Blu-ray Players

Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray Player - Benchmark



Setup of the BDP-S5000ES was very straightforward.  You only need to connect an HDMI cable, LAN cable, and power to make full use of the BDP-S5000ES.  Once the player has been turned on an Easy Setup screen appears that walks you through the basics of selecting language, connection type (HDMI or Component), TV resolution and TV aspect ratio.  The Easy Setup screen also asks if you are interested in allowing network connectivity.  You would normally answer “Allow” to this question if you plan on using BD-Live connectivity.  The Easy Setup menu also prompts for use of the player’s “Quick Start Mode” option.  This option allows for a quicker startup of the BDP-S5000ES but comes at the expense of power and the continuous operation of the player’s fan.  I chose to skip this option as the normal startup time for the player is about 30 seconds.   This can seem like a long time if you are trying to put a disc in the player, but it hardly seemed long enough to consume extra power just for faster startup time.

The player can auto configure its network settings but this assumes that the BDP-S5000ES has a connection to your home’s network router.  Since the player doesn’t support wireless connectively, you have to provide a direct LAN connection or purchase a wireless adapter for use with the BDP-S5000ES.  The player does allow you to enter your own network parameters should you need to do so, but most users will just make use of the automatic configuration once a connection is established.

Once the initial setup is done, the first thing you notice about the player is the distinctive Sony XrossMediaBarâ„¢ (XMB) graphical user interface.

Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray Player


This is the same interface used on the Sony PlayStation 3 and it offers a simple interface for selecting setup, music, photos, and video.  The first thing I did was check the firmware version of the player.  This was really easy to do from the Network Update menu which can be found above the Setup icon.

Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray Player


The player went out over the network and checked the latest firmware version offered by Sony and offered me the option to upgrade from version 7.2.015 to 7.4.019.  I chose to proceed and after a few minutes the player had downloaded the new firmware and updated itself.  When it was finished, the player turned itself off.  When you turn the player back on, the update is complete and you are ready to enjoy.

I want to mention that updating a Blu-ray player to the latest firmware is generally a recommended process no matter what brand player you have.  Since a Blu-ray player is frequently running Java based applications when you watch a Blu-ray disc, there are sometimes software problems that can occur depending on the individual media and studio provider.   The Blu-ray player manufacturers will often provide corrections and enhancements to the players to deal with software issues, but the only way for a consumer to get these enhancements is to update the player’s firmware.  The BDP-S5000ES makes that process convenient and simple for the user.

The next step in setup was to review the audio setup menu.

Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray Player


The audio setup menu lets you specify which audio output to use (HDMI, multi-channel, etc.) and allows you to setup the speaker configuration if you are using the multi-channel input.  This menu also allows you to specify down mix preferences for Dolby Digital and DTS, as well as adjust output level and dynamic range compensation.   Generally the default options for these options are the correct ones to use.

The final thing to check was the video setup menu.

Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray Player


The video setup menu lets you control the aspect ratio and output resolution of the player.  It also allows you to specify the output color space and the handling of DVD playback as well as 1080p/24Hz output for Blu-ray video.


The Soloist