I bought the BDP-S5500 yesterday but it is probably going back tomorrow.
Some of the negatives:
- No apps out of the box. A 20MB download (followed by a 100MB one?) fixed this problem. Note that a factory reset (All Settings) does not make those apps go away again so you cannot actually bring the unit back to the way you got it. Well, maybe you can, but I did not investigate any further.
- Navigation within apps is really slow. Same as my Sony TV. Possibly even slower. This is on a wired internet connection with plenty of bandwidth.
- First deal breaker: Build quality is really poor. The drive assembly itself appears to be a few pieces of plastic snapped together. Most of the chassis is thin metal and the front piece is plastic. Remove two screws at the back to slide off the top cover. Four taps keep the front piece in place. No hidden screws. The construction would not really be a problem if it was not for the cheap drive assembly itself, which is far noisier than that of my older DVD and BD players. This noise is then passed on to the flimsy chassis which only serves to enhance it. Using a single finger to gently push on the top of the chassis in various places would basically cut the noise in half. I tightened whatever screws I found inside but there weren't really any problems there. I dared not take the drive assembly apart so I just inserted a felt pad between the top of the drive and the chassis (as opposed to placing a heavy object on top of the chassis itself). This helped a bit, but still no competition for my older (also cheap) players in the noise department.
- Second deal breaker: I've got a large collection videos downloaded from YouTube. Many of these are in VP8 format or (older ones) use the Ogg Vorbis audio format. My old NeoTV 550 media player (Sigma 8642) cannot handle these files but my Sony W905 TV (2013) can so I had hoped the media player in BDP-S5500 would be able to handle those as well. This was not the case, even after the update. One of the reasons for buying the BDP-S5500 was to have an external media player so I would not have to use the one in my TV which frequently would be interrupted by scheduled recordings - or where I would have to stop the media player app in order to watch a few minutes of flow TV. Also related to the media player, it does not play back DVD ISO rips. I did not really expect it to given that my Sony W905A does not do so either but I thought I would mention it. My NeoTV 550 plays back DVD ISO rips with menus and everything but the Sony media players won't even list the ISO files.
- Third deal breaker (well, almost): DVD upscaling is so-so. Perhaps a bit better than my old, upscaling Philips DVD player, but if so, not by much. Certainly not as good as the upscaling performed by my old NeoTV 550. I've got a large collection of DVDs I will be going through over the next few years and I had hoped to use a single player for DVDs and BDs alike but if I have to suffer more drive noise, the image quality had better be worth it, but as far as I can tell, this is not the case. I might just end up ripping my DVDs and use the NeoTV but I had hoped to reduce the number of boxes under my TV.
- No LED display. I knew that already and I can live with using the Display button on the remote to check where I am in a movie, but still... It is a bit amazing that a few years ago you could buy a 43 cm DVD player with better build quality, a better remote, a display, etc. Nowadays such a design is reserved for the very highest end players.
- No USB port(s) on the back. Again, something I already knew, but still something I think should be addressed on the lower-end players. If you want to use the unit as a media player with local media, i.e. a pen drive or external HD as opposed to pulling media from the network, it would be better to have the port on the back - or at least a back port in addition to the front port.
- The remote is almost too tiny. Compared to the one for BDP-S360 they removed the numeric buttons, the Time and Angle buttons, squeezed the rest of the buttons together, made them flatter, replaced AA batteries with AAA, and removed much of the non-button portion of the remote. I suppose this is a remote for the Smart Phone generation, i.e. making it easier to reach all of buttons just by moving your thumb. I can see the value in that, but I still think the remote is too small and the buttons too cramped together.
- Nit picking: Netflix button uses red text on a white background. Why would they reverse the colors?
On the positive side, disc loading is very fast compared to older players, though I found that much of this improvement was negated by the non-skippable elements one has to go through - esp. on older titles.
Despite the lackluster DVD upscaling and the fact that it does not look as if this would be my go-to media player, I would probably have kept it and used it as my DVD/BD player because of its speed and its 3D BD support but I just cannot accept the noise and I am not going to go through several more units, hoping to find one that might be slightly better in that area.
I might just end up looking somewhere else. I mainly went for Sony because I felt it would integrate better with my Sony TV.