The Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray player is large and feature-packed. Unfortunately it is very expensive.
- Excellent Blu-ray image quality, quiet operation, ready for rack setup, very good DVD upscaling, 7.1-channel analog output
- Very expensive, large and heavy
The Sony BDP-S5000ES is a quiet and fully featured Blu-ray player that has excellent picture quality and the ports needed for an A/V rack setup. Unfortunately this isn't enough to justify the very high price tag.
Price$ 2,299.00 (AUD)
The Sony BDP-S5000ES is a large and expensive Blu-ray player with excellent picture quality and connectivity. While it offers more functionality than cheaper players, its high price tag is unjustifiable.
We were startled by the Sony BDP-S5000ES's size when we first saw it. Measuring 430x351x124mm and weighing a hefty 9.9kg, this Blu-ray player is a bulky box that will stand out in anyone's home theatre setup.
That's not to say it looks bad; it has a sleek black metal fascia with LED indicators that tell the user when 24P, HD Audio and SBM (Super bit mapping) modes are on.
The drive tray is rubberised to reduce vibrations, and the Sony BDP-S5000ES is excellent at minimising noise. According to Sony's marketing-speak this is thanks to a design that controls "the fundamental resonant frequency of the frame panels"; this translates into the bulk absorbing the vibrations.
In terms of picture quality the Sony BDP-S5000ES performs well, providing detailed images from both Blu-ray and upscaled DVD media. Skin tones were natural and the level of clarity was excellent. We were able to discern the individual pieces of bark from trees in Pearl Harbour, while the action sequences were displayed with smooth motion and no jittering.
DVD upscaling was also performed very well, but we noticed little improvement to the images of the lobby scene from The Matrix when compared to the much cheaper Samsung BD-P1500, apart from slightly deeper blacks. The 'boomstick' scene from Army of Darkness starring Bruce Campbell was displayed with excellent clarity, especially when the age of the film is considered.
One place where the Sony BDP-S5000ES excels is its connectivity. Most newer Blu-ray players offer an HDMI 1.3 output, digital optical audio, coaxial audio, composite and component video outputs, stereo analog output, USB 2.0 output and an Ethernet port for BD-Live content access when an Internet connection is available.
The Sony BDP-S5000ES provides all these plus 7.1-channel analog output for direct connection to wired surround-sound speakers, and an S-Video output as well as an IR input and an RS-232C connection for other devices. This is especially useful for using the Blu-ray player in an A/V rack, where it can be integrated into an automated home theatre system.
DTS, DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus can all be decoded by the Sony BDP-S5000ES.
But despite its extra ports, the quiet operation and the good picture quality, there's little to justify the giant price leap from $499 for a Samsung BD-P1500 to $2299 for a Sony BDP-S5000ES. Unless you're a home theatre enthusiast or a professional with a lot of cash to burn, it is hard to recommend.
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