In fact the player’s digital media support is pretty measly full stop. The only file types it’ll play are JPEG and AVCHD, but not MP3, WMA, DivX, DivX HD or MKV. To rub salt in the wound these have to be played from disc as the USB port on the rear can only be used to save BD Live downloads onto a flash drive, or to upload software updates.
Thankfully the Yamaha BD-S1900 is easy to use. The main menu uses four large boxes with huge eye-catching logos, which is a tad clunky but makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. It’s the same menu seen on Sharp’s Blu-ray players, but we won’t hold that against it.
The Settings section explains all its options in full sentences, which will help the uninitiated understand the implications of a particular choice. The cursor behaves itself too, moving around without the sluggishness that can really frustrate when you’ve got lots of tweaking to do.
We’re also pleased with the remote. The layout is spot-on, there’s been some attempt to colour-code the different types of buttons and clear labelling takes guesswork out of the equation.
But like many Blu-ray players in this price bracket, the Yamaha is painfully slow to load discs, the only aspect of Blu-ray technology that continues to infuriate. The packed Terminator Salvation disc took close to two minutes to start playing.
Keeping with the robot theme we switched to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on Blu-ray and the Yamaha delivers an impressive subjective performance. A good Blu-ray player should deliver pictures that smack you round the chops with intensely sharp detail from the very first frame, and the BD-S1900 does just that – fine textures, such as the ripples of sand in the Egyptian desert or the ornate buildings of Sam’s college, are delivered with immaculate clarity. It gives images that punchy, three-dimensional look that draws you right into the action.
Contrast is excellent, shadow detail during dark scenes is clear and we couldn’t detect any edge stepping or digital artefacts – the deck delivers the cleanest possible digital signal to your display, and you can’t ask for more than that. It’s also worth using it with a 24fps-capable TV, as the lack of judder helps you keep track of the robots’ frantic movement and Bay’s hyper-kinetic camera work.