NAD T 557 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

NAD T 557 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

At $599, the new T 557 is NAD's least expensive Blu-ray player to date. This Profile 2.0 player offers the core Blu-ray features but lacks some step-up options, such as streaming video-on-demand, WiFi-readiness, and multichannel analog audio outputs.

The T 557 is NAD's third Blu-ray player. With an MSRP of $599, it's currently the least expensive model in NAD's lineup, costing about $400 less than the step-up T 577. We have not performed a hands-on review of the T 557, but here is an overview of the player's features. This Profile 2.0 Blu-ray 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 soundtracks. The T 557 does not support any type of video-on-demand streaming or download service, such as those offered by Netflix, Amazon, and CinemaNow.

Read more high performance Blu-ray player reviews from the likes of Oppo Digital, Sony, Sony ES, Yamaha, Integra, Onkyo, Denon and many others.

In terms of video connections, the T 557 offers HDMI, component video, and composite video outputs (no S-video). This player supports both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI. The menu includes a number of picture adjustments: contrast, brightness, sharpness, saturation, black level, block and mosquito noise reduction, dynamic contrast, and adjustment of all six color points. Audio outputs include HDMI, optical and coaxial digital, and stereo analog. As I mentioned, the T 557 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.

The T 557's disc drive supports the following formats: BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, Divx, MP3, WMA, and JPEG. The back panel features an Ethernet port for BD-Live Web features; the player doesn't include a wireless network connection option. The T 557 lacks internal memory, so the addition of an external storage device is required to download BD-Live features; a front-panel USB port is provided for this purpose. This port also supports playback of Divx, JPEG, PNG, MP3, and WMA files. Finally, the T 557 offers an IR input for more advanced control.

The step-up T 577 Blu-ray player adds 7.1-channel analog audio outputs, WiFi connectivity, and onboard memory.

Read about the high points and the low points of the NAD T 557 on Page 2.

High Points
• The T 557 supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs. 
• The player has internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and can pass these formats in bitstream form over HDMI. 
• It supports BD-Live Web content and can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
• This player offers a lot of picture adjustments, which can be helpful if it's mated with a TV that is lacking in this area.
• The USB port allows for easy playback of digital movies, music, and photos. 
• An IR input is available.
• NAD products generally have good build quality.

Low Points
• The T 557 lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so it's not the best choice for someone who owns an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver.
• This player does not support any type of video-on-demand or music streaming, nor does it feature a wireless option for connection to your home network.
• The player lacks internal memory, so you must provide your own USB drive for storage of downloadable BD-Live content.

Conclusion
The T 557 has the Blu-ray essentials--like BD-Live support, 1080p/24 output, and high-resolution audio decoding--but it is admittedly pricier than some models that add multichannel analog audio outputs, video-on-demand, and wireless network connectivity. The company is perhaps best known for its receivers and preamp/amp combos, and the T 557 is a logical fit for someone who's looking for a Blu-ray player to mate with their newer, HDMI-equipped NAD electronics.

Read more high performance Blu-ray player reviews from the likes of Oppo Digital, Sony, Sony ES, Yamaha, Integra, Onkyo, Denon and many others.

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