In recent years Sony’s Blu-ray players have consistently been among best on the market thanks to their excellent online content, generous features and solid AV performance. Sony is looking to continue its fine hi-def heritage with the BDP-S490, the midrange model in its 2012 line-up. It’s aimed at those looking for a something more sophisticated than the entry-level BDP-S185 and step-up BDP-S390 (neither of which are 3D-ready), but not quite as flash as the range-topping BDP-S790 and BDP-S590.
As the cheapest model in the range to feature 3D, it’ll attract attention from those who want an affordable movie source for their 3D TV – in fact you can buy it in a bundle with Sony’s KDL-40HX853 TV for £1,199 on the company’s website.
The BDP-S490 is a remarkably good looking player, a refreshing break from the Blu-ray norm. The sides curve underneath the flat top panel, making it wider on top than it is on the bottom. There’s a fetching brushed finish on top, with gloss black plastic around the sides. Build quality isn’t exactly heavyweight but rigid enough to ward off any performance concerns.
The sleek front panel features an LED display panel that’s just about large enough to read from the sofa, a disc tray and a USB port hidden behind a flap. The buttons are concealed in a slim silver strip running along the top.
On the back is an unusually generous line-up of sockets. They include an HDMI v1.4 output, composite video and analogue stereo outputs, alongside both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs – you normally get one or the other at this price. There’s also an Ethernet port that allows you to connect the deck to your home network, and another USB port to connect the optional USB Wi-Fi adapter.