You can always rely on Sony to make you feel good about buying its products. Take this DVP-NS78, for instance; it may go for 70 quid, but it doesn't appear to be built down to that price.
The good-looking unit feels substantial, as does the remote control, and the on-screen menus are both comprehensive and simple to navigate. As for the disc tray, it slides in and out both stably and silently. Sony deserves credit for understanding the importance of this sort of thing better than most of its opposition.
Naturally, the DVP-NS78 is competitively specified, despite its bargain-basement price. It's able to upscale DVDs to 1080p and, doing just that with our copy of the sweet-natured Brit flick Son of Rambow, it delivers pictures that are strong on colour but a little weak on detail.
Natural, lifelike coloursImages are high-contrast and vivid, the Sony taking every opportunity to show off its knack of presenting the most lurid colours in a natural, lifelike way. The skin tones on display are especially convincing, with impressive levels of detail.
Edge definition is strong too, and the Sony player tracks motion with a great deal of assurance – although not quite with the unshakeable grip of the Onkyo DV-SP406, reviewed in the same group test.
More after the break
Black tones achieve decent depth and lustre, but this is at the expense of a little detail – the occasional dark scene can be rather tricky to follow.
And the Sony's not immune to picture noise, either. Intricate patterns can shimmer and wriggle, and there's noticeable mosquito noise in the film's testing ‘open sky' scenes.
Sonically poised performerWhere movie sound is concerned, the Sony is the best player against it budget rivals. It doesn't have the outright volume of some, but it's certainly got the detail and the poise – and it can boast additional weight and solidity.