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Sony BDP-S1

Blu-ray Disc™ high-definition player

11 Reviews

Item # 158BLURAY

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Our take on the Sony BDP-S1

Blu-ray Disc is a new high-definition video format that offers amazing home entertainment possibilities. When the DVD format launched in 1997, Sony's first player was a high-end model that quickly set the benchmark for picture and sound quality. History repeats itself with Sony's first Blu-ray player, the BDP-S1. For videophiles eager to feed their HDTVs the highest-quality video source available, this is as good as it gets.

Blu-ray Disc is a new high-definition video format that offers amazing home entertainment possibilities. When the DVD format launched in 1997, Sony's first player was a high-end model that quickly set the benchmark for picture and sound quality. History repeats itself with Sony's first Blu-ray player, the BDP-S1. For videophiles eager to feed their HDTVs the highest-quality video source available, this is as good as it gets.

The BDP-S1 is one of the first video players of any type to provide true 1080p output — 1920 x 1080 pixels progressive scan, the highest HD signal output currently available. TV makers are shifting to 1080p resolution for their top-performing flat-panel and projection TVs, and this Blu-ray player is a pixel-perfect match. Even if your HD-capable TV is a few years old and lacks a digital HDMI connection, don't worry, you can still experience Blu-ray. High-definition signals up to 1080i are available through the player's component video output.

The key to the BDP-S1's top-notch video performance is the Blu-ray Disc. This new high-capacity format can hold up to five times as much information as a regular DVD. A Blu-ray player can send this digital info to your TV at a much faster rate than a DVD player. The result is picture quality with flawless clarity and true-to-life texture and depth. Sound quality is improved, too. In addition to 5.1-channel Dolby® Digital and DTS® surround mixes like those found on DVDs, Blu-ray movies will also include a full CD-quality multichannel mix.

The BDP-S1 also plays standard DVDs, and will breathe new life into your entire DVD collection by upscaling the video to 1080p (or 720p or 1080i — you can choose the resolution that best suits your TV). The new Java-based interactive menu system further enhances the Blu-ray entertainment experience. For example, you'll be able to check out extras like commentaries and interviews without stopping the movie first. In so many ways, Blu-ray is a new chapter in home theater.

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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 and DVD-R & DVD-RW
  • plays high-def AVCHD files recorded to DVD
  • does not play any type of audio CD
  • selectable 720p/1080i/1080p video upconversion for DVD
    (upconverted video available through HDMI output only)
  • built-in audio decoding for Dolby Digital and DTS, plus multichannnel uncompressed PCM
  • BD-Java interactive capability
  • HDMI version 1.1 digital output (combines video and multichannel audio with HDCP copy protection)
  • 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
  • remote control (multibrand for TVs)
  • multichannel 192kHz/24-bit audio D/A converters
  • 17"W x 4-1/8"H x 16-1/8"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

Just purchased the Sony Blu-ray disc player to compliment our new 60" Sony HDTV and it is far better than we expected,it even plays non-blu-ray DVD's and also improves the picture quality! We just love it, the picture quality of the Blu-ray is outstanding!Highly recommended.

Casey, Bridger Valley Wyoming

What's in the Box:

  • Single-disc Blu-ray disc player
  • 75" AC power cord
  • RMT-B100A wireless remote control
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 58" Composite video cable (has an RCA connector on each end)
  • 59" Stereo RCA patch cord
  • Owner's Manual
  • On-line product registration information
  • Free planned upgrade information
  • Note about first time start-up
  • Note about BD-Java
  • Blu-ray experience pamphlet
  • Rebate coupons for specific Blu-ray software
  • Warranty information

Sony BDP-S1 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(11 Reviews)

SONY does it again!

Mark from Riverview, FL on 3/1/2007

Sony just keeps on improving the home entertainment experience. I bought the Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray player to go with my new Sony KDL-52XBR3 and the only thing I can say is "Incredible", just when you think that TV and the home theater experience can't get any better, along comes Sony with Blu-ray technology. It does take a little longer to load the disc but it's not too long and one final note, who cares that it doesn't play music CD's, thats what your CD player/changer is for.



