The BD-S667 is the latest addition to Yamaha’s Blu-ray player family, adding several features not found on the disappointing BD-S1900 and the performance-focused BD-S1065. Good job too, because with a price tag nudging £300, it’s up against some stiff competition, not only from similarly-priced players but some cheaper ones too. Let’s see how it fares.
From an aesthetic perspective, the BD-S667 plays it safe – it’s a moody, minimal black box without any curves or snazzy embellishments to speak of. But if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and fans of the company’s distinctive design certainly won’t be disappointed, particularly if you’re pairing it with one of Yamaha’s matching AV receivers.
There is one slight change though – for some reason Yamaha has swapped round the positions of the LED display and disc tray (the BD-S1900’s tray was above the display), a decision sure to send shockwaves through the AV community. Six playback buttons are provided on the front panel but the rest are wisely reserved for the remote control. The left-hand side of the fascia houses a USB port for digital media playback.
The rear panel offers a standard selection of sockets – the only significant omission is a set of multichannel analogue audio outputs, but with HDMI inputs being a common feature on most new AV receivers their absence isn’t a big deal. However, you do get analogue stereo, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, while on the video side you get component, composite and HDMI outputs.
Next to these is an Ethernet connection, which is your only way of accessing BD Live/network content as there’s no Wi-Fi support. Below the LAN socket is a second USB port, primarily provided for BD Live storage but can also be used to load software updates or play digital media.
On that subject, the BD-S667 supports a much wider range of formats than the BD-S1900 (in fact, the S1900 doesn’t support media playback via USB at all). The S667 plays DivX HD, WMV HD, MP3, WMA and JPEG, plus AVCHD from DVDs, which is a healthy selection.
One of the big upgrades from the BD-S1900 is the addition of DLNA media streaming. This allows the BD-S667 to access music, video and photos (MP3, WMA, JPEG, WMV) stored on other networked devices like laptops and NAS drives. Until now, features like this were reserved for big brands like LG, Panasonic and Samsung which have the resources to develop such features, but it’s great to see the rest of the market catching up.
Inside are decoders for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, enabling you to feed these formats to your receiver in PCM if it lacks the relevant decoding, but they can also be transferred in bitstream form. You can also output video in 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p or 1080/24p, but the Auto mode will choose the appropriate resolution for your TV.