A look back at our first high-definition disc player test - and the birth of a noble lineage...

What Hi-Fi?'s first high-definition disc player test was published in our October 2007 issue.

Back then, there was a format war between Blu-ray and the (short-lived) HD DVD format, so our test included a mix of products from both camps, including the likes of Pioneer, Panasonic, Toshiba and Sony. There was even an early PS3 in there.

When the dust settled, Sony’s first dedicated UK player, the BDP-S1E, walked away with a glowing five-star rating. It’s a feat the company has managed more regularly since then than just about every other manufacturer. 

The BDP-S1 wasn’t perfect though. Unusually for a Sony it wasn’t great to use, and its specification list, as with all the early Blu-ray players, was far from comprehensive. The likes of HDMI 1.3a, ethernet and the ability to decode DTS HD Master Audio – run of the mill now – were missing. 

Despite these shortcomings, the player set the template for Sony’s future models.

More after the break

It had a highly detailed picture with convincing colour rendition. Its sound was excellent (for a Blu-ray player), having all the precision and agility we’ve come to expect from Sony.

Fast forward to today’s Sony BDP-S5200 and we’re pleased to note it continues the brand’s fine tradition.

This player is much cheaper than the BDP-S1E, of course – £85 versus £700 – so build is notably less luxurious, but it also packs in the kind of network capability and file compatibility the original could only dream about.

Importantly, despite all the differences, this latest machine retains Sony’s performance edge. When it comes to picture and sound quality, few do it better.

MORE: Sony BDP-S5200 review

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