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Sony BDP-S500

Blu-ray Disc™ high-definition player

12 Reviews

Item # 158BDPS500

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Our take on the Sony BDP-S500

Behind its motorized front panel, the Sony BDP-S500 features state-of-the-art technologies for superb picture and sound quality with high-definition Blu-ray Discs. This powerful player can output video in full-HD 1080p resolution and at a film-faithful rate of 24 frames per second. Just connect it to a compatible HDTV, and you'll enjoy smooth images with extraordinary depth and detail.

Behind its motorized front panel, the Sony BDP-S500 features state-of-the-art technologies for superb picture and sound quality with high-definition Blu-ray Discs. This powerful player can output video in full-HD 1080p resolution and at a film-faithful rate of 24 frames per second. Just connect it to a compatible HDTV, and you'll enjoy smooth images with extraordinary depth and detail.

Future-ready color technology
The 'S500 supports new x.v.Color™ technology, which offers the potential for up to 80% more colors than you get with current high-definition programs. In the future, you'll be able to enjoy an even more vibrant, lifelike image with compatible TVs and movie discs.

Blu-ray: a format designed for a better picture
The BDP-S500's top-notch video performance is largely due to the Blu-ray Disc format itself. High-capacity Blu-ray Discs can each hold up to five times as much information as a regular DVD. A Blu-ray player can send this digital information to your TV at a much faster rate than a DVD player. In fact, Blu-ray signals have up to twice the bandwidth of broadcast HD signals. The result is picture quality with flawless clarity and true-to-life texture and depth.

Better sound, too
Blu-ray Discs include cutting-edge audio as well as high-definition video, and the 'S500 gives you a couple of different ways to enjoy these advanced new soundtracks. You can use the analog output to connect the player to any home theater receiver with a multichannel input. Or, if you have a newer receiver with built-in Dolby® Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS®-HD decoding, you can send these soundtracks to your receiver via a single-cable HDMI connection for external processing.

Learn about the ins and outs of HDMI connections at the Crutchfield Learning Center.
Shop our selection of HDMI cables.

Product Highlights:

  • plays Blu-ray high-definition discs (selectable output resolution: 1080p signals available through HDMI output only; 720p/1080i signals available through HDMI or component video)
  • plays DVD-Video, DVD-R & DVD-RW, and DVD+R & DVD+RW
  • plays high-def AVCHD files on home-burned DVDs
  • plays MP3 and JPEG files recorded to DVD
  • plays CDs
  • selectable 720p/1080i/1080p video upconversion for DVD
    (upconverted video available through HDMI output only)
  • built-in audio decoding for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, and multichannnel uncompressed PCM
  • 7.1-channel bitstream audio output via HDMI
  • BD-Java interactive capability
  • BRAVIA Theatre Sync™ for control of compatible Sony TVs and components via HDMI
  • HDMI digital output (combines video and multichannel audio with HDCP copy protection)
  • HDMI version 1.3 with x.v.Color support
  • 1 set of A/V outputs (composite video, S-video, and component video)
  • stereo and 5.1-channel audio outputs
  • coaxial and optical digital audio outputs
  • motorized front panel
  • remote control (multibrand for TVs)
  • 16-15/16"W x 3-15/16"H x 15-15/16"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • viewing high-definition Blu-ray content requires an HDTV or HD-ready TV
  • plays "Region 1" DVDs and "Region A" Blu-ray Discs only

What's in the Box:

  • Single-disc Blu-ray disc player
  • 78" AC power cord
  • RMT-B101A wireless remote control
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 58" Composite video cable (has an RCA connector on each end)
  • 5' Stereo RCA patch cord
  • Owner's Manual
  • On-line product registration information
  • Note about first time start-up
  • Note about BD-Java
  • HDMI connection note
  • Warranty information

Sony BDP-S500 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(12 Reviews)

Sony BDP-S500

mike from colorado springs,co on 2/5/2009

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

its alittle slow on start up. but over all great beginer blue ray



Good machine

Dan from San Jose CA on 1/25/2009

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The machine does what it is supposed to do, namely play DVDs at the best possible quality. My old player decided it was too tired to work anymore, otherwise I would have waited a year or so, as surely prices will come down and features will improve. But, for the money and what is available presently, I am very happy with the player. I would repeat the purchase, had I to do it again.



