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Old 04-10-07, 08:19 PM   #8
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Virginia
Posts: 9,481
Default Re: Best STAND-ALONE Blu-ray player on the market

The Sony BDP-S1 will provide the best playback at this time. Nearly all are better than the PS3.
Wow, yeah, I see your point...

The test card allowed us to confirm that the PS3 was not adding any additional edge enhancement, or other intrusive video processing, during playback. The fact that it doesn't, and that we could detect no other problems with the playback, means that we are confident that the PS3 is the best Blu-ray Disc player available today.

The PS3 responds to remote control commands literally instantaneously, and Rewinding and Fast Forwarding are by far quicker than on any other disc player we've recently used.

After using several High-def video disc players that were slower to boot and took their time responding to user commands, the Playstation 3 is just a joy to use.

Sony seem committed to delivering firmware updates for the unit to improve its functionality, and we may even see 1080p/24 output added in the future. As a result of this and its already high quality and ease of use, anybody looking for a Blu-ray player should look no further than this unit.
The PS3 represents one of the best BD players I’ve used to date. It is fast, the image quality is excellent, and it supports more of the BD functions and features than just about any other player. The fact that it does this for nearly half the price of the other BD players out there is almost embarrassing, and rather disappointing when you think about it. As a standard DVD player, however, the PS3 may represent one of the worst progressive scan players I have ever tested. Surprising, considering its BD performance.

From a usability standpoint, the PS3 does quite well. The transport is fast, and I really love all of the information available when you press display (bitrates, video codec, etc.) I highly recommend picking up the PS3 remote if you plan on using the console for movie viewing, because it alleviates a lot of the frustration that can come with using the controller as a remote. The only drawback is that the remote is Bluetooth-based, so you cannot program your HT remote to mimic it. My only other gripe is that the player does not start-up a disc when it is inserted. You have to navigate to the video selection in the main PS3 menu screen and select it.
Starting with starting the player, with a direct connection to the Pearl it consistently takes the BDP-S1 between 35 and 40 seconds to boot up to the player's on-screen menu. This is far better than the Toshiba HD DVD players' near minute, but way longer than PS3's ten seconds. Yes- not only can PS3 power up that fast, if it's powered down you can insert a BD or DVD into the drive and it will have the disc's menu loaded in under ten seconds.
Getting to disc loading times, the BDP-S1 again beats the awful lag times of the Toshiba players, but falls far short of the PS3 or even Samsung's BD-P1000. PS3 as I've said can boot to a 50GB BD's menu in under ten seconds. The Samsung can now load discs as fast as 20 seconds, but no more than 30. The BDP-S1 never loaded a BD faster than 35 seconds and change, and sometimes took just over 40 seconds. Lightning McQueen it ain't.
Before getting off of disc access and usability, the BDP-1 is good, but again slower than the PS3 with chapter skips and moving through the pop-up disc menus that come up with the movie running full motion. There's a moment's hesitation with the standalone player, while the PS3 just flies. Also, scanning back and forth is choppy, and the BDP-S1 pauses the image for a second or two at first, and sometimes pauses to a still during a scan forward or backward.
But what about the BDP-S1's image quality compared with the outstanding PS3, which is also a cut above the Samsung? I tried the BDP-S1 at both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24, and subtly prefer the latter for being a touch sharper and very subtly smoother in motion (and I'll have more on that in a bit). The PS3 held up to the BDP-S1's challenge very, very well. I do believe that the BDP-S1 might be very subtly more detailed and might offer a bit more depth, but after going back and forth umpteen times, these differences remain elusive and perhaps the kind of thing that only a real A/B with two identical 1080p displays could resolve. In many case, differences this subtle are difficult to ferret out, and probably fade to irrelevance on smaller screens. Hell, so far they border on irrelevance on my 80" screen!
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