At CES, Sony announced plans to release five new Blu-ray models, three of which are now available: the BDP-S380 ($150), BDP-S480 ($180), and BDP-S580 ($200). We have not performed a hands-on review of the BDP-S580, but here is an overview of its features. The BDP-S580 is a 3D-capable player that also supports SACD playback. It has integrated WiFi for connection to a broadband network, which allows for access to Blu-ray BD-Live content and the BRAVIA Internet Video platform. Sony’s Web platform includes Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, YouTube, Picasa, and Sony’s own Qriocity VOD service–plus a very limited Web browser (it doesn’t support flash and has other restrictions). The Entertainment Database Browser uses Gracenote technology to provide actor and production information. The BDP-S580 can also receive streamed content from a DLNA server, and it’s compatible with Sony’s HomeShare network speakers–the Party Streaming function lets you wirelessly stream audio to remote zones. The BDP-S580 supports the Media Remote App, which lets iPhone, iPod touch, and Android phone users control the player via their mobile device. This model lacks the 2D-to-3D conversion and Skype capability that will be offered in the not-yet-released BDP-S780 ($250).
In terms of video connections, the BDP-S580 offers a single HDMI output, as well as component and composite video outputs. (The component video output is SD-only; beginning this year, manufacturers are no longer allowed to include HD-capable component video outputs, due to copy-protection restrictions.) This player supports both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI. Picture adjustments include the ability to choose between preset picture modes and engage three types of noise reduction; Sony has also added IP noise reduction to specifically address the quality of Internet video sources. As for 3D adjustments, you can designate the size of your TV so that the player can tailor 3D graphics appropriately, and you can adjust the depth of the 3D image to suit your preference.
Audio outputs include HDMI, coaxial digital (no optical), and stereo analog. The BDP-S580 has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in 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 BDP-S580 supports playback of BD, DVD-Video, SACD, CD audio, AVCHD, MKV, WMV, WMA, AAC, MP3, GIF, PNG, and JPEG. You can add the player to your network using either the back-panel Ethernet port or the internal 802.11n wireless module. The BDP-S580 lacks internal memory to store BD-Live content; a back-panel USB port is provided for this purpose. A second, front-panel USB port supports media playback. The player lacks RS-232 or IR ports for integration into an advanced control system.
Read about the high points and the low points of the BDP-S580 on Page 2.