This wide range of services should offer something for everyone, but if not then you can stream your own content from connected PCs. The DLNA-certified player will stream music (MP3, WMA, AAC), video (DivX HD, MPEG-1/-2, MKV, AVI) and photos (JPEG) and the same file types are also supported from USB storage devices. It also plays WMV and AVCHD from discs and USB only.
There are plenty of other features besides. The BDP-S570 will spin Super Audio CDs, transferring the hi-res DSD stream over HDMI, and when you load a Blu-ray, DVD or CD it downloads the details and cover art from Gracenote’s online database. HD audio formats are output as bitstreams or multichannel linear PCM. Chuck in Deep Colour and x.v.Colour support, 1080/24p output, 1080p DVD upscaling and Precision Drive HD, which helps the deck to play scuffed discs, and you’ve pretty much got all bases covered.
Next we come to the operating system, which again uses Sony’s Xross Media Bar as its backbone. We’ve sang the praises of this dual-axis design enough times so we’ll spare you the description, but it’s worth reiterating that it’s one of the most distinctive and intuitive GUIs we’ve encountered. With so many features on board there’s a danger it could get over-cluttered and confusing, but thankfully the clean, logical layout allays that particular concern.
Surfing around these menus with the ergonomic remote is a pleasant experience. It’s not bogged down by a bevy of seldom-used buttons or baffling logos – the frequently-used controls are placed exactly where you’d want them and the other keys are clearly labelled. If you’ve got a Sony TV it can also be controlled using this handset.
Most of the adjustments are made in the Setup menu (including the 3D and network settings) but further tweaks are tucked away in the Options menu, which can only be accessed during playback. Here, you’ll find some picture adjustments, including presets for different lighting conditions, random, block and mosquito noise reduction and a mode that improves the look of Internet video.
We’re hugely impressed by the deck’s overall operating speed. Boot-up time from standby is just three seconds, although that’s with the Quick Start mode activated, which uses more power in standby. Disc loading is fast too – it fired up Terminator Salvation in an impressive 37 seconds.