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Sony BDP-S760 Blu-ray Player review

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Sony BDP-S760 Blu-ray Player
  • Sony BDP-S760 Blu-ray Player
  • Sony BDP-S760 Blu-ray Player
  • Sony BDP-S760 Blu-ray Player
  • Sony BDP-S760 Blu-ray Player
  • Sony BDP-S760 Blu-ray Player
  • BDP-S760 BD Player (BD-RE, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, CD-RW - BD Video, DVD Video, AVCHD, Audio CD, JPEG, PCM Playback - Progressive Scan - Black)

Summary

Our Score:

8

Sony’s standalone Blu-ray players have long been seen as a poor relation of the PS3, but the BDP-S760 could be the deck to change that perception. OK so you can’t play games on it, but it’s the most feature-packed Sony deck to date and most significantly the first from the company to boast built-in Wi-Fi. That makes it a direct rival to the tremendous LG BD390, which is still our Blu-ray benchmark, but at around £50 dearer Sony’s challenger has its work cut out knocking the Korean king off its throne. Let’s see how it fares.

First, let’s discuss design. The BDP-S760 is a much chunkier player than the BDP-S360, presumably to accommodate the extra electronics for all those flash new features. But despite its extra girth it’s a beautifully styled player, jazzed up by a slim blue light on the front and an alluring silver top cover. The front display panel is a little too small to read comfortably from a typical viewing distance, but it does contain a helpful selection of info – including a little ‘WLAN’ light that confirms Wi-Fi is enabled. Naturally our eye is also drawn to the USB port on the right hand side, which allows you to view JPEG photos on your TV, but weirdly not MP3 or DivX. All in all this is an attractive and beautifully constructed machine.

Spin it 180 degrees and you’re faced with a thorough line-up of sockets. Of course the HDMI output takes pride of place, leaving component, S-video and composite to provide able analogue back up. On the audio side you get 7.1-channel analogue outputs and a choice of optical and digital audio outputs, any of which can be used if your AV receiver hasn’t quite caught up with the whole HDMI revolution.

Joining these is an Ethernet port that brings BD Live to life in households without wireless routers, plus a second USB port designed to house the 1GB of memory for storing web downloads. Unlike the BD390, this memory isn’t built in, so forking out for a USB memory stick is a necessary evil. Completing the line-up is analogue stereo output.

With its Wi-Fi support, the DLNA-certified BDP-S760 offers network functionality, including the ability to grab content from connected PCs. The deck supports the latest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11n, as well as a/b/g, which should ensure a fast reliable connection with compatible routers, but here’s where LG scores its first victory – the Sony only allows you to view photos and not video or audio, which is a completely wasted opportunity.

Oddly, the deck can find and display your music and video folders but won’t recognise the files within them. Compare this with the BD390’s wealth of supported formats and Sony is left with egg on its face. It’s also worth mentioning that the BD390 also throws YouTube access into the mix, which is also absent here. The only positive we can take is that Sony’s PhotoTV HD feature at least lets you view JPEGs in hi-def.

Orinj

January 22, 2010, 8:37 pm

I am yet to be convinced of the benefit to having any stand alone Blu-Ray player when the PlayStation 3 does such a good job already.





Audio and Video decoding is all done in the digital domain that gets passed out the HDMI pretty much bit for bit so unless there is some extra (unnecessary) processing going on, there shouldn't be any A/V improvements. The rest of the features such as BD Live and other file playback are all handled by the PS3, not to mention it still has the quickest disc loading times.

Thomas C

January 22, 2010, 10:45 pm

How does the picture quality on this deck compaire to that of the PS3?

ffrankmccaffery

January 23, 2010, 12:29 am

@Orinj: seeing as these standalone decks are continuing to sell regardless of the supposed benefits of the PS3 that you gamers tire us with every time theres one reviewed here says something.

Mark Hewitt

January 23, 2010, 1:45 am

I have both a PS3 and a DBP-S760 (Yes I know - I'm a Sony fanboy) and the BDP-S760 is a much better blu-ray player, mainly because it is very quiet. My PS3 makes too much noise - ok when playing a game but not so good when watching a film.

damo

January 23, 2010, 5:43 am

'around £50 more expensive' than the LG?.... it's £106 more - the clue is in the cost at time of reviews!





also like the quote 'BDP-S760 is a much better(than the ps3) blu-ray player, mainly because it is very quiet' ...because that's the epitomy of a great blue ray player, isnt it, whether louder or not than a gaming console.

simonm

January 24, 2010, 1:12 am

@ffrankmccaffery: Sure they continue to sell... and Boots shifts homeopathic remedies by the truckload. Which in itself tells us more about consumers than about the product.





Orinj's basic point is correct. All standards-compliant players should produce bit-for-bit the same output from a 1080p stream, which is that of the software reference decoder that forms part of the standard. If there really are picture quality differences then these are down to post-processing, the benefits of which are subjective.





Not to say that all players are the same - they can be differentiated on quality of deinterlacing and upscaling, connectivity, features, disk-loading speed, user interface, aesthetics, and a number of other parameters (like operating noise, as someone mentions above).





But if player X appears sharper or to have better blacks than player Y then that is because it has post-processed the picture away from the true reference output - which is easily enough done and is in the same vein as switching on Dynamic Bass on a cheap hi-fi - but it can't be objectively characterized as an improvement.

ffrankmccaffery

January 25, 2010, 1:26 am

@simonm: my arent you a clever boy except not exactly a great dinner party guest. Orinj's basic point is that a standalone Blueray player is unnecessary since a Playstation 3 already provides that function. Now you yourself argue that operating noise is a downside when judging the merits of a disc spinner. And since the PS3 makes a distractingly large amount of noise than clearly it isnt suitable.

Orinj

January 25, 2010, 3:04 pm

I hope I haven't started a war against stand alone decks... sorry.





My original PS3's fan can get a bit noisy if it's too hot but despite this has always seemed to trump standalone players for speed and flexibility. The new slim model is apparently much quieter.





I do understand the benefits of stand alone decks but when it comes to Blu Ray playback I cannot justify an upgrade for someone who has a PS3. For a someone new to Blu Ray these may be an option but the cost differential is still minimal.





When they start making them as quick to load and play discs, include a HDD (like the Panasonic recorder) and HD Freeview Recording capabilities and with all the BD-Live 2.0 features that nobody wants anyway I will reconsider.

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