SONY Blu-ray Disc Player: Initial Consumer Product Review Observations

by on December 24, 2011

in consumer, consumer reviews

This is an initial set of observations and a consumer product review of the SONY Blu-ray Disc Player, model BDP-S480.

Sony BDPS480 3D Blu-ray playerThis is not a technical review. This is a regular Joe kind of review. So keep that in mind as you read this product review.

The Sony BDP-S480 is a 3D Blu-ray Disc Player. I did not get it for the 3D feature. I am not a fan of most 3D movies so I’m not sure what I’d get out of it on a tinier screen, but the player fell within my price-range. And since 3D seems to be getting shoved down the consumer’s throat, well, I’m sure sooner or later I might be tinkering with the tech.

As anyone who knows me can attest to, I do my research. I hate buying blind. Plus I’m finally considering a BD player because studios are adding more features to the Blu-ray format products than the DVD version of their products.

With that said, I was on the hunt for my first Blu-ray player.

Initially I queried some peers who have BD players and the one thing I took away from my conversations is to visit the stores and check out the remotes. Apparently remotes can be bulky, non-intuitive or are just annoying.

Then I checked out some consumer review websites and got a feel for brand/models I was looking for and had narrowed the field down. One of the first things I noticed was that the store I hit up did not have remotes out with the shelf models. After looking at what was for sale, there were a couple of recommendations left for my choosing.

Blu-ray Disc Players on Amazon

Sony BDPS480 3D Blu-ray player - angle viewI didn’t find the exact model I wanted, but my past experience has shown (so far) that next version of that model is usually a newer and better version of a well rated model. This practice hasn’t failed me yet. So I had to pick between a Samsung and Sony Blu-ray player.

I leaned towards the Sony brand for a few reasons.

I have never let down by any Sony product I’ve owned. I leaned away from Samsung because I had such a horrible consumer experience with a smartphone of theirs that I am still shell-shocked by the brand name.

So I chose the Sony. I used the most excellent ShopSavvy Barcode scanner app on my Droid and searched my immediate area and online for competitive prices. With the app, I verified I was looking at a good, comparative price.

The Sony BDP-S480 seemed to fit all my needs and then some. Though I don’t need internet connectivity, or 3D capability, I ended up dropping $90 on this new Blu-ray player.

Model Displays: A Word of Caution

Once you’ve chosen your model, I bet your instinct is to look down and grab what’s on the shelf. In this case, I found that the next, more expensive Sony BD player was below the shelf model. I had to dig around a bit to locate the model I had decided to buy.

Cable Prices: Another Word of Caution

Since this Sony Blu-ray player has HDMI capability (actually, don’t they all?), and my TV has HDMI input slots, I thought about getting an HDMI cable and making this a thorough consumer experience.

WHOA!

In the TV section, I found HDMI cables going for anywhere from $40 to $75! In the computer section, they were $25. Online I found HDMI cables ranging from $2 to $15. Hmm. You do the math.

According to a few technically inclined folks I know and they said there’s no significant difference between the offerings. The only time to worry about technicalities is when you might be looking for 3D sound feeds.

Check out what I mean about prices here:: HDMI Cables on Amazon

Getting the Sony BDP-S480 and Installing It

Wow, how easy could this be!?

I pulled out my old DVD player and using the basic cables I had, I just plugged in. Setting up the Blu-ray player took all of ten minutes. At least for the basic, ready-to-go, set up.

Observations

The remote is a Sony remote, and is on par with my TV remote.

The Blu-ray player comes up in 480i mode. You have to set it to transmit in 1080p.

Navigating the menus of the Blu-ray player is fairly easy. The manual that came with the player is sufficient. It’s not abundant with info, but it gives you enough to get by and printed on recycled paper. Nice!

Once I got my $6 HDMI cable in the mail, I plugged that 5-ft cable in. I was able to crank up one of the few Blu-rays I have, and sure enough, the resolution of the image is incredibly crisp and worthy of the sales pitch. I’m not sure if you have a small TV, if a Blu-ray player would be worth it, but definitely crisper pictures on the mid-sized and up screens. Blu-ray looks like it gives each shape and person it’s own space or dimension in the picture.

[ BTW:

TVs of old put out 480 lines of definition. Today, we have what’s referred to as 720 or 1080. The ‘i’ and ‘p’ is the kind of scan used to project it. Obviously the higher the number, the better. And ‘p’ (progressive scan) is better than ‘i’ (interlaced scan). They say the definition is not too different between 720p and 1080i, and 1080p is the best. ]

Despite this being a Blu-ray player, BD players also help the DVDs they play, and surely, they do seem to look better.

About Using Same Brand TV & BD Players

Using both a Sony TV and BD player seems to have it’s advantages. For one, the remotes from either work on both without any adjustments.

Once the HDMI cable is installed, when you pick up the BD player remote and power on the player, the player, via the cable, will turn on the Sony TV at the same time. That’s somewhat cool!

Android Media Remote

Sony puts out a media remote for the iPhone and Android… and this is one way to get a full qwerty keyboard at your disposal while playing around on the web with your TV or BD players! (I’ll have to figure that out and come back and report on that feature!)

Downers

The working buttons on the BD player are not obvious, but they are there. I see a power-on, eject, play, stop FF and Rewind symbols on the player and the buttons for these are little nipples to the right of the symbols.

Wireless, but…

The BD player is “wireless capable,” but only if you get the USB wireless adapter. And if I’m seeing things right, it may only work with the Sony proprietary adapter, and that, according to some, is about the same price as the player. I’m not sure if a generic adapter will work.

And that is where I’m at so far in my experience as a brand new, Blu-ray player owner. So far, so good. As I use it more, I’ll post some updated reports later on. Thanks for coming by.

Sony Blu-ray players on Amazon

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: