Blu-ray Players

Sony BDP-CX7000ES Blu-ray Player (Mega Changer)

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

I thoroughly enjoyed using the CX7000ES. The player integrated perfectly with my living room system and control was a snap once I programmed my Harmony 900 with the correct code set. Responsiveness was about average for a Blu-ray player. Most discs were playing within 45 seconds of being selected. Power-up is also of average speed. It’s no PS3 or OPPO BDP-83 but it’s quicker than many other players I’ve experienced. Loading new titles in either the rental slot or another slot, took a little extra time as information was downloaded from the Gracenote database. This box is great for watching TV shows on disc. I loaded several season sets of shows like I Love Lucy, Dexter and the Tudors. My wife and I often have marathons where we’ll watch three or four episodes in one sitting. The CX7000 made this super-convenient as we just paged through the titles and selected what we wanted. Couch potatoes rejoice, your Blu-ray player has arrived!

Sony BDP-CX7000ES Blu-ray Player Review

Of course, I principally watched Blu-ray content and it looked fantastic as expected. Catalog titles like Pride & Prejudice (1995) and Walk the Line (2005) were beautifully rendered. Their well-preserved film grain and details jumped off the screen and color rendition was perfectly accurate to my calibrated display. I saw no artifacts of any kind. Audio reproduction was equally stellar. I have never wanted for an HDMI 1.3 receiver in this system as my venerable Denon 3806 sounds just fine with LPCM. There are some that claim to hear a difference between bitstream and LPCM but I do not count myself among them. Dynamic range was very wide with the large soundstage I’m accustomed to from lossless audio.

Sony BDP-CX7000ES Blu-ray Player Review

Other Blu-rays I watched included Dexter, Season 3 and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans. Dexter takes place in Miami and as such is presented in extremely vivid and even overblown colors. The palette is meant to portray the hot climate and it does this most effectively. I can’t say the Super Bit Mapping made a difference as I couldn’t see any whether it was on or off. Color in either case was superb with great saturation and delineation. Dark scenes showed all available shadow detail and the deep black inherent to Pioneer Kuro displays. Bad Lieutenant isn’t the best Blu-ray I’ve seen though my complaints tend more to the chosen color palette rather than the transfer itself. The Sony effectively showed the bad with the good. Most of the movie has a very filtered look which flattens the image. The CX7000 did a respectable job with not-so-great content.

Sony BDP-CX7000ES Blu-ray Player Review

DVD content included two black & white titles, I Love Lucy and The Best years of our Lives. I Love Lucy is a decent restoration and exhibits very good quality throughout. Once again the picture was clean and free of artifacts. The soundtrack is Dolby Digital 2.0, upmixed from the original mono. I matrixed it to 5.1 using DTS Neo:6. Sound from the CX7000 here was excellent with clear, tight dialog and strong detail. The Best Years of Our Lives is only a fair transfer but the Sony again did an excellent job with merely average material. Video was again clean and devoid of any garbage. There is a look to old black & white movies I find appealing and it came across very well. The audio was handled properly with clear dialog despite the very low mastering level. I had to turn up the volume much higher than usual but this was not the fault of the player.

Sony BDP-CX7000ES Blu-ray Player Review

I finished my DVD viewing with The Tudors, Season 1. This is a very high-quality transfer and I did not miss the Blu-ray version at all. This is an instance where I was forced to rent the DVD version as Netflix does not distribute Blu-rays of TV shows. It was of no matter however. The classic look and feel of the scenery, costumes and actors came across strongly. Detail was preserved very well and I saw no problems with the CX7000’s upconversion performance. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack sounded great too. Potential owners of this player with large DVD collections can rest assured that their movies will look their best despite the lower resolution.