While it’s certainly not the fastest disc loader we’ve encountered, it’s still impressive. Terminator Salvation started playing 47 seconds after closing the disc tray, which is an acceptable wait in anyone’s book.
The BD570 is an assured picture performer too. The Silicon Optix HQV test patterns are a cakewalk for this deck – the edges of the rotating bars in the jaggies test are as smooth and stable as we’ve seen, while the Film and Video Resolution patterns are poised and free from strobing. The only minor foible we spotted is some gentle juddering as the camera pans across Raymond James stadium, but otherwise it passes every test without a hitch.
It’s equally impressive with movie material. Given Avatar to play with, the BD570 reproduces the movie’s kaleidoscope of colours with all the vibrancy and potency you’d expect, plus the razor-sharp detail reproduction will make your jaw drop. Everything from Pandora’s incredible CG landscapes to close-ups of Colonel Quaritch’s battle-scarred body looks mesmerising, and when combined with the punchy blacks and the lack of picture noise, it adds up to a superb picture performance.
It’s not quite so assured with SD material, as the DVD version of Avatar looks a little gauzy and suffers from mosquito noise. It’s watchable but we’ve seen better DVD upscalers than this.
On the audio side, the BD570 handles HD audio soundtracks without fault and has a good crack at music on CD. There’s a pleasing balance – not too thin or hard in the high-frequencies – which also works well when playing MP3 or WMA files through your sound system.
The BD570 is a brilliant Blu-ray player, boasting fashionable looks, a lengthy feature list, extensive format support and razor-sharp picture quality. It’s just a shame that the amazing-looking menu system is slow to react and that NetCast’s online content pales in comparison to that of the Sony BDP-S570, its closest rival. As a result, Sony’s similarly-priced deck is a better buy, not only for its superior BRAVIA Internet Video service but also for its 3D compatibility out-of-the-box and built-in BD Live memory.