Excellent Audio and Picture Quality

Lisa from NYC on 1/20/2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The Sony has excellent video quality on BD discs and can send 1080p/24 to my Pioneer 5070 plasma. At first, I was comparing it to a high definition show on Discovery HD, which is an unfair comparison. The picture on the Sony is crisp and detailed but not quite as good as Discovery HD. It is however better than a standard dvd. The sound quality is terrific. The machine moves slowly for open/close and remote commands but I guess this is standard for blu-ray players now. I have had the unit freeze on 2 BD discs, which may have been because they were rentals. The lack of HDMI 1.3 is a minus but it is after all a first generation player. If you are going to jump into blu-ray and don't want to spend more $ for a Pioneer, this is an excellent choice.



Missing important features

Michael from Tucson on 1/19/2007

While this player does and will give you a beautiful HD picture, it is missing some important features. First and most important of the missing is it will NOT decode and output any of the advanced sound formats like Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, dts-HD, and any 7.1 format. It will only output the basic DD and dts bitstreams. Curiously, the PS3 will decode DD Plus as well as 7.1. Second, it has NO Ethernet connection. Since the Java Live interface has the future ability to download movie extras, updates, etc. This player will be left out, with no ability to connect and use that feature. Considering part of the HD spec includes HD sound, I cannot at this price point, recommend this player since it only does half the spec.<BR>



Superior Blu-Ray from Sony

Scott from Cincinnati, OH on 1/17/2007

I have always been impressed with Sony's first generation players when a new media format is released. This has been true with CD, SACD, MiniDisc, and now Blu Ray. Their players are overbuilt and overengineered. The best part is that they are priced very very well for the quality. That said, I have been very impressed with the BDP-S1. The video and audio performance are fantastic, particularly with MPEG-4 encoded discs. It's never a good thing to have a format war, but Blu Ray is superior in so many ways to HD-DVD that I'm betting big on it. I hope it pays off. The only drawback I can think of to this player is lack of HDMI 1.3 support (it supports HDMI 1.1). But, when you look at how many compatible HDMI 1.3 components (receivers, TVs, video switchers) there are out there, it's really a non-issue. When you purchase equipment on the leading edge, you assume, naturally, that there will be continual evolutions in the technology combined with price drops. It's the only way this format will succeed in the long run. I'd recommended unflinchingly. It's built like a tank.



Sony Blu Ray Player

Craig from Austin Texas on 12/26/2006

I purchased this player approx 1 month ago and have had nothing but pure pleasure. The quality of Blu Ray discs are incredible and it can only get better with additional titles available in the future. Sony has done a great job in creating this format and hopefully will emerge as the clear winner in a couple of years from now. This player is worth the money given the newness of the technology and the limited players available. My previous units were the Denon DVD 5900, Pioneer Elite DV 47a and the Toshiba 9200. These were all reference players and the Sony easily fits into this category. If you are concerned that the player doesn't play CD;s, then maybe you shouldn't be looking to upgrade your current DVD player. All said this a great player!



Simply Amazing!

Wes from Staunton, VA on 12/24/2006

The Sony blueray player is worth every penny, all you have to do is go to crutchfield and you'll see for yourself. I read tons of reviews about blueray players before I purchased one and the main complaints came from people without full 1080p televisions. Let me set the record straight that blueray is for real and not just nice in specs on paper. The image quality and sound from blueray movies played at 1080p are unreal and simply BEAUTIFUL! And the best part is that netflix and blockbuster online carry blueray movies that you can rent for the same price as regular dvds. The load time for a movie is not much slower than a regular DVD player, and who cares if it takes 15 seconds to load anyway. You watch a movie to relax, not to see how fast you can get the experience over with. <BR><BR>In my opinon sony has made another great product here. You'll love watching your regular DVD collection in full 1080p. The Matrix looks amazing!!



