So after owning the Denon 3800, Pioneer 51/05, Panny BD35, Sony s350, PS3 and sammy 1500 (plus many more in the past) what the heck am I doing testing the new Sony BDP-S5000ES? It's simple. I want a stand alone player with the reliability factor and great load times. Not to mention top notch pic Q. With its high MSRP of $1999 I was very hopeful...
I will say it is very heavy in the box. They packed it well. And the remote (I know like the 550 model) is nice. I like the fact that it lights up blue... I will also state that it is hands down the best looking Blu-ray player Sony has made to date. Very solid and impressive looking.
So after spending the first hour loading as many of my Blu-ray titles as I could I can say not one refused to load! I will update this post if one does fail to load but my goal is to attempt every title I own by the end of the day on Sunday. I did turn on the quick start mode and I am impressed. I did not pull out a stop watch but I can say when I powered it on it was the fasted player to start up. And yes the PS3 is still faster but not by to much. I also like the crossbar GUI I have gotten used to. It makes navigating a breeze.
So how did it do pic Q wise? I will say it is on par with my Denon 3800. I was impressed with all the extra picture adjustments you can do. I am also impressed with a few of the special features it does to. Like SBM (super bit mapping) which actually does smooth reproduction of the video signal. The HD Reality Enhancer also makes the picture somewhat sharper without adding ringing or halos. Keep it up only on 1 or 2 though. When you go 3 it is pushing it. You also have your selections for Deep Color. I also really like having the ability to select 12 bit or 10 bit video. And of course you have the higher end options of picking YCbCr 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 and RGB 16-235 or 0-255. And there is even a x.v. Color output selection to. Of course you also have all the usual picture adjustments (contrast,brightness,gamma, etc...). After spending about 20 minutes tweaking I was able to obtain the pinnacle of 1080p/23.98 excellence that I come to expect from the highest end players. I was not disappointed. I was able to see exceptional detail with a great balance in sharpness and color.
Other cool things... Sony included an EXT memory (usmigh) which is inserted into the EXT slot on the back. This is for Bonus View/BD Live. More on that later. Also, when you hit the OPTIONS button on the remote it instantly shows you basic options on the screen. Like Play from the beginning, Top Menu, Pop Up Menu, ETC... and then above there are the AV settings which lead to a plethora of tweaks...
So how does it compare to the others? I will say I just put in the latest 1.12 firmware for the Pioneer 51FD which does make it a completely different player. I also just did the 1.111 on the 3800. Just did the Panny BD35 with its latest that just came out to. The PS3 is of course always updating itself which is what I hope the S5000ES will do to. Load times are starting to decline on all models. It's about time.
I will say the S5000ES does seem to be the closest to the PS3. The 51FD is catching up though with its latest firmware (unless they are on a newer one by now) and not far behind. As for pic Q at 1080p/24 they are all nearly identical (I know, I sound like a broken record
). Tweaking is the difference maker and the 3800, 51FD and S5000ES are at the top. Don't ask me to pick a top player because it is getting harder to do. Anyone would be more than happy with them. The next factor in deciding would be the reliability factor and before this latest firmware for the Pioneer I would not have even brought it up in this review. The 3800 has been solid and of course my fail safe will always be the PS3. If the S5000ES can get the job done (I will know more by Sunday) then it will be right there with the 3800 in terms of being the all around player. Audio wise and pic Q wise. And then the S5000ES will have the edge in load times.
So to finally conclude the S5000ES opening review... Is it worth it? That depends on how important load times, reliability, pic Q, Audio needs and BD Live are to you. If (and that's a big IF) 3 or 4 out of 5 of those are then I say go for it. This is an excellent player that deserves to bare Sony's ES symbol.
I would like to thank Bob and the guys over at Sounds Deluxe in Naperville, IL for assisting me in getting the S5000ES so quick. They have a very nice set up there which includes my PJ the Sony VW200. It's good to see some custom install companies that have their act together and they definitely qualify.
Pics... My rack as of today with the S5000ES and I thought I would do a couple of Christmas pics since some light snow fell on my way back from my road trip picking up the player. Elf and Polar Express. Enjoy!