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SONY DVP-S535, £370

 

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.

 

Design and 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 to understand.

 

The S535’s 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.

 

Dolby Digital 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 component.

 

There’s no 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

SONY DVP-S535

OUTPUTS

SCART             Y

S-Video             Y

RGB out                        Y

Component                    N

Optical digital            Y

Coaxial digital            Y

5.1 decoder                   Y

 

EXTRA FEATURES

Region 2, 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

Picture  5

Sound               5

Features            4

Overall  5

 

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Ó R. Maybury 2000, 1509

 

 


 

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