Home Theater Review


Sony BDP-S560 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

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Sony's BDP-S560 ($349.99) is a step-up model from the entry-level BDP-S360 ($299.99) released earlier this year. We have not performed a hands-on review of the BDP-S560, but here is an overview of the player's features. This Profile 2.0 player supports BonusView/picture-in-picture playback and BD-Live Web functionality, and it offers both onboard decoding and bitstream output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It adds built-in 802.11n for a wireless network connection, as well as the ability to stream photos from a DLNA-compliant device--neither of which is available in the BDP-S360. This player does not support any type of video-on-demand streaming or download service, such as those offered by Netflix, Amazon, and CinemaNow.

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In terms of video connections, the BDP-S560 offers HDMI, component video, S-video, and composite video outputs. This player supports both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI. Picture adjustments include the ability to choose between three preset picture modes (standard, brighter room, and theater room) and engage three types of noise reduction.

Audio outputs include HDMI, optical and coaxial digital, and 2-channel analog. As I mentioned, the BDP-S560 has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. The player lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so the only way to pass decoded high-resolution audio formats is via HDMI. Audio adjustments include A/V lip sync and an audio filter (sharp or slow) for analog signals.

The BDP-S560's disc drive supports BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, MP3, and JPEG playback. You can add the player to your home network using either the back-panel Ethernet port or the internal 802.11n wireless module. The BDP-S560 lacks internal memory, so the addition of an external storage device is required to download BD-Live features; a back-panel USB port is provided for this purpose. A second, front-panel USB port supports photo playback, but not digital music or movie playback. The player lacks advanced control ports, such as RS-232 or IR.

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