Since the start of the Blu-ray revolution, Sony had been one of the very few companies that made stand-alone players of that kind. But since their manufacturing of their own game console PS3, it had been the leading player beating the other Blu-ray players and Sony’s too. Though Sony released a lot of other Blu ray players, the PS3 still was dominant. Finally, it has released the Sony BDP-S550, which seems to a smarter buy than the PS3 and a great consolation for the non-gamers.
Subtle but stylish design:
The Sony BDP-S550 Blu Ray Player despite looking chunky is fairly sturdy and is neither too sleek nor too big measuring about 430 x 70 x 220 mm (W x H x D) and weighs a 3.3 kg. The attractive glossy blue-black facia and top panel sure does add to its style factor. Sony has ensured keeping the glossy finish to a minimum level possible and doesn’t really seem as tacky as its rivals. The front panel has been kept as basic as possible with no bells or whistles about it with the disc tray in the center that is concealed by an automatic flip down door. Towards the right there is a fairly small LCD display and further down is where you get to see some basic playback controls like the chapter forward/backward buttons. Strangely, the power and the disc open/close buttons are placed towards the top of the player bringing in some inconveniency.
Ample connectivity is provided by Sony for its BDP-S550 Blu Ray Disc Player. The HDMI output, component-video output, legacy composite-video and S-Video connections are available for you to enjoy HD video to a whopping 1080p resolution. For audio enhancements, you have the optical as well as coaxial digital audio outs. But, if you are possessing older receivers, you need not worry as the player also has the 7.1 analog-audio outputs. Ethernet port is available using which you can get firmware updates and will be able to download BD-live content. You must keep in mind that there is no Wi-Fi.
One of the design blots that this player has retained form its predecessor is that, the USB port is recessed deeply inside, which means many of the standard USB drives might not fit in. However, the player comes with a 1GB USB drive that fits in perfectly in the port and so this should not be an issue of great concern for most of you.
Logically designed remote control:
The remote control that comes with the Sony BDP-S550 Blu-Ray DVD player is quite good. The main navigational pad is in the center of the control and is surrounded by other important controls such as, home, menu and options. The channel changing rocker and the volume rocker are separately available below and hence this remote can also be used to access your TV. The layout is logical and the buttons are differentiated with enough space that you will be able to access it even without seeing and just feeling. It is certainly backlit.
X-cross media bar menus:
Sony has stuck to the X-cross media bar menus which is seen in PS3 which is Sony‘s customary PS3-style menu system, which not only looks slick but is also intuitive and easy to navigate. The set up of the unit is also very simple and basic.
Coming to the features, the Sony BDP-S550 Blu ray player is profile 2.0 compliant. And hence, you will be able to access the BD-live features, ie, the internet enabled features. This is usually available in some selected movies. In order to access these features, the BDP-S550 has to be connected to the internet via the Ethernet and have the USB connected. You might be wondering for what is the USB port? Since there is no internal memory, this is a must and rather a compromise.
The audio support that is provided by the player is quite comprehensive. BDP-S550 offers onboard decoding for formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio that are of high resolution and so, you will not have to go in search of a new receiver that allows you to enjoy the complete quality. The tracks of this format can also be output in the bit stream format. You will not be able to find even the slightest degradation in the sound quality.
Supported media type:
The media types supported by this player are, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD , BD-R, BD-RE, DVD+R , DVD-R , DVD+RW, DVD-RW and BD-ROM.
Few other features that makes the BDP-S550 stand out from the rest would be the addition of the exclusive set of 8-channel analogue outputs along with the on-board DTS-HD Master Audio decoding.
Sony BDP-S550 special features:
You might be interested in this new feature introduced by Sony that they call the Precision Drive HD that acts like a pro when it comes to detecting and rectifying discs that tend to wobble from three directions thus alleviating playback of scratchy/bent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs. The BonusView functionality is also available that allows you to view two separate video streams from the same Blu-ray Disc on screen at the same time. Then there is also the BRAVIA Sync technology that makes connecting the player to your BRAVIA TV or a Sony Home Theatre system a literal cakewalk.
The rest of the other convenience features go on to include the easy set up, Firware update through the Ethernet, PhotoTV HD, Child Lock, Tray Lock, Local Storage for the BD-Live, screen saver, Video Bit Rate Indicator and Parental Control.
Sony BDP-S550 as a Blu-ray dic player:
The performance of the player as a Blu-ray player is good. Colours and contrasts are clean and punchy, offering a vitality to images that is a match for its rivals. All the pictures were detailed and no image instability will be noticed. Jaggies will be completely absent. The image quality is excellent when compared to BDP-S550’s rivals in the same price range. But, when it comes to the disc loading speed, the Blu ray players always suffer and BDP-S550 was no exception. The disc loading speed differs from disc to disc, while some load in 25 seconds, some of the discs take as long as one minute 40 seconds. both Nevertheless, there is this Start-up mode that loads your Blu-ray movies in a lightning speed of six seconds allowing you to enjoy movies without any prolonged waits.
Sony BDP-S550 as a DVD player:
There will be no movie enthusiasts without and DVD collections. The performance of Sony BDP-S550 as a DVD player is good but cannot be said as excellent. Though you will be able to witness some instability in the images, you can rest assured that they are jaggie-free with the 1080p images carrying a great amount of detail and being punchy.
Features like being profile 2.0 complaint, 7.1 analog outputs, onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and image quality that is equivalent to that of the top tier players is a great deal of specification for a Blu-ray player for this price range. And the price has also dropped by 100 pounds within six months. Unlike the game console, you need not sacrifice much in terms of the movie watching quality. If you are in need of all these functionalities, then, the Sony BDP-S550 is the best choice. If you are not cared about the analog outputs, then you can choose Panasonic DMP-BD35 that offers all the functionalities of the BDP-S550 at a lesser cost. The Samsung BD-P2550 has more on offer in terms of HQV video processing along with Pandora and Netflix streaming for the same price. Sony’s BDP S350 is also a good choice if you do not need any analog outputs or DTS-HD Master Audio decoding.
Sony BDP-S550 Blu-Ray Disc Player Comes with 1 year warranty.
Technical Specification Details of Sony BDP-S550 Blu-Ray Disc Player
|Model Name||Sony BDP-S550|
|Form factor||Table top|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||430 x 70 x 220 mm|
|Remote control||Infrared remote control|
|Supported media formats||CD, DVD, BD-R, CD-R, BD-RE, CD-RW, DVD+R,
DVD-R, BD-ROM, DVD+RW, DVD-RW
|Recordable media||BD-R, BD-RE, DVD, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R,
DVD-RW, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, JPEG
|Built-in Audio Decoders||DTS decoder, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital,
DTS-HD decoder, Dolby Digital Plus
Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD
|Supported Digital Video Standards||AVCHD|
|Supported Digital Audio Standards||MP3, PCM|
|Sound output mode||Surround Sound|
|Digital audio format||Dolby Digital output, DTS digital output|
|Connector type||1 x Ethernet
1 x HDMI output
1 x 7.1 channel audio line-out
1 x SPDIF output
1 x SPDIF output
1 x Composite video/audio output
1 x S-Video output
1 x USB
JPEG photo playback
TV Screen Saver
|Power device||Power supply|