Sony BDP-S6500 Review
Similar in many ways to the Sony BDP-S5500 , the Sony BDP-S6500 Blu-ray player is distinguished by its video processor capable of upscaling DVD and Blu-ray to UHD-4K resolution and by its super technology. Wi-Fi that extends the maximum range and strength of the wireless signal to ensure a perfectly stable connection with the network. The main functions and characteristics are the same: extended support for audio and video file types playable on USB storage device or via the network (DLNA), Triluminos technology offering very realistic colorimetry, 3D Blu-ray playback and Internet access to access Youtube or Netflix online video service.
It features support for 3d discs and scaling up to Ultra HD resolutions. The casing is a mixture of black plastic and metal and features a tray loading disc mechanism which is reasonably quiet in operation at the front of power and eject buttons along with the USB port.
For media playback let the rear all the other connections including hdmi LAN ports and a coax digital audio out. There is also built-in 2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi, the supplied remote is good as somewhat lightweight for a flagship product and features well size buttons with an intuitive layout playback of all content.
We are unsure about how much value the 4k scaling adds if you’ve already owned a decent Ultra HD TV but the fact it plays blu-rays perfectly scales your DVDs extremely well and also possesses a great lineup of streaming services.
I have been using the Sony BDP-S6500 Bluray Player for a few days now and would like to share my first experiences with you. The player generally makes a good and valuable impression. Due to the compact construction and the beautiful design, the player is suitable for living room use in any case. In advance I would like to explain briefly why I bought the player. I previously had a high-end Bluray player from Marantz, the Marantz UD5007. But this player often caused me problems when playing back self-burned Blurays. Some discs could only be read after repeatedly opening and closing the disc drawer. Others had short dropouts during playback. Some would now blame the Bluray blanks, but they were always of the best quality because I checked them in advance for errors. For this reason I decided to buy a player from the lower price range. According to experiences from my friends and acquaintances the drives used here are not so choosy when it comes to self-burned Blurays. So now to the actual player the BDP-S6500:
The Sony BDP-S6500 is another excellent Blu-ray disc player able to handle both two and three dimensional Blu-ray discs with no issues whatsoever. It also handles DVDs brilliantly, too, with crisp, well defined scaling and, if you need it, the S6500 can also scale all the way up to 4K resolutions
The upscaler extrapolates the video material to Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels). 3D is of course also included. It also converts normal 2D videos to 3D for display.
In order to also be able to offer the necessary performance, the BDP-S6500 has a powerful dual-core processor, which is supposed to speed up the loading of movies, online videos and websites, as well as the navigation through the menus.
Various image optimization mechanisms are also on board the flagship, which are used for both Blu-ray Discs and web videos. The “IP Content Noise Reduction Pro” is primarily intended for video streams and contains intelligent noise reduction technologies, while the “HD Reality Enhancer” optimizes pixel and color representation. The “Pure Picture Control” is used for contrast optimization and “Super Bit Mapping” is designed to optimize color gradations for finer brightness gradients.
The drive can also play SACDs. In the audio sector, Sony’s “Digital Music Enhancer” also combines three audio technologies for sound refinement (DSEE – Digital Sound Enhancement Engine), dynamic range recovery and optimisation of dialogue reproduction.
A WLAN module is also on board, which works with several antennas and “MIMO technology” (Multiple Input Multiple Output) to optimise signal reception even in more remote locations. DLNA servers are supported as well as “Screen Mirroring” of smartphones and tablets via “Miracast”. The “TV Sideview App” for Android and iOS is available for control. The integrated web browser can also be controlled via a UBS keyboard.
Sony also integrates various “Smart TV” functions in the BDP-S6500. Thus, besides YouTube, the streaming services from Netflix or Amazon Instant Video can also be used on the Blu-ray Disc player.
