Yamaha BD-S2900 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Yamaha BD-S2900 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Yamaha's first Blu-ray player is a real head-scratcher. This Profile 1.1 player lacks BD-Live support, internal high-resolution audio decoders, and multichannel analog audio outputs. Yes, some other new players omit these features, but they don't have the BD-S2900's $1,199 price tag.

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The BD-S2900 is Yamaha's first entry into the Blu-ray marketplace; interestingly, while many big-name manufacturers are scrambling to cut prices in the Blu-ray realm, Yamaha has chosen a $1,199 price point for the BD-S2900, landing it squarely in the high-end category. This is a Profile 1.1/BonusView Blu-ray player, which means it contains the secondary audio and video decoders needed for picture-in-picture playback. However, it does not offer the BD-Live Web functionality you get when you move up to Profile 2.0.

Additional Resources
• Read more Blu-ray player reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find an LCD HDTV or plasma HDTV to pair with the BD-S2900.

We have not performed a hands-on review of the BD-S2900, but here is an overview of the player's features. On the video side, the back panel features HDMI, component video, S-video, and composite video outputs. For HDMI, the output-resolution options are Auto, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, and 1080p/24. The setup menu includes an option to enable 1080p/24 output if your TV accepts this signal type; once you enable the feature, the player will always output 1080p/24 when it is available on Blu-ray discs. For component video, output-resolution options are 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i. The setup menu offers a nice set of picture adjustments, including four preset picture modes and a user mode in which you can adjust contrast, brightness, sharpness, color, gamma, and 3D/integrated noise reduction.

Given the player's higher price point and the current Blu-ray landscape, Yamaha has made some questionable decisions on the audio side. Audio connections include HDMI, coaxial and optical digital audio, and 2- and 5.1-channel analog audio outputs. Most companies that choose to include multichannel analog outputs now go with 7.1 channels, not 5.1. Of course, this point is somewhat moot because the player lacks internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoders anyhow. It will pass these high-resolution formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. It can also pass 7.1-channel PCM audio over HDMI, and the setup menu includes size, level, and delay adjustments for a 7.1-channel configuration.

The BD-S2900 supports BD, DVD, CD audio, MP3, JPEG, and AVCHD playback through its disc drive, and it has an SD card slot that supports the JPEG and AVCHD formats. As we mentioned, this is not a Profile 2.0 player, so it does not have an Ethernet port to access BD-Live Web features or perform quick firmware updates. The BD-S2900 does offer RS-232 and IR in/out ports for integration into an advanced control system.

Read about the high points and the low points of the BD-S2900 on Page 2.

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High Points
• The BD-S2900 supports
1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.
• It passes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio in bitstream form over HDMI, so it's best mated with a receiver that has its own high-resolution audio decoders.
• It can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
• The SD card slot allows for easy playback of digital photos and movies. 
• RS-232 and IR in/out ports allow for integration into an advanced control system.

Low Points
• The BD-S2900 is not Profile 2.0 and lacks an Ethernet port.
• It lacks internal high-resolution audio decoders, and it only offers 5.1-channel analog audio outputs; so, it's got a good choice for someone who owns an older A/V receiver.

Conclusion
We're really not sure how Yamaha can justify the $1,199 MSRP for a player that does not offer internal high-resolution audio decoding, 7.1-channel analog audio outputs, or Profile 2.0 support. Needless to say, you can get a lot more functionality for a lot less money if you look elsewhere. Even if you choose to stay in the high-end realm, several other manufacturers offer more complete audio packages than you get with the BD-S2900.

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