Sony Blue Ray DVD Player

Michael from Louisville, KY on 10/30/2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The product was simple enough to connect but for the price it should come with a HDMI cord. It does not have the wow factor on my Samsung 40"1080 HDTV as it did on the 60" in the store.




Marcus from Texas on 10/29/2008

I was really pleased at the ability to have the accurate audio conversion, but it is so painfully slow it isn't worth it. The firmware upgrades haven't seemed to fix the problem. Unfortunately, this unit will be relegated to a bedroom and something more responsive will replace it.



slow and updates are a pain

patrick from MI on 9/3/2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

does take a long time to load up, but not sure whether that is unique to this model, sony or what. Got a new disk and it caused the player to crash at a certain point everytime. Trying to download and install firmware update is also a pain. Suggestion I have is to just order the disk from Sony (free) before you need to so you can avoid the pain of trying to download it, burn it yourself. The bluray people/manufacturers are going to HAVE TO make this easier or people are going to return them like crazy.



Sending it back to Sony

ROY from Madison, WI on 9/2/2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I could live with it being slow, the picture and sound more then made up for it. But after six months it didn't want to work. It kept cutting out while watching movies and it would turn itself on at random times. Called Sony, did a firmware update, but same story. It still cuts out randomly during viewing and will not play from menu or resume play. Turned it off last night, woke up this morning and it was on. Not what I expected for this price. Now I have to send it to Sony for repairs. It's not worth it. By the way, I did all the trouble shooting suggested in the owners manuel before I called Sony and followed the suggestions by their representative, they were all just a band-aid fix. I'm out of a BlueRay player for at least two weeks.



Wow it's slow

David from Huntingtown, MD on 7/21/2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I had read reviews that said this thing was slow, but wow is it slow. I pushed the power button and no responce, it sat there. I pushed the button again, then grabbed the remote and pushed the button, it just sat there. Thought I would need to call about a bad unit, when it finally lit up and came on. Good thing I had read it takes time to start. Next time, I pushed the button, and timed it. 15 seconds just to display power on. 55 seconds until it is finished powering on and will let you open the drive. Once it is up and running, it works like you would expect. Wish I would have known ther was a newer model comming out.



Blu-Ray is the way!

Robert from Troy, NY on 2/7/2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I am using this player with a 1080p Panasonic projector. Spend the extra money for the Monster Cable 1000HD HDMI cables to hook this player up to your 1080p receiver or 1080p flat panel, projector, etc. Awesome picture and sound.



Blu-ray - is worth it!

Dan from Milan, TN on 2/4/2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Purchased the Sony BDP-S500 from Crutchfield prior to Christmas and have been amazed by the images and clarity of the sound and images. The up-converting feature is awesome when one is viewing "old" DVDs. Blu-ray discs just pop off the screen and the sound is incredible. The load times have not been a real issue with my unit. I was pleased to find out that you can upgrade the unit's software via a free download from Sony (or Sony can send you a disc ...the process was very user friendly). This affords the option for future software upgrades. I highly recommend this unit if you want the next level of performance with Blu-ray.



Awesome Picture & Sound!

Ray from Olive Branch, MS on 2/2/2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The picture and sound quality is absolutely awesome! I have the player paired with an Onkyo TX-SR605 receiver capable of decoding the Dolby TrueHD sound format and a Boston Acoustics MCS-100 Home Theater speaker system (with two additional satellite speakers to make it a 7.1 setup) and the resulting sound envelope is mind-blowing. Definitely theater-quality sound and picture being output with this unit! As another reviewer stated, be sure to get a compatible HDMI cable that can handle the signals needed for the TrueHD format. I used a Monster brand cable, and theirs state on the front of the packaging which ones are compatible. In checking out the reviews of this player and the model one-step below (BDP-S300) before I made the purchase, I was aware of the slow power-up and movie load times. Even though I prepared myself, and my wife for it, I find myself a bit dismayed that it does take the process a minute or so to complete. But, I suppose it's just a matter of getting used to it and adapting. Now when I hit the power up button I go get my drink and snack and then the player is usually ready, whereas before I would have everything ready and plop down and fire up the DVD player. Not sure if this is a Sony product only issue, but I'm sure I'll eventually forget all about it. So, 4 out of 5 stars only because of my current feelings about the load-up time. You'll definitely enjoy this player!