The new BDP-S6500 Blu-ray player from Sony promises more home cinema fun with your beloved movie collection. The Blu-ray player plays 2D and 3D movies. The player also converts 2D videos into simulated 3D content. This gives private holiday recordings a little more depth. Besides the 3D playback, the 4K upscaling is especially interesting. The integrated video processor upscales all image sources to four times the Full-HD resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) and is intended to ensure a more lifelike video quality. The prerequisite for this is of course a 4K television. Whether HD movies, Blu-ray or pixelated YouTube videos, there are several technologies available for perfect image reproduction.
Sony has put together an extremely compact package with all the important features with the BDP-S6500 model. Even the housing of the Blu-ray player is smaller than you would expect from other disc players. Instead of the standard size of around 43 centimeters, the Sony is only a little more than 25 centimeters. To save space, the developers opted for an external power supply.
Next to its connector socket, the rear of the Sony BDP-S6500 has only one output for HDMI and for coaxial digital sound as well as an interface for the network cable. Spartanically, it continues at the front. One button for on/off, one for disc eject and a USB socket must be enough.
Sony does not stint on software features for this. On the contrary: the range of apps is more than generous. Especially when it comes to online video stores. There is a web browser for free Internet surfing.
The recommended retail price for the Sony BDP-S6500 is 149 dollars
Included in the scope of delivery:
- Sony BDP-S6500
- Remote control incl. batteries
- external power supply
- Operating instructions
After unpacking the player I was surprised how small it is. No wonder that the power supply is not inside the case of the player like other devices but external.
Image Enhancement Technologies
The “IP Content Noise Reduction Pro” reduces picture noise with its intelligent algorithm, while the “HD Reality Enhancer” analyses and corrects every single pixel for structure and colour information. The “Pure Picture Control” ensures optimised contrast and the “Super Bit Mapping” ensures smooth transitions in colour gradations. This quartet of image enhancement technologies is designed to enhance any content.
On the back of the player you will find the following connection options:
- HDMI output
- 100Mbit LAN connection
- Digital Audio Output Coaxial
Next to the on/off switch and the eject button for the disc tray, there is a USB port. This is used to upload the latest firmware updates and also to play back all media via a connected USB stick. Of course the player can also play MKV files.
The Blu-ray player has a USB 2.0 and Ethernet connection. It also has a digital audio output and an HDMI output. Equally important are the video formats that the device supports. These include MP4, XVID, AVCHD and MKV. With the help of these formats you have the possibility to play almost all videos on the player. You can even play videos that you have made on your own with the device.
So, to put it simple, on the connectivity side, in addition to the HDMI output , the coaxial audio output and the network socket, there is a USB port on the front of the Sony BDP-S6500 to connect a USB key or an external hard drive. Music, photos and videos can thus be played directly on the television, many file formats being supported. The multi-antenna Wi-Fi controller is also located on the front to optimize range and signal strength, for smooth streaming and responsive navigation. Finally, the supplied remote control is pre-programmed to take care of the basic functions of televisions among the biggest brands, to simplify your daily use of this player even more.
SETTING UP THE DEVICE
The initial setup caused me some problems with the internet connection. The first attempt to connect the player to my home WLAN (FritzBox Cable) failed while testing the internet connection. The player got an IP from the FitzBox but the access to the internet was not possible. So I tried it directly over a network cable. After restarting the player the internet connection worked. After the initial setup of the internet connection the current internet content is loaded from the internet.
After the setup, a tidy and clear main menu awaits us. The most important apps (Amazon, Netflix etc.) can be started from the main menu. In my opinion, the menu navigation runs smoothly for a Bluray player. There are small delays when starting apps.
In the main discipline of Blurays playback the player does its job very well. As already mentioned, the player plays all my self-made movies without any problems, without hangs or problems reading the discs. I used Verbatim blanks from Japan in the 50mm spindle. Disc ID MEIT02. As soon as a disc is inserted in the main menu, playback starts automatically. The reading times are really fast and faster than with Marantz. During playback the player is absolutely noiseless. Which is not a matter of course with such a compact design.
