Blu-ray Players

Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray Player - Benchmark

ARTICLE INDEX

Design and Features

The first thing you notice about the BDP-S5000ES is the overall build quality.  The player is very heavy at 22 pounds and is extremely solid in its construction.   The front panel is typical of ES products and offers a brushed aluminum face plate.  The overall design is very clean and simple with buttons for Power, Eject and the basic transport controls for Play, Pause and Stop.  The front display is very readable and the disc tray itself is coated with a sound dampening coating which gives the tray an upscale feel.  The tray is very smooth in operation and the upper edge of the disc tray is illuminated during playback which gives the player a distinctive look.

Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray Player

 

The first thing you notice about the rear panel is the quality of the connectors.  The RCA and component video jacks are all premium, gold plated connectors.   The connectors are solid, beautifully machined and are sturdy thanks to all those small screws on the back panel.  I never worried about accidentally damaging any of the RCA connectors on the back of this player due to a cable gripping too tightly.  As for connections, on the audio side, the player offers a 7.1 analog output, a stereo output, coax and Toslink digital connections and video connections include HDMI, component, s-video and composite connections.  The player offers an HDMI 1.3 connection which is used to take full advantage of what this player has to offer.  There is also the all important Ethernet connection for BD-Live support and RS232 and IR Control jacks for integration with remote control systems.

The last slot on the back is the external USB input which is labeled EXT.  While this slot supports USB, the manual warns that nothing is to be connected to this slot except for flash memory.  In this case, the slot only supports the Sony Micro Vault format memory cards, so there is limited utility for this USB slot beyond its use with BD-Live.  Fortunately, Sony includes a 1 GB card with the BDP-S5000ES which is the minimum requirement for a BD-Live player.

Sony has included additional design features to minimize noise.  The analog audio circuit board is isolated from the video board to avoid interference.  The player also has a rigid frame and beam chassis, which is intended to reduce vibration, and a special transformer is used to minimize interference from digital noise.  We’ll see how well the player does later in the benchmark section.  On the inside, Sony is using a proprietary video processor which boasts 14-bit HD processing and offers Sony proprietary features such as HD Reality Enhancer and Super Bit Mapping.

The BDP-S5000ES is fully compliant with the Profile 2.0 specifications for Blu-ray which means that it supports Bonus View, and BD-Live.  The LAN jack on the player can support up to a 100Mb connection speed but this will ultimately be limited by your internet connection speed.  The player supports playback of DVD-video and CD media and also supports BD-R, BD-RE, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-R DL, DVD+R DL, DVD-RW,DVD+RW, CD-RW, CD-R , DTS CDs and AVCHD formatted media.  The formats that are noticeably absent from the BDP-S5000ES are SACD, DVD Audio, and PAL encoded discs.  I was surprised that the player didn’t support SACD given Sony’s contribution to the development of the SACD format.

The BDP-S5000ES will display JPEG image files on properly formatted CD-R or CD-RW media.   Sony has included some special functionality with respect to photo display on the BDP-S5000ES.  The player supports PhotoTV HD, which allows you to display photos on select Sony TVs using a 1080i or 1080p HDMI connection.  The player supports various image processing enhancements for photos via the video processor’s HD Reality Enhancer feature set.  Edge enhancement, smoothing, and film grain adjustments can all be made during photo display.

The player supports basic slide show functionality and allows you to enjoy your photos at the maximum resolution of your display.
The BDP-S5000ES also supports a special “Control for HDMI” feature which allows for tight integration between components such as the BDP-S5000ES and a compatible Sony BRAVIA display.

The control functionality allows the TV and the player to be operated in a more seamless fashion.  For example, pressing Play on the player remote will automatically turn on the TV, select the appropriate input, and start playback.  This is definitely a family friendly feature if you happen to own equipment that supports this functionality and that plays well together.  We will definitely be seeing more of this type of integration in the future.

As for output capabilities, the BDP-S5000ES supports the output resolutions of 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p.  The 480i option is handy if you have an external video processor that you want to use for DVD playback.  The BDP-S5000ES supports the playback of Blu-ray media at 1080p/24Hz if you have a compatible TV and an HDMI connection.  The player will also upscale DVD media to 1080p resolution.  The BDP-S5000ES offers support for 30-bit and 36-bit Deep Color via its HDMI connection which may come in handy down the road as there is currently no Deep Color material available.  The player supports Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, and DTS-HS Master Audio.  If you are using a receiver which supports HDMI 1.1, the BDP-S5000ES will output multi-channel LPCM.  If you are using HDMI 1.3, the BDP-S5000ES can send the high resolution bitstream to your receiver based on the menu settings in the player.

The BDP-S5000ES also supports a wide range of video adjustments which include the normal controls for contrast, brightness, chroma and hue as well as gamma control.  These controls are very handy if your display or processor doesn’t allow for adjustment based on the individual input being used.  The color space of the HDMI output can be set to properly match your display.  The BDP-S5000ES supports a number of advanced video enhancements that are part of Sony’s HD Reality Enhancer feature set.  While I generally preferred to leave these settings at their default, features like edge enhancement and smoothing will definitely appeal to those users who enjoy experimenting and want the most control of their video experience.

The BDP-S5000ES also offers another unusual feature for those using long component video connections.  The player has a menu option which allows the user to boost the gain of the component video connection in 0.4 dB increments in order to compensate for long cable runs.   While most users should use the HDMI connection with this player, this feature may come in very handy for certain users.