Let Down

erik from Albany, NY on 1/2/2008

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought this BluRay with the Sony ES STR-4300 ES and the picture and sound are fantastic--when you can actually get it to load. The load time seems excessive for BluRay discs and it is VERY prone to freezing. It will literally stop for minutes on end. I don't know if it is just my player or that the technology is a little ahead of itself but I feel a little let down with the performance of this player--especially for the $700 price tag.



Solid Performance

chad from Clarksville, TN on 11/29/2007

People who purchase this BD Player and have an Onkyo capable of decoding Dolby-True HD and DTS HD will need to get an HDMI 3.1 cable. when I first hooked this up, I almost returned it because it wasn't decoding these formats. After a few calls to Crutchfield and Sony, Sony said to use the HDMI 3.1 cable. I didnt even know there was such a thing as 3.1 cables, I thought they were all just "HDMI" cables. Boy was I amazed after I picked one up (for the same price as the older kind). The sound is amazing and you can hear the difference! The load times are very slow with some blu-ray disks, but so were regular DVD's when they 1st came out. After the movie starts, you forget all about the load time because you're amazed at the sound and picture quality. Hopefully the load times will improve with firmware updates. By the way, sony just posted the 1st firmware update at you will need to burn the update to a DVD-R to get it to work or they will send you one in the mail if you wish. My set-up: Onkyo TSX-SR705 7.1 THX Reciever, Sony BDP-S500 Blu-ray Player, Infinity Primus 360 Front Speakers, Infinity TSS-750 Center, surrounds, and Rear surrounds, 2 Infinity TSS-750 subs, JVC 57" HD TV. Overall I would recomend this Blu-ray player if you have a receiver capable of decoding Dolby True HD. If the receiver doesn't, save yourself some cash and get the BDP-S300.




Hands-on research

Product Research

Remote Control
Input and Output Notes


Blu-ray Disc Overview: Blu-ray Disc (BD) is a new high-definition disc format designed to take advantage of today's high quality HDTVs. The resolution is up to 1920 x 1080 (1080p) and the data transfer rate is up to 54 mbps. Blu-ray Disc discs and players offer several advantages over the standard DVD format:
  • Better picture quality: Blu-ray Disc is a true high-definition format offering video at 720p, 1080i, or 1080p resolution. While standard DVDs look very good on an HDTV, they don't provide a high-definition signal (not even when you use an up-converting DVD player). Blu-ray Disc delivers an extraordinarily sharp, clean, detailed picture, with deeper, richer colors.
  • Better sound quality: In addition to the same multi-channel sound formats you're accustomed to with DVD (Dolby Digital and DTS), Blu-ray Disc offers Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, and uncompressed 7.1 channel PCM.
  • Much greater storage capacity: What makes Blu-ray Disc's superior picture and sound possible is the much higher storage capacity of Blu-ray Disc discs. A single-layer Blu-ray Disc can hold 25 gigabytes of data, over five times the amount a standard DVD can hold. Dual-layer Blu-ray Discs hold 50 gigabytes, which equates to nine hours of High Definition or 23 hours of Standard Definition video, plus high-resolution multi-channel audio and the added features and material that require multiple discs with standard DVD.
  • Compatibility with your current disc collections: To ensure backward-compatibility with your existing library of discs, Blu-ray Disc players use a dual-laser mechanism: a blue laser for playing high-definition Blu-ray Discs, and a conventional red laser for playing DVDs and audio CDs.

Dolby Digital Plus: Dolby Digital Plus was developed as an extension to Dolby Digital. The audio coding technology supports 7.1 channel surround sound. Dolby Digital Plus also includes the standard Dolby Digital bit stream and is compatible with all current Dolby Digital processors using the optical or coaxial digital output.