I connected the player to my Onkyo TX-NR626 AV receiver. If you want to connect the player to an AV receiver like me, it is recommended to change the audio output to bitstream in the settings. So the player passes the HD sound formats uncoded to the receiver and the receiver decodes them. The BD-Audio Mix setting must be set to OFF. If your receiver can also decode DTS audio signals, you should also set the Dolby D-compatible output setting to OFF. For playback of SACD’s, we recommend that you set the DSD Output Mode setting to AUTO when using an AV receiver that supports DSD. By the way, the picture quality is very good and easily matches that of the Marantz.
Yes, you have heard correctly that the player supports the playback of SACD. Hard to believe in this price range.
The excellent resolution is so good that it can even reproduce 4k content. The modern player converts 2D videos into three dimensions and scales the videos to Ultra-HD picture quality. We are convinced by the player because of the picture optimization. Artifacts and noise are removed from the videos. The scaling of the DVDs to Full-HD quality is also impressive. In addition, the player has a connection for WLAN, which makes Smart TV possible. You can therefore surf the Internet and watch movies and videos with the player.
The player offers access to the most popular streaming portals (Amazon, Netflix and Watchever). As a primer I tested the Amazon Instant Video App for a short time. Thereby I noticed the following:
- The menu does not run as smoothly as with my Amazon FireTV
- The buffer times are much too long for my taste. Despite 100Mbit internet connection I only get HD quality after about 1 minute. Until then I only see pixelated pictures.
With other apps the stream starts directly with HD quality. So I assume that it is a problem of the Amazon App. What will interest many is the playback of 24p content on Amazon. As soon as a stream with 24 frames per second is started, the refresh rate changes to 24Hz. You have to activate this function in the player settings first. So you can finally play 24p content at Amazon without jerking. Unfortunately the switching does not work when stopping the movie. That means the player will not switch back to the original 60Hz in the menu.
The topic of streaming is present in almost all areas of consumer electronics and Sony is well aware of this. That’s why the new BDP-S6500 is equipped with super-fast Wi-Fi, which guarantees smooth Internet surfing and uninterrupted streaming. In addition to the most popular online services such as Youtube, Amazon and Netflix, there are other online video libraries available.
I have noticed several such small software errors. In the main menu, for example, there is an item called: Activate advanced functions or something similar. If one selects this menu item, the picture simply remains black and nothing happens. By pressing the home button on the remote control, one gets back to the main menu.
Moreover, the translation into other languages is not very good, as we were informed by users who utilized the menu in German and Spanish language. This is a part that I have not tested.
Media: Bluray Disc (ROM/R/RE) DVD (+/-R/RW/R-DL/8cm) SACD, CD (R/RW) USB (FAT32/NTFS), External HDD (read)
Video: MPEG-1 (mpg, mpeg, mkv), MPEG-2 (mpg, mpeg, m2ts, mts, mkv), MPEG-4/AVC (mkv, mp4, m4v, m2ts, mts, mov, 3gp, 3g2, 3pgg, 3gpp2)
Audio: LPCM (mka), MP3, AAC (.m4a, aac, mka), FLAC (.flac, .fla), wma, wav, ac3
Sound formats: LPCM, Dolby Digital True HD, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS Neo:6, AV Sync, DRC, DSD
Photo: JPEG (jpg, jpeg), gif, png, mpo (not DLNA)
Those who want to send additional content from their Android smartphone to the Sony BDP-S6500 will use Miracast. The S6500 also receives DLNA streams from mobile devices.
For comfortable control, the owner can install the free app “TV Sideview”. Thus, the Sony can also be operated via smartphone and tablet. The application is especially helpful when entering text and surfing in the web browser.
