Sony BDP-S300 Blu-ray Player - Sony BDP-S300

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Colour reproduction is also on the money, not only making John McClane's blood-flecked skin tones look well-balanced and believable, but also doing a grand job with richly saturated hues. It's helped along by strong black levels and a complete lack of noise and artefacts.

This strong picture performance continues when you stick a DVD in the tray. When upscaled to 1080p, our copy of The Departed stands up well to close scrutiny, with crisp detail reproduction, vibrant colours and no jaggies or motion judder to speak of.

The BDP-S300's inability to decode DTS HD Master Audio means we weren't able to enjoy the Die Hard 4.0 soundtrack in all its glory, but its regular DTS track sounds phenomenal via the digital audio output or the 5.1 analogue outputs. The movie's audacious climax might look overblown but the Sony makes it sound absolutely scintillating, with every bang, crash and wallop reproduced with window-shattering clarity.

The deck also proves to be a dab hand with stereo material, offering punchy CD and MP3 playback - though we think Sony missed a trick by not including SACD support.

Verdict

The BDP-S300 might be one of the cheapest Blu-ray players on the market but be prepared to make sacrifices if you buy one - it only supports one of the four HD audio formats and its Profile 1.0 spec means you won't be able to access Bonus View features.

And despite the format's recent setbacks, it's also worth remembering that HD DVD players like the HD-EP30 can be found for under £200, and come equipped with all the features missing from the BDP-S300. The other thing to consider is that you can buy a PS3 for around the same price online, which also plays Blu-ray and gets you hi-def gaming into the bargain.

But if you're convinced a dedicated Blu-ray player is the way to go, then the S300's immaculate picture quality and slick operating system makes it a decent choice, if not the last word in Blu-ray technology.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Performance 9
  • Value 8
  • Features 6

Lambechop

October 20, 2008, 2:05 pm

I have had this Blu-ray player for nearly twelve months, the picture quality is great. The firmware updates have been a pain, if you own an Apple computer you'll need someone to download them off a PC, it just doesn't happen with an Apple.





The start up time is really bad, it is one of the worst players for getting going, put the kettle on or open a couple of tins...do something!





One of the issues I have had with this player is the firmware updates, even though I've registered the product with Sony, I've received no emails to tell me that an update is available, this is pretty poor and needs to be addressed by Sony.





I have also a problem with playing standard DVDs, from time to time the player will just freeze, the picture will pause and no matter what you do, you won't budge the thing, and I mean that you won't be able to turn it off on the front, I have to pull the power cord out of the back. This is a big problem, it has happened to me while watching Blu-ray discs which I have paused while cracking open more refreshment from the fridge, they just wouldn't move. I have contacted Sony but they refused to accept this as a problem or replace the deck.





Apart from the picture quality, I just wouldn't bother with this player, buy something like a Panasonic.

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