Great Blu-Ray Player

Robert from New Jersey on 12/17/2006

The Sony BDP-S1 is a great Blu-Ray player. What it's designed to do (play Blu-Ray discs), it does very well. It doesn't matter to me that it doesn't play CD's. I does play my regular DVD's as well as DVD+/-R's. There will be a firmaware upgrade early next year to add BD-R compatability (from the Sony site). The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is the lack of HDMI 1.3 (only the PS-3 has it) and an ethernet jack. Otherwise, I'd recommend it.



a jewel that performs beautifully

Robert C4 from Minnesota on 12/16/2006

Performance is fantastic for my old SD discs and the new Blu-ray discs produce the best image I have seen on TV. It is like a fine camera in operation and look and feel. It is perfection for me and worth the price. You know that Sony over does it on these first issues. I have read some complaints about impressions of photos of the machine. It is much more impressive in natural light. There is more to the glass front than the photos can describe. On the no CD front... who the heck needs another CD player?



Blu-ray disc player

Casey from Bridger Valley Wyoming on 12/15/2006

Just purchased the Sony Blu-ray disc player to compliment our new 60&quot; Sony HDTV and it is far better than we expected,it even plays non-blu-ray DVD's and also improves the picture quality! We just love it, the picture quality of the Blu-ray is outstanding!Highly recommended.



Another 1st model gem from Sony

Michael from Orlando, Florida on 12/11/2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've only owned this player for a week, but it seems that Sony has delivered another gem of a first model. In the past I have bought Sony's first models for CD and DVD in the 80's and 90's and have been impressed. I never had a single problem with either and they have been built like tanks. This holds true with the BDP-S1. The player takes probably 20 seconds to boot up and has slight delays when you skip chapters, but this is simply how all Blu-ray and HD-DVD players operate. They are more like computers than components. Cosmetically it's glass-like front face is beautiful and has a neat color-change effect from blue (of course) to black when looking at it from slightly above moving down to looking straight on. The stainless steel top is very sleek too. Performance-wise from all I can tell it is wonderful. I have this player hooked up through a high-end fiber optic audio cable and HDMI for video and it looks and sounds astounding. It's menus are fairly plain but easy to understand. You have a lot options to tweak all aspects of the unit. Kudos to Sony for another great first run model!



Can't play CD's?!

Jonathan from Los Angeles, CA on 12/5/2006

This is a decent Blu-ray player, but it won't play CD's or BD-R's (recorded Blu-ray discs). Even the Samsung released last June will. For the price, there are better units out there.




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.

Disc Compatibility: The BDP-S1 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

Recordable BD: Although it's not currently compatible with BD-R or BD-RE discs, Sony plans a free disc-based upgrade in 2007 for the BDP-S1 that will enable playback of recordable Blu-ray discs.

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.

1080p Output: Through the HDMI output, BDP-S1 has a 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixel) output option, at either the 60 Hz video or 24 Hz film frame rates.

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-S1 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.

MP3 Playback: This unit will play MP3 audio files recorded onto DVD-R or DVD-RW discs. 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, or folders.

JPEG Playback: This unit will play JPEG still picture files recorded onto DVD-R or DVD-RW discs. 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.

Movie Files: The BDP-S1 can play MPEG2 PS movie files recorded on DVD-R or DVD-RW discs. 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.

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.

Surround Sound Decoders: The BDP-S1 has built-in Dolby Digital and DTS surround processors. The analog 5.1 channel signals are output through the RCA jacks.

Fan Cooled: A fan on the back of the BDP-S1 keeps the unit cool.

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-S1'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 component or RGB.

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 480i. When a copy protected DVD is played, the maximum 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, coaxial, and HDMI outputs. Individual settings allow you to downmix Dolby Digital and/or DTS soundtracks 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.

Control S/IR Input: A 3.5mm input on the back panel accepts commands from a Control S compatible Sony TV.

Our Product Research Team

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