Monday, 08 June 2015 22:41

TEST: Sony BDP-S1500 - the Blu-ray player that is hooked on Netflix

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Not surprisingly, Sony introduced a new range of Blu-ray player also this year. I have tested the most affordable model, and it is not to e denied that it has its tags.



Blu-ray players in the same way as DVD players before them is becoming something you may almost buy at the store around the corner. This in heavy contrast to those early generations, where the bplayes hung high. And were sour...

Sony is one of the producers who are heavily involved in this market, but perhaps not necessarily in the heavy end of the market. In last year's collection of Blu-ray players, all count in below a kilogram, and the review sample being the smallest in the collection weighs 0.8 kg. We are, in other words in the light end. But is it any good?




The new series is obviously different from previous generations by having a much cleaner design. Outgoing models have received some pepper because of some of its slightly quirky design, with a little gratuitous almost flat pyramidal top. Maybe okay, but not very pleasing in my eyes. The new series is far more pure in design - not something that stands out, but it's really a brilliant design concept. In all its ease and simplicity there is something a bit chic with the Cubist and clean design.

And while we're at with weight - fair enough that 0.8 kg is not a lot of steel. But when it is combined with a compact design that these new players hold, it is not really saying wrong anyway. For a body that is half the width of a regular full-size HiFi component, it becomes a sensible relationship between size and weight. It has a pretty decent bulk density, and therefore feels straightforward to touch.




Physical noise from the drive is a very relevant parameter for both Blu-ray and DVD players. And BDP-S1500 is not complete silent during the entire process. But the good news is that the noise is very limited, and also has a pleasant character. It is also largely limited to startup and manouvering of Blu-ray playback. I am in possession of a Blu-ray player from Denon at 10 times the price of the BDP-S1500, which has much larger powerful noise problems. From Sony BDP-S1500 noise never is apearant others thatn when the sound is muted, and even then it is only faintly audible at a distance of two meters. Not flawless in other words, but very good for the price. Only wormwood is that it is a tad weaker in this exercise than an even more affordable player from Samsung, which I also have in my collection.




Speed ​​is an important parameter on Blu-ray players. It might seem a bit flippant, but for us who have grown up with players from Blu-Ray`s childhood this is deadly serious. I have a Pioneer BDP LX-70a in the stables that are never offered up to dance, solely because it is so unbearably slow. Insanely good to play CDs, but it does not help when you have to remember to press the eject button before going for dinner if you want to watch a Blu-ray during the afternoon coffee. And Pioneer was not alone in this - Denon had much of the same sufferings in their early generations.

Sony was always top of the class in the exercise quickness in Blu-ray players' childhood and youth. And even though the terrain has largely been leveled eventually, Sony is still among the leaders in terms of speed.

The review sample of BDP-S1500 uses 20 to 25 seconds from standby to load the menu of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles , one of the very few movies in the Norwegian market currently available with Dolby Atmos. This is certainly more than approved.


Remote control.

The remote control is an important part of AV components, especially Blu-ray players. BDP-S1500's remote control is odefinitively in the compact class, but it scores well on many parameters. One of the most important one is that it is a logical and easy to navigate. Equally important is that it has good transmission power of the control signals, and the player has good sensitivity for the orders given from the listening position. Here the remote for BDP-S1500 scores very good. Even commands given from a position behind a sofa cushion is promptly executed.



But there is another almost magical ability in this remote control, which has charmed me completely. The remote has a separate Netflix button. This came as a big surprise, and may not be seen in any of the player's online documentation, neither on Sony's Norwegian or foreign sites. Not only was this button a surprise - it reigns somewhat divergent information online about whether Netflix is ​​available on this smallest player in Sony's assortment.

A direct button for Netflix means that you don`t have to scroll through menus to activate this streaming service for movies. Netflix has in quite a short time conquered the market, and is actually starting to get a very dominant position in relation to "linear TV." The fact that the remote has received a direct button for activating the streaming service is to my knowledge unique. And I like it - a HiFi and AV enthusiast is using too much time and frustration deep inside silly menus.


Smart player.

BDP-S1500 is thus a smart player. It is well termed equivalent to Smart TV. It's not groundbreaking that we find smart features on a Blu-ray player, but it's still a very nice property on a player in this price segment. And Netflix is ​​just one of many apps available, but for me it's just a few that arouses particular interest. Youtube is always nice to have - also on a player, even if it is already in place on the TV and a variety of handheld gadgets in addition to the PC. A little more enthusiasm evokes the app for Berliner Philharmoniker, which streams classical concerts live, and requires a payed subscription.



Sony BDP-S1500 is thus a smart player that offers services like Netflix via the player. It depends on wired network connection, or at least a solution with receiver for wireless bridge if you don`t have access to wired network near the player. This is a limitation that it is possible to grumble over, if you have talent for that excersise. But to me it makes sense as an intelligent solution for the most affordable player in a series, to politely refer to the more expensive models if you need WiFi. It is more than equally relevant to be impressed that the player has wired network and Netflix available.

There are also other limitations, in terms of that player can not stream via UPnP. Also this is reserved for more expensive models in the series.

And if for some inexplicable reason vote that surfing the internet is a mandatory exercise for a Blu-ray player, you also need to put some more money into the pot. Here we talk BDP-S4500 and upwards ...



Sound and Vision.

The image quality on the BDP-S1500 is very good, but without it being a goal of this test to reveal subtle nuances.

On the audio side, the player holds only digital outputs, in terms of HDMI and Coax. A very common development, and also a choice that makes sense for a player in this price category. This limits costs, as DACs are totally absent. The only parameter for sound quality in the player remains to be jitter characteristics. Since the test has been performed in a budget setup with an AV receiver costing 6.000, - (NOK) I have not had the ambition to dvelve into the sound properties via the digital outputs. I just note that it works pretty much the same with other players in the same general price segment. And BDP-S1500 is on par as a sound transmitter in the digital domain.



I think that Sony has done very much appropriate here. This is a player that has a suggested retail price of 799, NOK, but which in practice are available in major brands of 599, - (NOK). When you in addition to a highly competent player of Blu-ray get a thoroughbred Netflix machine that runs more bluntly into film streaming than any other instrument I have been in contact with, there is no battle left.

On top of all, it has a design that in its simplicity may go under the umbrella "gently elegant". I am pretty sure Mies would nod approvingly here. Less is more, even if it does not cost your shirt ...

If you miss WiFi and UPnP you can scroll up a few hundreds (NOK) extra - this is available in the more expensive models. Can you cope without , you get an incredible amount of bang for the money in this base model from Sony. Right now Sony BDP-S1500 a real bargain!


Read more about Sony BDP-S1500 .



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Karl Erik Sylthe

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