The player boasts a whole host of new features including wifi connectivity, deep colour technology and the precision drive HD technology…. but is it any good?
Check out my thoughts below.
I guess the first thing I need to do is tell you exactly what I’m running as well as the Blu Ray player. Here’s the list:
- Toshiba 32WLT58
- Amp: Yamaha DSP-AX759SE
- Centre – Mission MC1i
- Front left / right
- Mission 734i
- Mission 702e
For the purpose of testing, I’ll be using Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Terminator Salvation (Directors Cut) and I’ve also thrown on the first couple of episodes of The Pacific and a classic in the form of Weekend at Bernies!
Installation was pretty straightforward. One of the most recent additions to the player is the integration of wifi which makes firmware updates and BD Live (the interactive side of watching a movie) rather simple. After plugging in the player and attaching it to my TV via HDMI, I was pretty much good to go. I used the optical out for the audio as my amp is a little too old to have an HDMI socket.
After powering up, the familiar Sony logo appears in all it’s Blu-ray goodness to arrive at an easy to follow, step by step guide on setting up the player with my TV. It ran a few scans and decided that my TV was suitable for 1080i. ‘Correct’! i thought to myself as I continued on my merry way to installation-land.
The menu system is much like that of a PlayStation 3 in that you have to hover over picture, video, options etc to access the menu that you require. For some reason, the options / settings menu is hidden off to the left but once I found that, i was able to change the audio output to optical (rather than HDMI which is default) and connect the player to my wifi which again was a simple process.
My one complaint with the system is the remote control which looks and feels like a toy. It has it’s own model number which is an RMT-B104P and it really does feel and look tacky, which surprised me since it has a Sony badge on the front. And can someone please tell me why there is no eject button on the remote. Fair enough, you need to get up to change the disc, but surely there should be one on there?!
You have to bear in mind that my TV (Toshiba 32WLT58) is 1080i rather than full HD (1080p) so I will never be seeing the results in the way that they were intended at the Sony factory but that said, the picture quality is sharp and the colour definition is excellent. I used Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Termintor Salvation (Directors Cut) blu rays for my research and both looked wonderful. The Sony BDP-S560 has something called ‘Deep Colour technology’ which, according to the bumf, ‘gives you smoother images and more colour variation when connecting your player to a Deep Colour ready HD TV via HDMI™, bringing you a more colourful movie experience’. I don’t know if it was this that was making the pictures look so good but something in this little player is doing it so I guess I’ll put it down to that!
I purposefully chose an animated feature and a live action movie to review this player to try and gauge the quality difference. Although the animation is pinpoint perfect since it was designed and built on a computer, Terminator Salvation looks vibrant and bright and really showed what the player can do with huge action sequences and giant Arnold Schwarzenegger’s running at you.
My normal blu ray player is a Panasonic DMP-BD30 and therefore when i am reviewing a new one, everything for me will be compared to that. If I’m honest, I didn’t notice the sound being any better on the BDP-S560 than it did on my standard player but you have to take into account that I’m still using the same surround sound system (see above) as I would have been on the Panasonic. That said, there is a scene in Cloudy with the Chance of Meatballs where the town Mayor walks around the main character ‘Flint’ and this made awesome use of the surround sound with the voice coming from each speaker in turn…. this probably pays reference to the movie rather than the blu ray player but nonetheless, it was very cool!
In conclusion, I would have to say that I cannot fault this player except for the tactastic remote control! In a wireless world, having the wifi built in makes firmware updates (one of which I did), interactivity with friends on the Sony network, Movie IQ and the whole hosts of other online fun that you can have at the moment while watching a movie makes life so much easier. My current player doesn’t even have a Ethernet port, so I am already in favour of the Sony over the Panasonic. That said, when I tried to get online to BD Live, it told me that there wasn’t enough space on the player to download any content so I had to get involved with plugging memory sticks into to make it work but personally, I’m not sure how much I’d be using BD Live anyway. What I would use it for is looking at photos from one computer through the TV and the Sony BDP-S560 is capable of streaming photos which is an excellent feature and my hat goes off to Sony for adding this in.
If a blu ray player is meant to show some awesome HD movie images with terrific surround sound audio, then the Sony BDP-S560 does it wonderfully. In a separate note, I hadn’t seen Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs before and it’s awesome! Bring on a second!
Technical Specifications (from the Sony website)
|Region Code DVD||2|
|Region Code BD-ROM||B|
|BD-ROM (BonusView; Profile 1.1)||YES|
|BD-ROM (BD-Live; Profile 2.0)||YES|
|AVC-HD 8c/12cm DVD Playback||YES|
|DVD Video Playback||YES|
|Audio CD Playback||YES|
|Super VCD Playback||NO|
|DVD-R/RW (Video Format) Playback||YES|
|DVD-RW (VR Format) Playback||YES|
|1080p output (via HDMI™)||YES|
|Precision Cinema HD upscale (DVD upscaling to 1080p)||YES|
|Video D/A Converter||12bit / 148.5MHz|
|24p True Cinema||YES|
|Progressive Scan Output||YES|
|Precision Drive HD||YES|
|Preset Picture Mode||YES|
|HD Reality Enhancer||NO|
|Super Bit Mapping (SBM)||NO|
|Firm Grain Reducer (FGR)||NO|
|USB Photo Playback||YES|
|8ch Linear PCM bitstream out||YES|
|Dolby TrueHD decoding||YES|
|Dolby TrueHD bitstream out||YES|
|DTS-HD Master Audio decoding||YES|
|DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream out||YES|
|Audio D/A Converter||192kHz / 24bit|
|Display on Front Panel||YES|
|Component Video Output||1|
|Composite Video Output||1|
|Digital Audio Output: Coaxial||1|
|Digital Audio Output: Optical||1|
|7.1ch Analogue Output||NO|
|Analogue Stereo Output||YES|
|USB Front port||YES|
|DLNA Client||YES (Photo)|
|Frimware update via the Internet||YES|
|Quick Start-up||6 seconds|
|Easy Set up||YES|
|Local Storage for BD-Live||NO|
|Child Lock (Tray Lock)||YES|
|Video Bit Rate Indicator||YES|
|Power Consumption (in Operation)||28W|
|Power Consumption (in Standby)||0.19W (in Normal Stand-by Mode)|
|Autopower off (mins)||30|
|Dimensions (WxHxD) mm||430 x 70 x 216|