4K photos in all their glory
The Sony BDP-S6500 also supports a wide range of media formats, even 4K photos. Only the playback of videos with DivX codec is missing. In terms of music, it even plays songs in DSD (Direct Stream Digital) format from network servers, USB storage devices and SACDs.
Another positive aspect is the Sony BDP-S6500’s low power consumption of just over 5 watts in operation. It’s just a pity that the power consumption in standby is hardly reduced when the quick start mode is activated. So it’s better to deactivate it; the start times are still acceptable.
The Sony BDP-S6500 is also up to date in terms of video processing. It plays back 3D Blu-rays, converts 2D content into three dimensions and scales videos to Ultra-HD. It does all this with excellent quality. The player was particularly convincing with its optimization of inferior image sources by intelligently reducing noise and artifacts. It also ranks among the best when scaling DVDs to Full-HD. It doesn’t quite reach these regions during Blu-ray playback, although the picture looks calm and natural.
Pros & Cons Sony BDP-S6500
- Quiet and fast drive
- very good equipment
- very compact
- good replacement for a Smart-TV – whether NAS, USB stick or HDD
- W-Lan and Lan connection possible
- W-Lan probably not the most stable
- quite expensive
If you’re looking for other cheap alternatives in this field, you can read through our comparison test of Blu-ray players under 100. It didn’t play a role here yet, as it wasn’t regularly available at this price.
Video: Blu-ray (BD-ROM, BD-R(E)), DVD (DVD-Video, DVD+R(W), DVD-R(W), SACD), CD (CD-Audio, CD-R(W)) Audio decoder: Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Video connections: 1x HDMI Out Audio connections: 1x Digital Audio Out (coaxial) Other connections: 1x USB, LAN, WLAN Power consumption: 12W (max), 0.3W (Standby) Dimensions (WxHxD): 255x39x192mm Weight: kg Special features: Miracast, DLNA-Client, 3D-Ready, 4K-Upscaling
Blu-ray Disc ™ player with 4K upscaling and super Wi-Fi connection
4K Ultra HD upscaling: four times more detail than Full HD
Greater stability of internet connection thanks to advanced super Wi-Fi technology
Missed TV shows and movies on demand from the offer
Screen mirroring function for viewing smartphone content on the big screen
Dual-core processor for faster operation and menu usage
Better picture and cleaner sound with IP Content Noise Reduction Pro and Digital Music Enhancer
A refined, intuitive menu system
Fascinating entertainment in 3D
The 4K upscaling system is compatible with 24P video
The BDP-S6500 has a powerful dual-core processor built in to ensure that video-on-demand, DVD & Blu-ray playback, Internet surfing and menu navigation are fast and error-free. This ensures fast and intuitive operation. Of course, a great sound also belongs to a picture-packed movie. The “Digital Music Enhancer” combines the best audio technologies from Sony and ensures a balanced and powerful sound. DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine), Dynamic Range Recovery and Advanced Auto Volume recover sound information lost during compression, just like image upscaling.
In addition to upscaling to UHD resolution, the S6500 also masters the playback of 3D content. It also automatically converts 2D videos into simulated 3D content on demand to give movies more depth and detail. In addition to some image editing techniques that are supposed to give pixeled and low-resolution web videos more brilliance, the Sony player is also equipped with “Super WiFi”. This is simply the well-known, albeit less sonorous, multi-antenna WLAN technology “MiMo”. Users also use this network connection to access online entertainment services such as YouTube, Netflix or Amazon Instant Video.
The player is perfectly suited for playback of all media. Due to the compact design it is also mobile and can be stowed away quickly if necessary. The playback of Amazon Prime is still a bit lacking. But these should only be software problems that will hopefully be fixed soon. I bought the player for 99 dollars and can only recommend it for playing Blurays. To use Amazon Prime Video I will still use Amazon FireTV.
The Sony BDP-S6500 is the right Blu-ray player for anyone who is firmly anchored in the digital age. The buyer can expect a rich web offer, low power consumption and great picture quality.
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