-gamers are interested in. It’s probably the only BD-related stand-alone that I will consider til I hear what the story is with the Samsung dual-format player (BTW, is that still on track, coming out in July, or what?!)…