Dolby TrueHD: Dolby TrueHD is a lossless coding technology that supports up to 8 channels of multi-channel surround sound for the next generation optical discs. The reproduced sound is true to the original source bit-for-bit.

DTS-HD: DTS-HD is an extended format of the Coherent Acoustics audio coding system, which also encompasses DTS, DTS-ES, and DTS 96/24. DTS-HD is highly flexible in supporting the number of discrete surround sound channels. While 7.1ch surround sound is planned for Blu-ray Discs, the audio signals can be down mixed to 5.1 or 2 channels for backward compatibility, and the reproduced audio quality can either be at the bit rate of DTS Digital Surround or the lossless mode.

24p True Cinema: Movies are typically recorded on film with a frame rate of 24 frames per second. When a movie is transferred to Blu-ray Disc at 24 frames per second the BDP-S500 will output that signal to the TV (if the TV will accept the 1080p/24 format) with no need for conversion.

x.v.Color: The BDP-S500 supports x.v.Color, meaning it's ready for x.v.Color discs when they become available in the future.

1080p Output: Through the HDMI output, the BDP-S500 has a 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixel) output option, at either the 60 Hz video or 24 Hz film frame rates.

DVD Upscaling: The BDP-S500 Blu-ray disc player is capable of upscaling your standard 480i DVD disc to 1080p via HDMI.

HDMI Control ('Bravia' Theatre Sync): Sony components compatible with the HDMI Control function can be controlled via the HDMI connection. This includes convenient features like One-Touch Play and System Power-Off.

Disc Compatibility: The BDP-S500 is compatible with many disc types:

  • BD-ROM: pre-recorded Blu-ray Discs
  • DVD-Video: pre-recorded DVD
  • DVD-R: record once DVD
  • DVD-RW: rewritable DVD
  • DVD+R: record once DVD (including DL)
  • DVD+RW: rewritable DVD
  • CD: pre-recorded CD
  • CD-R: record once CD-DA (music CD format only)
  • CD-RW: rewritable CD CD-DA (music CD format only)

Region Code: Like DVD, BD uses region codes. The region code on your disc must match the region code on your player, otherwise the disc will not play. The BDP-S500 is Blu-ray region A and DVD region 1.

Copy Protection: Blu-ray Disc uses the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) to prevent unauthorized recording of copyrighted material.

AVCHD: AVCHD (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) is a high definition digital video camera format used to record in high definition or standard definition on DVD, using an efficient data compression coding technology. The  format is designed to compress video and audio (Dolby Digital or Linear PCM) data, enabling a high definition video signal shot on a digital video camera recorder to be recorded on DVD discs, in the same way as it would be for a standard definition signal.

Blu-ray Disc Java (BD-J): The BD-ROM format supports Java for interactive functions. BD-J offers content providers almost unlimited functionality when creating interactive BD-ROM titles. Note: In order to enjoy these interactive features, you may need to update your player with the latest firmware.

MP3 Playback: This unit will play MP3 audio files recorded onto DVD-R/W or DVD+R/RW discs (not CD-R or CD-RW). You can program up to 25 songs in any order you like as a Quicklist. The on screen keyboard allows you to search for a track, genre, artist, or album directly. Artist and title information is displayed on screen and you can list all songs (sorted alphabetically, by date, by artist, or by song title) or sort all artists, albums, genres, Quicklists (playlist), or folders.

JPEG Playback: This unit will play JPEG still picture files recorded onto DVD-R/RW or DVD+R/RW discs (not CD-R or CD-RW). Like with MP3 playback, you can program a Quicklist of up to 25 files to run as a slideshow. You can also run a slideshow of all files on the disc. You can search for a file directly using the on screen keyboard. You can list all files at once, or browse by folder, date, or Quicklist (slideshow).

Movie Files: The BDP-S500 can play MPEG2 PS movie files recorded on DVD-R or DVD-RW discs (not CD-R or CD-RW). Movie title information is displayed on screen. You can search for a title directly using the on screen keyboard or sort titles alphabetically or by date. You can also use the unit's Browse Menu which allows you to browse contents of your disc by Genre, Folder or Quicklist. Quicklist allows you to play your favorite titles in the order you like by making your own movie title playlist.

