If you haven’t yet made the move to Blu-ray, then this Sony might be just the ticket to get you riding on the “Blu” line. It’s got the 3D Blu-ray playback capability that, assuming Hollywood gets their act in gear soon and starts cranking out 3D Blu-ray discs, will be appealing to those who routinely choose to watch 3D versions of movies in theaters.
The player also has a rather extensive feature set, given its very affordable price (listing at $200 at time of launch this past summer and now carrying a tag of $170 (that’s from Sony’s online retail sales division, and is considered to be the gauge of current suggested retail).
Consider this Blu-ray player if: You’re going to go the 3D route and get a 3D HDTV, as the new Blu-ray 3D discs won’t play in older players.
Look further if: You’d like a player with Wi-Fi functionality built-in—consider instead the step-up BDP-S570 model, which has that feature and costs $50.00 more.
For a sub-$200 Blu-ray player, the BDP-S470 is quite well equipped. The main feature is of course the 3D playback capability, but the player also has almost, but not quite the full suite of Sony’s Bravia Internet video apps and services, which they provide in their latest web-connected TVs (such as the XBR-46HX909 we tested with this player).
Compared to some makers, who partner up with just one major streaming video supplier or perhaps even two, Sony offers four, including Netflix, Amazon, their own new service Qriosity, and shortly (this fall) Hulu Plus, which plans to stream current and older TV shows from ABC, Fox and NBC, charging a flat rate of $10.00 a month.
Like Netflix and Amazon, who stream both TV and movie fare on a subscription pay-per-view basis, Sony’s recently launched Qriosity (yes, another odd name from them, but it is distinctive) service is up and running with a growing library of movie titles, many offered for rental in both SD and HD versions. Running the player on my bog standard Linksys-based network was an easy plug and play effort, and soon I was running through a number of Qriosity preview clips, which looked nice and sharp on the Sony 3D TV.
There are 30 or so additional video channels, covering niche programming as well as the ubiquitous YouTube and Yahoo! channels, and some additional Sony Music and Movie content mixed in there. The Pandora Internet radio service will appeal to music buffs tired of Top 40 radio, and the only thing missing from the player’s roster of apps was the Picassa picture feature that the 3D TV offers. But, the player will accept pictures and videos from portable media components, as well as jump drives and the like.
Music buffs will be pleased to note that the player will handle SACD, the better-than-CD-quality, high resolution audiophile format co-developed by Sony (who are pretty much the main cheerleader for that format still).
No surprises here: the BDP-S470 of course features Sony’s Xross Media Bar interface, which is absolutely one of the best, and has the same look and feel that you’d experience from their TVs and PlayStation consoles. It’s also pretty zippy in terms of responsiveness, compared to some other devices that offer similar functionality I’ve played with recently, and was just as quick as when I operated the same functions on the Sony 3D TV.
The remote is about two-thirds the size of Sony’s full size TV remotes, and has the same overall (mostly good) design, keeping the Home button in the same place as with their other remotes—namely, directly under the cursor keypad—and with the Menu and Return keys likewise in their similar places surrounding the cursor keypad. One feature I wish was on all Blu-ray players is the distinctive Display function this Sony provides, which gives detailed info on-screen about the audio and video streams, including bitrates.
At this point, with everything going HDMI (and new Blu-ray player models introduced from next January will not be allowed to have HD component video outputs anymore), it’s no surprise that the player produced a thoroughly good picture via the HDMI connection. It did exactly what it was supposed to do with the two 3D Blu-ray discs on hand here, and was entirely happy playing some audiophile SACD discs, a capability I wasn’t expecting in a popular-priced player.