The onscreen display is also very useful, showing you the video format, frame rate, audio soundtrack and running time info. Sadly, hitting the main menu button stops playback and makes you lose your place in the film if there’s no resume mode.
The remote is impressive. The pivotal menu direction controls are placed exactly where your thumb assumes they’ll be, and the important buttons (Home, Pop-Up Menu, Top Menu, Return) are helpfully circled round them. Elsewhere, everything is clearly labelled and uncluttered but the icing on the cake is the backlight, which illuminates the playback and menu controls for easy navigation in the dark.
A run-through of Inglourious Basterds on Blu-ray reveals the Sony to be a fantastic picture performer. Detail retrieval is as good as we’ve seen from any Blu-ray player, making the sets, costumes and facial close-ups look devilishly real and three-dimensional. There’s an unmistakable depth and solidity to the picture that cinephiles will relish, while the colour palette is faithful and nuanced.
With 1080/24p output engaged we could discern no judder problems with sudden fast movements and camera pans, and the Sony also gets a clean bill of health with DVDs and all of the tests on the Silicon Optix HQV disc. All in all the Sony’s picture performance is every bit as impressive as the LG BD390 and other top-class players from the likes of Pioneer, Panasonic and Denon.
And on the audio side, the BDP-S760 is equally competent, delivering HD audio soundtracks through its multichannel analogue outputs with sparkling detail and breathtaking dynamism. It orchestrates the chaos of Inglourious Basterds' cinema fire climax with effortless control, injecting the soundstage with loads of tight bass and crisp surround effects. Switch over to the analogue stereo outs and CDs sound punchy and absorbing, making this a viable replacement for that ageing CD deck hogging space in your system.
The BDP-S760 is by far the most impressive Sony Blu-ray player we’ve encountered. Its picture and sound performance is up there with the best of them, the operating system is a dream to use and the feature list is a vast improvement on previous Sony players, with built-in Wi-Fi being the obvious highlight.
But is it good enough to topple the LG B390? Not quite. The LG’s feature list is vastly superior, allowing you to stream a wider array of movie and music formats over your network and not just JPEGs, plus it throws in YouTube access for good measure. What’s more the Sony is slower to load discs, lacks built in BD Live memory, only plays JPEG from USB sticks and to top it all off it’s more expensive. Looks like Sony will have to settle for second best…