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Sony BDPS480B Blu Ray Player Review

Dec. 28th 2012

Sony BDPS480B Blu Ray Player Review

Review: We go hands on with the Sony BDPS480B

Introduction

Gaining the coveted 5 stars when reviewed in the June 2011 issue of ‘What Hi Fi?’ this Blu Ray player has been specifically designed to handle the Internet, 3D and DVD all with the greatest of ease. It can also cut through bone, just like butter, (but only if you’re watching ‘Machete’ on it).  But is it indispensable or merely expendable? We dispatched our reviewer to find out.

THE SPECS

Today’s Blu Ray players are getting smaller and smaller, which is useful for space reasons and better from both a consumer standpoint (there’s less to pay for) and an environmental one. This is only an uncomfortable irony if you happen to be watching ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ on Blu Ray.  Joking aside, the BDPS480B is pretty small, measuring 19.9 x 43 x 3.6 cm and weighing in at an anorexic 1.7 kg. In today’s world, it pays to be space conscious when it comes to home entertainment, as more content is available, at a lower price, than at any other time in history.

Because it is a Blu Ray player first and foremost, your Sony BDPS480B will enable superior picture and sound quality, bringing you closer than ever to home cinema. However, I should point out that this will only achieve full potential if hooked up to a decent surround sound system and a 1080p HD TV.

This model will connect to the Internet, allowing you to surf the net on your TV the same way you would with your computer and it’s WiFi connection interfaces easily and efficiently with your home broadband.

The Sony BDPS480B also comes equipped with two USB ports, which are great for connecting memory sticks or portable hard drives in order to watch downloaded or user-generated content. They can also connect your Blu Ray player to digital cameras in order to watch your home movies, or show friends your holiday snaps.

And yes, you can use your mobile phone as a remote (Apple and Android only).

THE PRICE

Upon its release at the beginning of last year, this player cost £330, which is, frankly, a bit steep. However, right now you can buy it for £90 (not including postage), which is actually a pretty good deal. Amazon’s marketplace also has it available for as low as £70, which is even better.

THE PERFORMANCE

I’m pretty sceptical when it comes to 3D, so I’m not sold by the manufacturer’s boast that it represents “the new generation of home entertainment”. Luckily, you don’t need to watch everything in 3D, so this is still a worthwhile product for all you 3D doubters out there.

You can access any number of apps, which are perfect for streaming Internet content and do so very well. This means that you can catch up on last night’s ‘Mock The Week’ with the iPlayer app, but still enjoy new episodes of ‘Jake & Amir’ via the YouTube app.

The Sony BDPS480B boosts the quality of DVDs to a very high standard indeed, which means that you won’t need to go about replacing your entire film collection with Blu Ray discs (which, lets face it, if you can afford to do that in this recession, you must be golfing with the Prime Minister this weekend).

WHAT OTHER USERS SAY

The Amazon reviews for this particular model are really very good. UK-based user ‘Steve’ says that he (I’m assuming he is a ‘he’) bought this to take the stress off of his overworked PS3. He goes on to say that the overall performance is better. Another fellow Brit says that the WiFi is actually only accessible by the purchase of an optional dongle, I have to say that I didn’t notice this during the review and it is not clearly marked on most websites, so I’m grateful to him for pointing it out.

‘Dan 46’ had a different story, however. When (s)he connected to a slightly older (yet still HD) TV, (s)he discovered that the resolution reverts to that of regular DVD, effectively wasting the money that was spent on it. It is worth noting that this is a common complaint among first time Blu Ray buyers and one that is worth your consideration.

Other reviews centre on the lack of connection cables included, which, when you consider also the absent dongle, is actually quite disappointing.

Our Verdict

This is a good player. At under £100 it is reliable and high tech. This is one that certainly won’t steer you wrong. If, however, you aren’t all that thrilled about 3D, you can knock £20 (or even £30) off the asking price by buying a 2D version, which is a viable option that could save you money. Overall, the asking price is fair and the performance is very nice indeed.

Features:

10/10

Performance:

8/10

Design:

9/10

Value:

8/10

Was: £129.99
Now: £110.00

Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.co.uk.

Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days

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Sony Playstation 3 Blu Ray Player Review

Dec. 24th 2012

Sony Playstation 3 Blu Ray Player Review

Review: We go hands on with the Sony Playstation 3

Introduction

Over the last few weeks, we’ve sent our intrepid reviewer out into the darkest corners of the office in order to review pretty much every Blu Ray player known to man. This time we thought we’d throw him a curve ball (actually, it was a cricket ball and the poor sod suffered a concussion – sorry mate!) So we got him to have a look at the PS3. Is the PS3 as good a Blu Ray player as it is a games console? Or is that all a steaming pile of Rogue Warrior? We injected our reviewer with deadly flesh eating nanites and gave him 24 hours to review the PS3’s Blu Ray drive in exchange for a cure…

THE SPECS

For a Blu Ray player, the PS3 is big and cumbersome, though the slimline edition is better. However, when you consider that the PS3 is also your games console, it is actually quite a handy space saver. PS3 is a great option to play with your mates when you can’t agree on what to watch (or even a good way to settle the dispute) and instantly doubles your entertainment options.

For my money, the PS3 is the world’s best games console, so spending the extra dosh is merited in at least one sense. However, if you aren’t a gamer (and have no interest in becoming one) then I don’t need to tell you to save yourself well over £100 and look elsewhere. The quality of the Internet on the PS3 isn’t tremendous (remember that the PS3 is, first and foremost, a games console). You also won’t be able to access some of the apps, extras and other stuff that comes bundled with a Blu Ray player, although most of your favourites (Netflix, LoveFilm, BBC iPlayer) should be present and accounted for.

Also – Remember that just like any other Blu Ray player, the PS3 works best with a 1080p HD TV and surround sound, although you can hook it up to lesser televisions. If you’re entertainment system doesn’t meet these requirements, there is actually very little reason to recommend Blu Ray to you at all. Blu ray will work on lower tech, but there really won’t be much point. If it sounds silly, just bear in mind that a lot of people have made this mistake and wasted large sums of money in the pursuit of higher quality visuals.

THE PRICE

Although the PS3 has dropped in price considerably over the past few years, it is still a lot more expensive than the majority of today’s Blu Ray players (though you do get more for your money). Presently, Amazon is offering a slimline PS3 for £189.00 with free shippingand handling.

THE PERFORMANCE

As a games console, the PS3 is second to none, but as a Blu Ray player it does leave some things to be desired. The quality of the images/sound is superb and you’re subject to almost none of the playback problems that Blu Ray users frequently describe (it loads quickly and noiselessly). However, navigating the menus with a control pad is a supreme pain in the ass and sifting through the PS3’s many pages of options in order to find the disc (labelled, invariably, as BD-ROM) is annoying if you don’t instinctively know where to go.

WHAT OTHER USERS SAY

A review on the ‘PC World’ site said much the same, despite noting that there is a PS3 Blu Ray remote control on the market to make menu navigation easier. The reviewer specifically mentioned what a pain it was to work out which buttons were used to pause, rewind and so on (there’s nothing in the instruction book).

At the end, however, the review stated, “The PlayStation 3 can complement your home theatre, but it falls short of being a full-blown home theatre device unto itself. That said, in my hands-on tests, the PlayStation 3 proved a reasonably agile Blu-Ray Disc movie player, despite its rough navigational edges”. I couldn’t have said it better myself (which is the main reason I copy/pasted it here).

Our Verdict

If you want a Blu Ray player, but are looking for a cheap alternative on the sly, look elsewhere. Kudos to you for thinking ‘outside the box’ as it were, but it didn’t work out this time.

If, however, you’re going to get a PS3 for the games and also want to use it as a Blu Ray player, then it will probably work out fine. The control setup will take some getting used to, but after a week or so I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it. If you’re on a limited budget and you can’t choose between games and movies, then the PS3 is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

Features:

9/10

Performance:

8/10

Design:

10/10

Value:

6/10

Was: £199.99
Now: £159.99

Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.co.uk.

Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days

Posted by Player Bluray | in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Panasonic DMP-BDT110EB Blu Ray Player Review

Dec. 18th 2012

Panasonic DMP-BDT110EB Blu Ray Player Review

Review: We go hands on with the Panasonic DMP-BDT110EB

Introduction

Released in 2011, this 3D Blu Ray player is the June 2011 Sound & Vision Test winner for ‘What Hi Fi?’ magazine. It looks great, it plays great and it is great…Or so we’re told. But does it pop out at you or is it still a little flat? We pelted our intrepid reviewer with rocks and bits of broken bottles until he agreed to find out for us…

THE SPECS

With a weight of 2.2 kg, this isn’t the lightest Blu Ray player in the world, however, despite being a little on the large side, the Panasonic DMP-BDT110EB 3D still won’t take up too much space. This is a highly regarded, big-selling model, which it would have to be in order to justify a larger retail price than we’re used to.

Blu Ray offers the best quality sound and image available in home entertainment right now and 3D Blu Ray is in even higher demand, but it is worth noting that a 3D Blu Ray player will not make a 2D TV work in 3D. It is also worth noting that without a 1080p HD TV, you won’t even get the best quality out of your Blu Ray in the first place. In addition, you will require a decent stereo system in order to really get the most out of your purchase.

This player comes complete with a built-in WiFi connection, which allows you to use apps, view streamed content and even make Skype calls.

THE PRICE

At £150, this is one of the more expensive Blu Ray players. It remains to be seen whether it will drop further in price over the coming months (the RRP in February of last year was £230, but we’ve seen far bigger reductions on others since then). To be honest, the price is likely to be this product’s major stumbling block.

THE PERFORMANCE

Fairly easy to set up, the Panasonic DMP-BDT110EB 3D glides along like a dream. Each model is equipped with ‘Ultra Fast Booting Time’ as the adverts boast, so you can buy with confidence that you won’t be subject to the (sometimes painful) loading times of certain Blu Ray players.

The Skype option is a lot of fun as well, as you can conduct conversations with multiple people and nobody has to push. In addition, the improved sound of the TV really makes up for the sometimes-dodgy transmissions received during regular Skype calls.

The quality of the 3D is simply stupefying and this Blu Ray can certainly provide you and your friends or family with a satisfying evening of home cinema.

WHAT OTHER USERS SAY

Despite the vast majority of Amazon’s product reviewers giving it perfect (5 star) reviews, it only has an aggregate score of 4/5. The user ‘James Hagerty’ said that whilst the player was mostly excellent, the laser was very sensitive, noting that even faint smudging or scratching can cause big problems for the viewer.

‘Sunflower’ based in London, pointed out a very serious flaw that I didn’t notice (but definitely bears mentioning if it is indeed the case) that the Internet apps are limited only to those that are pre-programmed in advance. This means that whilst you will get Youtube and Facebook, you will not be able to get iPlayer (or any number of others).

Other reviews (by the delightfully named ‘Porkchop’ amongst others) expressed annoyance that the streaming is actually very difficult and temperamental, in addition to the claim that a disproportionate amount of file types are not actually supported by Panasonic players. ‘Mememo’ (despite offering a 4/5 review) does mention that the player makes an annoying noise whilst playing, something that was also mentioned in other reviews.

‘Tabbycat 23’ (who, I can only imagine is not an actual cat) gave a perfect score, as well as saying that (s)he could not discern any noise emanating from the device (and cats are supposed to have good hearing!), whilst ‘Mark’ adequately described the visuals (before 3D) as “staggering” which is a genuine plus point.

Our Verdict

This is obviously a very good player. However, with the recent price drop taking effect, is it worth paying nearly £70 extra? Personally, I don’t think so.

Too many of the reviews I collated were very critical of Panasonic’s ‘lazy’ customer service and of their Blu Ray players being nowhere near as user friendly or compatible as a Sony or a Samsung.

Blighted by unwillingness to play certain file types and an extremely restrictive WiFi, the Panasonic DMP-BDT110EB 3D doesn’t really live up to the hype. For £150, we have every reason in the world to expect more. This does not mean that the Panasonic DMP-BDT110EB 3D is bad, just that it isn’t as good as Panasonic think it is.

Features:

5/10

Performance:

5/10

Design:

8/10

Value:

7/10

Was: £159.99
Now: £139.99

Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.co.uk.

Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days

Posted by Player Bluray | in Uncategorized | Comments Off

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Tags: blu ray player