Viewing Review: Solid no-frills Blu Ray player with a few quirks - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Solid no-frills Blu Ray player with a few quirks Edit
by Thunder240 Combined Rating: 4.0
The BDP-S580 is a budget Blu-Ray player, and as such, it does what it's supposed to do very well, and is equipped with the several important features. First and most importantly, it plays Blu-Rays...
Pros Cons
  • Excellent picture and sound quality, networkable, streams from key services
  • Limited control of audio output, does not play AAC codec
The BDP-S580 is a budget Blu-Ray player, and as such, it does what it's supposed to do very well, and is equipped with the several important features. First and most importantly, it plays Blu-Rays with picture and audio quality comparable to a Sony PS3 (my personal reference point). (Please note that I have never watched DVDs on the S580 and therefore cannot judge its upscaling quality.) The player also offers video streaming from the 4 major services, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, and Amazon, and music streaming from 2 major services (Pandora and Slacker). It is networkable via wifi or Ethernet. It supports HDMI and analog component video interfaces, and offers digital coax audio output in addition to audio over HDMI (optical TOSLINK is missing). Its interface is based on the PS3 interface, so anyone who has had a PS3 or a BRAVIA TV will be right at home. Menus are logical and easy to navigate, although it seems like lots of clicks are required to do anything. Also, rearranging the order of menu items is impossible, so unfortunately you cannot move the streaming services you use most to the top of their respective menus. The interface is not quite as snappy as the PS3, probably because its not a computer masquerading as a BDP. Setup was straightforward. The only part not altogether easy was adding a wifi network, but this was straightforward still.

As a low priced, no frills bdp, the S580 also offers a few features that are usually found only in mid-tier and top-tier players. For example, it can play MP3 encoded and uncompressed (WAV) music, as well as movies of various formats, from any DNLA or uPnP media server over your home wifi network. It can also play hi res uncompressed (WAV) music -- up to 192 kHz/24 bit -- from a USB flash drive. (If you try to stream hi-res music, you will be rewarded with an awful pulsating sound). When playing music or streaming video or music, the current bitrate can be displayed, from which you can extrapolate your sample rate and bit depth.

However, there are some features missing that will remind you that this is still a budget player. When watching Blu-Rays, it won't tell you what audio codec it being used, so there is no way to verify whether you are really playing those awesome Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MasterHD tracks. The music player does not recognize several important formats, including FLAC, AAC/ALAC, WMA, or really anything except for WAV and MP3. The BDP also lacks the extensive control over audio output for which the Sony PS3 is famous. Your choices are 2 channel or 5.1 (no options to control passing various bitstreams or PCM, or to select sample rates). Construction seems rather flimsy despite light aluminum case. I'm not sure if it is actually flimsy -- it just feels that way. (It differently won't pass a knuckle test.) Though it has 2 USB ports, devices for some reason are not hot-swappable. Finally, unlike the PS3 it almost never receives a firmware update, suggesting that Sony is not very motivated to support the player. This is especially frustrating because several of the issues mentioned could probably be fixed with a firmware update.

As a parting thought, in the 2+ years that I have owned this BDP, I haven't had any quality control issues. That counts for something.

Overall, the S580 is a decent budget blue-ray player, but it doesn't compete with players above its price point.
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