Sony BDP-S760 Blu-ray Player - Sony BDP-S760

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

However, the web connection does provide full access to BD Live. We gave it the once over (using our 802.11g wireless router) and although everything worked fine, we weren’t bowled over by the experience. With Terminator Salvation in the tray, we selected the BD Live icon in the main menu and had to wait for about four minutes for the Sony Pictures BD Live screen to appear. Once there, we downloaded an HD trailer for Michael Jackson: This Is It and streamed a few SD clips, none of which took a particularly long time to load but the content could hardly be described as compelling. Much better is Movie IQ, a slick widget that provides trivia about the movie as it plays.

We’re also impressed by how easy it is to set the player up on a network. Dip into the Network Settings menu and the deck runs through a step-by-step wizard that describes each stage of the process in clear, understandable English – about a million times more user-friendly than any of Samsung’s Wi-Fi-enabled decks. One of the setup screens involves entering your encryption key using the remote and an unusual virtual keyboard, or you can press the WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button on your router, if it has one.

As for other features, the player is equipped with proprietary picture technologies found on the company’s BDP-S5000ES player, such as HD Reality Enhancer, which lets you boost detail, smooth out colour gradations and reduce grain, and Advanced Super Bit Mapping, which selects the appropriate colour bit depth.

Audio features include internal decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, available as PCM from the HDMI output or through the 7.1-channel analogue outputs. The deck can also pipe raw HD audio bitstreams to a compatible AV receiver, while Headphone Surround offers 7.1-channel sound through headphones, explaining the unusual sight of a headphone jack on the front panel.

Another feature worth mentioning is the Precision Drive HD, which not only spins Blu-ray, DVDs and CDs without fuss, but will also tackle your bent and scratched platters. The Quick Start mode kick starts the player into life from standby in just six seconds, which should satisfy more impatient movie viewers. It’s just a shame that Sony couldn’t speed up disc loading times too – it took a staggering 73 seconds to start playing Terminator Salvation, which is a poor show from the company that invented the format, particularly with one of its own discs!

But that’s the only aspect of the deck’s operation that gives us cause for complaint – in every other way it’s an absolute star. Once again much praise must go to the Xross Media Bar, which is still the slickest and most intelligent Blu-ray menu system there is – just ask any PS3 owner. The intersecting axes, snazzy icons, smooth animation and clear text make configuration a doddle and the Setup section leaves no stone unturned.

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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