If you visit
Sony’s UK web site you’ll find the DVP-S535 listed as an ‘entry’ DVD player.
Sony’s idea of what constitutes a baseline model, both in terms of price and
specification, is clearly at odds with the rest of the market. But no matter,
we’ll continue on the basis that to most people the S535 qualifies as a
well-appointed mid-range machine. It has an on-board Dolby Digital decoder,
advanced playback features plus the kind of classy slim line casework and
styling that wouldn’t look out of place on a piece of high-end hi-fi equipment.
engineering has always has been amongst Sony’s strongest points and it is clear
that more thought than usual has been given to things like the layout of the
controls and the not inconsequential matter of picture and sound quality. To
that end it has sophisticated picture processing and noise reduction circuitry
plus a 3-mode video equaliser, moreover it stores the user’s picture
preferences for up to 50 discs. As well as multi channel digital surround it
also has a 3D ‘spatial’ sound effect – to liven up basic mono and stereo
soundtracks -- and it comes with a multi-brand TV/AV amplifier remote handset.
The on screen displays are similar to those used on previous Sony players and
whilst it’s not the absolute best we’ve seen, the graphics are clear and easy
additional AV processing is more than window dressing or marketing puff.
Picture and sound quality on this machine is noticeably better than most of its
rivals, and considering that even ‘bad’ DVD players look good – compared with
VHS – that’s saying something. The S535 tackles one of the most difficult jobs
with ease, subtle shades and skin tones look entirely natural, and it manages to
reveal hidden details in dark and gloomy scenes, that most other either players
ignore of reduce to a noisy mush. The only small gripe we have is with layer
change. This has become much less of an issue of late since almost all new
players nowadays either pass through layer change, often without the user
realising anything has happened. Not the S535, our sample froze for a good half
second on some discs.
channels are pin-sharp with crisply focused effects and dialogue. It’s ability
to handle big set-piece effects and a very healthy bass response contributes to
a dramatic and involving soundfield. Audio CD performance is also a cut above
the norm in fact this player could easily double up as a high-end hi-fi
doubt you’re paying a bit extra for the Sony name and if you’ve been doing your
homework you’ll be aware that there are plenty of DVD players with Dolby
Digital decoders selling for a lot less than £370. Some of them are very good
too, but this is one occasion when you really do get what you pay for, and
that’s one outstanding DVD player!
Contact Sony (0990) 111999, www.sony.co.uk
THE HARD FACTS
RGB out Y
Optical digital Y
Coaxial digital Y
5.1 decoder Y
PAL/NTSC, Dolby Digital sound, dts compatible bitstream output, multi-speed
replay, video equaliser & noise reduction, playback memory, 3D sound,
multi-brand TV/AV amplifier remote control
Ease of use 4
Ó R. Maybury 2000, 1509