A Review Of The Sony BDP-S6500 4K Upscaling Blu Ray Player
Sony has finally released the BDP-S6500, its brand spanking new Blu-ray player which boasts a significant improvement from its predecessor and comes with heaps of new features (some more useful than others). At a slightly elevated price in comparison to previous versions, you can thankfully expect more for the increased price. The player comes with an impressive array of built in apps including Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Facebook, PlayStationNow, and YouTube, an incredibly fast Wi-Fi connection that really shines when you are streaming high definition content, and a Dual Core Processor which makes for a superfast and efficient operating system.
So what’s not so great? Well, you might be let down by the more basic, and frankly uninspiring look and design this time around. Rather than emulating the much-popular shape of the BDP-S6200, Sony have opted for slicker and flatter contouring. This does, however, make for more stackable storage, but at the cost of a trendy-looking device. With its plastic outer casing and little to nothing going on at the front, it’s left looking, for lack of a better word, a little…cheap. Yet it couldn’t be farther from it, and you may begrudge handing over your money if what you’re after is a lot of catch-up apps. Considering UK TV has a large market right now, Sony is leaving out some core apps like 4OD and ITV Player.
This little black box of magic has plenty to write home about, starting with its incredible picture quality. This is undeniably the player’s best attribute – and what they’re emphasising the most in their marketing materials. With sharp edges and crisp hues, it really is like being at the movies, or even in them. The TRILUMINOS colour palette adds significant amounts of depth and definition to almost anything you watch. The vibrancy and range of colour is really quite something.
Despite some obvious drawbacks, its neatness is also a plus. The admittedly less eye-catching design does make for an easier integration into your TV stand area. So, if you’re looking for something slim and compact this Blu-ray player is unobtrusive and easy to fit in almost any space. Previous devices may have been easier on the eye, but had the downside of being annoying to stack in amongst other devices and media.
Not only can the BDP-S6500 flawlessly play 3D Blu-ray movies, but with 4K upscaling, can enhance other content to UHD resolution (assuming you have a 4K TV like the most popular JS8500). Additionally, some 2D discs can be enhanced to near-3D quality.
Now let’s talk apps. Netflix is just one of many apps the player boasts, along with Amazon Instant Video, BBC iPlayer, BBC News, BBC Sport, YouTube, Facebook, Demand 5, and even PlayStationNow Video. That’s right, PlayStationNow. For all those gamers out there, if your console is looking a little less than new, you can now play your favourite games directly through the player. You can either use as a completely new player, or connect to your account and start from where you left off.
Fast Wi-Fi is welcomed with open arms thanks to Sony’s multi-antennae design as well as the front position of key chip modules to enable the strongest signal strength strength possible. These are the things you can’t see when looking at the player, but that make a huge difference in the performance of the player. So no more jiddery pictures and buffering during your favorite program. Streaming from YouTube or elsewhere online, you can finally watch online video with the same level of consistency and clarity as standard TV.
The players Dual Core processor allows fast operating and boot speeds which really are in a league of their own. The BDP-S6500 boots up in a break-neck 1 second flat, yes you read that correctly. Sony calls this “super quick start” and we can safely say that’s pretty damn accurate.
Lastly, the player has an impressive range of playable formats if you want to stream music, videos, or photos from a PC or USB, as well as Miracast to view videos and games from your phone straight onto your TV. Just plug the device into the player, and you have full screen viewing pleasure for some of your personal photos and videos.
4.3 - 194 Reviews
Having just praised the simplistic and neat design, it’s worth noting that not everybody will be as impressed with it. Compared to previous years’ design, the BDP-S6500 may appear a little dull and lackluster. Despite its small and convenient stackable shape, Sony could have done a little more with the aesthetics. Its plastic cover gives it a rather cheap look, and there are no silver trimmings or something similar to offset this. With a solitary LED light on the front, and not so much as a display screen, some customers may feel a little uninformed. Couldn’t it at least have a clock display?
Although it has internet apps aplenty, UK viewers or those that enjoy British TV may feel let down by some of the noted absences. ITV and 4OD are very popular catch-up channels throughout the world, but Sony doesn’t seem to think so, or possibly doesn’t care enough. If these are basic requirements for your total viewing pleasure, the BDP-S6500 probably loses a lot of points on this shortcoming.
Finally, some people may find that the Miracast feature doesn’t work at all that well with their phone, depending on the make and model. This seems a little annoying, especially as Sony doesn’t make any mention of this. If these drawbacks really put you off, then the higher-than-normal price is probably yet another downside to the product.
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D)
Picture And Audio
SUPER SCALER (PRECISION CINEMAHD UPSCALE): Yes
DEEP COLOR: Yes (16bit)
24P TRUE CINEMA: Yes
DVD 24P OUTPUT: Yes
COAXIAL, OPTICAL: Yes
INPUT AND OUTPUT TERMINALS
HDMI Output 1 (Rear), Coaxial Audio Output 1 (Rear), USB Input 1 (Front), Ethernet Connection 1 (Rear)
Wi-Fi: The excellent strength of the Wi-Fi has definitely got to be one of the highlights of Sony’s new device. When you are streaming content from the internet there is nothing more irritating than seeing that buffering symbol, with the BDP-S6500 unique WiFi configuration that is finally a thing of the past, assuming you have a half decent internet connection to begin with.
Operating and startup speed: The Dual Core processor in the BDP-S6500 really makes a big difference. This player zips through menus flawless and we noticed no freezing or other glitches that are often common with cheaper Blu-ray players. Further, the start up speed of this thing is phenomenal. It starts up in under a second. Yes, you read that correctly.
Visual Quality: With a compatible TV, the BDP-S6500 can really shine. TRILUMINOS colour offers deep and rich hues. This feature enhances any viewing, but in particular close-ups in movies are stunning in capturing what Sony calls its ‘real-life clarity’, and watching any nature documentary with landscape shots brings out TRILUMINOS’s capacity at its peak. Add this to a 3D Blu-ray movie, and it really is like being at the cinemas, making those characters ‘jump out’ that little bit more.
4.3 - 194 Reviews
4K Upscaling Ability: The 4K upscaling is possibly one of the best visual attributes the BDP-S6500 has. Again, with a compatible TV, the device will search and provide the most high-definition picture available in whatever you’re watching. This is especially impressive when streaming online content; playback begins as normal with a slightly fuzzy picture gradually sharpening up in less than a minute, the improvement is often dramatic, and stunning. Very similar to the Samsung BD-7500.
3D Performance: The 2D to 3D – or simulated 3D – conversion is the least impressive in the visuals. Those without a keen eye for visual technologies might not notice a difference at all. More depth and detail are added, making it undoubtedly better, but if your disc isn’t 3D…it won’t ever be 3D.
HDMI Output 1 (Rear),
Coaxial Audio Output 1 (Rear),
USB Input 1 (Front),
Ethernet Connection 1 (Rear)
The Sony BDPS6500 is currently retailing on Amazon for $98.00. Regular price of $179.99 so get it now!
4.3 - 194 Reviews
4K Ultra HD upscaling
Immersive viewing with 3D capability
Stream online content fast via built-in super Wi-Fi
Control TV right from your smartphone with TV SideView
Dual Core Processor for faster operation
Uninspiring, bland design
Lack of TV apps
Issues with Mimecast mirroring compatibility