Sony BDP-S480 review

The first of Sony's 2011 Blu-ray offerings we've seen, the BDP-S480 has evolved from the already good BDP-S470 to create a fine Blu-ray machine Tested at £170

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Our Verdict

The Sony’s just where you’d expect it to be: jostling for top honours

For

  • Extensive spec
  • above-average DVD upscaling and splendid high-def images

Against

  • Rather bland sound
  • can be caught out from time to time in 3D

Sony’s Blu-ray players floated our boat last year thanks to their outstanding performance and cut-throat pricing.

The BDP-S480 is our first taste of its 2011 offerings, and it seems the designers have picked up where they left off.

Slim and slightly bland-looking, with a sawn-off remote control and a badly overworked XrossMediaBar on-screen menu (time for a rethink, we reckon), the Sony still has many a spec highlight.

Its 3D playback, and online and DLNA functionality (wirelessly via a cost-option dongle) are suddenly par for the course, but the ’S480 also has Sony’s Qriocity on-demand service and the ability to play SACDs, too.

This last might not appeal to everyone, but for some it’ll be decisive.

Convincing 3D images
By the standards of its price rivals, the S480 is an accomplished DVD upscaler.

It isn’t immune to picture noise or shimmer, but it keeps these to a minimum and does good work with contrasts and textures.

It’s far better as a Blu-ray player, of course. Up In The Air is lustrously presented, with detail to burn from the darkest scenes to the most glaring whites.

Edges are stable, as is motion, and the ’S480 demonstrates a fine facility with natural skin-tones.

Overwhelmingly good with 3D
Switch to 3D Blu-ray and the news is overwhelmingly good.

The Sony gets tripped up occasionally by rapid motion in the extreme foreground, but images are bright, detailed and convincingly 3D – although the ’S480 must, like its rivals, bow to the Panasonic DMP-BDT110 when it comes to avoiding that diorama/terrace effect.

Online picture quality is acceptable, although something really information-hungry like iPlayer can stutter from time to time (Qriocity, though, seems set fair to become an important USP for Sony).

From any source, sound is detailed and distinct, though by the standards of its best competitors the Sony lacks a bit of dynamism, sounding a trifle inhibited.

The evolution of the BDP-S470 into the ’S480 has gone pretty well, then.

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Specifications

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General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Brand NameSony
Product TypeBlu-ray Disc Player
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberBDPS480B.CEK
Product NameSony BDP-S480
Product ModelBDP-S480

Miscellaneous

Package Contents
  • BDP-S480 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
  • 1 x Remote Control
  • 2 x R6 (AA) Batteries
DLNA CertifiedYes
Energy StarYes
Environmentally FriendlyYes
Environmental CertificationENERGY STAR, WEEE

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
Digital Audio Optical OutYes
USBYes

Audio

Audio FormatsCD-DA, MP3, WMA, SACD, AAC, M4A, WAV
Sound SystemDolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD, DTS

Technical Information

Features1080p Upscaling, BD Live, Bonus View, Screen Saver
3D Type3D
Number of Discs1
Media FormatsBD-RE, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, CD-RW

Network and Communication

EthernetYes

Physical Characteristics

Width43 cm
Depth19.9 cm
Weight Approximate1.70 kg
Height3.6 cm
ColourBlack
Dimensions3.6 cm (H): 43 cm (W): 19.9 cm (D)

Video

Scanning ModesProgressive Scan
Scan Format1080p
Video FormatsBD Video, DVD Video, AVCHD, MPEG-4, DivX HD, WMV, MPEG, TS, MPEG-4 AVC, MKV, MPEG-1, M4V, ASF, MPEG-2, AVI, MTS, M2TS

Warranty

Limited Warranty1 Year