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Yamaha BD-S2900 review

A solid player from Yamaha but cheaper, more accomplished rivals have the performance edge Tested at £685.00

Our Verdict

A solid player from Yamaha but cheaper, more accomplished rivals have the performance edge

For

  • Good picture quality
  • capable sonic delivery

Against

  • Only Profile 1.1
  • can’t decode HD audio formats
  • price can’t match performance

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A solid player from Yamaha but cheaper, more accomplished rivals have the performance edge

Pros

  • + Good picture quality
  • + capable sonic delivery

Cons

  • - Only Profile 1.1
  • - can’t decode HD audio formats
  • - price can’t match performance

Yamaha has punched its way back into the AV mainstream, with a raft of exceptional AV amplifiers.Now, it hopes to repeat that success with the BD-S2900 Blu-ray player.

Initial impressions of this machine are extremely promising, if not quite overwhelming.

The BD-S2900 is undeniably a smart-looking and solidly built Blu-ray player, but it doesn't impress to quite the same degree as the Denons and Pioneers at and around this price point.

Anyone familiar with Panasonic's Blu-ray players will quickly recognise the Yamaha's menu system – it turns out that the 'S2900's transport is a custom-built unit by Panasonic.

The player itself though, is built by Yamaha, and has the company's own video and sound processors. And it is clearly an improvement over Panasonic's own DMP-BD55.

Slot in the Transformers Blu-ray and the Yamaha reveals its premium credentials with a clean and stable picture that's full of vibrant colours and punchy whites.

The early chase scene in the movie also proves that the Yamaha is an excellent handler of motion, making sense of the fast-paced action without any judder or smear.

You can get more for your money
The 'S2900 is undeniably a decent Blu-ray performer, but in comparison to the Pioneer BDP-51FD it gives a little away in terms of outright detail and sharpness – and this is all the more noteworthy when you consider that the Pioneer machine is around £170 cheaper.

However, the Yamaha does do a commendable job with DVD playback, casting a detailed and stable image that's a real match for rivals at this price.

In isolation, the BD-S2900 sounds weighty, dynamic and detailed, in both stereo and surround, but it doesn't quite have the extra layer of subtlety and expressiveness of the class leaders.

Also, if you're looking for onboard HD audio decoding, the Yamaha is a big let-down, with neither Dolby TrueHD nor DTS-HD Master Audio being catered for.

If you're paying this much for a Blu-ray player, then the bottom line is that Blu-ray playback should be better than it is. Cheaper Pioneer machines beat this Yamaha hands down.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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