Resume Play: Resume play allows you to resume playback of a disc from the point where you last stopped. The stopping point is cleared when the Stop button is pressed more than once, the disc tray is opened, the player is turned off, or any of the settings on the player are changed.

"Cinema Tuned" Picture Settings: There are three picture presets and three memory positions so you can adjust the picture to your liking:

  • Brighter Room: use when the room is brighter than normal
  • Theater Room: use when the room is dark
  • Standard: use in a typical room
  • Memory (1-3):manually adjust the brightness of white, the richness of dark colors, the balance between green and red, and the level of color saturation

Screen Setup: The BDP-S500 offers the following video screen adjustments.

  • TV Type: You can select either a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio according to your TV.
  • 4:3 Video Out: You can select the unit to display a 4:3 video on a 16:9 television in Full Mode (displays a 4:3 screen picture in 16:9 aspect ratio) or Normal Mode (displays a 4:3 screen picture in 4:3 aspect ratio with black bands on the sides)
  • DVD Aspect Ratio: You can select the unit to display a 16:9 video on a 4:3 television in Letter Box Mode (displays a wide picture with black bands on the top and bottom) or Pan&Scan Mode (displays a full height picture on the entire screen with trimmed sides)

Surround Sound Decoders: The BDP-S500 has built-in Dolby Digital and DTS surround processors. The analog 5.1 channel signals are output through the RCA jacks. Multi-channel PCM Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD are also output through the HDMI jack (when encoded on the Blu-ray Disc).

Speaker Setup: When using the unit's 5.1 channel outputs and the player's integrated built-in surround sound decoders you can select whether or not you are using a center speaker or surround speakers in your home theater system and whether the front speakers of your system should be set to "large" or "small".

Audio DRC: The unit's utilizes Audio DRC (Dynamic Range Compression) to clarify low volume sounds. Even at low volume, you can make low sound such as dialog more audible.

Motorized Front-Panel: The BDP-S500 features a motorized sliding front-panel which hides the unit's front-panel controls and disc mechanism for a sleek, clean look.

Fan Cooled: A fan on the back of the BDP-S500 keeps the unit cool.

Parental Control: By setting a custom user password and using the player's 1 through 8 level Parental Control, you can limit the playback of inappropriate discs.

Screen Saver: To prevent damage to your television, a screen save image appears when the player is left unattended, has no disc inserted, or no title/slideshow is displayed for 15 minutes.

Auto Power Off: With the auto power off feature turned on the player turns off automatically is left in stop or pause mode for 30 minutes.

Remote Control

Multi-brand Remote: The supplied remote is pre-programmed to operate this unit and a number of functions on multiple brand TVs. Once programmed, the remote controls the TV's power on/off, input select, volume up/down, channel up/down, and mute.

Input and Output Notes

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface): The BDP-S500's HDMI output simplifies A/V connections by carrying video and digital audio in one cable. This unit features HDCP copyright protection technology, and must be connected to an HDCP-compliant device. If your TV has a DVI input instead of an HDMI input, you can connect this unit to your TV using an HDMI-to-DVI adapter. You will also need to connect audio cables to the player because DVI is a video only cable. The HDMI resolution can be fixed at 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, or 1080p, or set to Auto, which selects the highest resolution accepted by your television. The video format can be set to Y,CB,CR, or RGB (16-235), or RGB (0-255).

Component Video: The component video resolution can be set to 480i, 480p, 720p, or 1080i. If the HDMI output is set to 1080p, the component video output is fixed at 480p. When a standard DVD is played, the maximum component video output resolution is 480p.

Composite Video and S-Video: The composite and S-video outputs are always live and fixed at 480i. They can output video when playing a Blu-ray Disc.

Digital Audio Output: The Audio menu allows you to select the digital audio format that is passed through the optical and coaxial outputs. Settings allow you to transfer Dolby Digital or DTS sound tracks, or down-mix surround bitstreams to 2-channel PCM audio.

Analog Audio: There is a pair of stereo RCA outputs plus 5.1 channel outputs for utilizing the built-in surround decoders.

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