Now the BDP-S760 has the chance to nail that middle ground, along with similarly priced rivals like Panasonic’s DMP-BD80.
There are certainly plenty of treats in the lengthy spec list. This is the first BD player we’ve seen that offers built-in wireless connectivity – a godsend if you’re internet connection isn’t within reach of your AV system.
But arguably the BDP-S760’s biggest draw is that it offers picture processing wizardry that, until now, has been reserved for Sony’s high-end Blu-ray decks.
Sony’s HD Reality Enhancer allows you to tinker with aspects of performance like grain and noise reduction. Precision Cinema HD claims to produce sharper, smoother images, while Super Bit Mapping technology helps match the image to your display’s bit depth.
The feature-set doesn’t stop there either. While Sony’s cheaper machines can decode HD audio onboard and output over HDMI, none of them boasts a set of multichannel analogue outputs like the S760. It may not be vital, but it’s certainly handy for owners of older home cinema amps without HDMI inputs.
The S760 is Profile 2.0 enabled, so you can access interactive BD-Live goodies. There are also two USB inputs to connect external devices, and a headphone jack so you can plug in a set of cans and listen to films in pseudo seven-channel surround sound.
The news gets even better when you spin a disc. The S760 produces an impeccable image, majoring on detail, edge definition and clarity. A welcome lack of on-screen noise gives the action a sense of realism that’s beyond rival machines.
Switch to the DVD version of the same movie and while the drop to standard-def is apparent, the Sony still produces a punchy, well-drawn image.
Sonically the player delivers taut, dynamic and insightful audio with excellent timing and rhythmic ability. True, it would be shown up by a similarly priced CD player, but the S760’s efforts with two-channel content is still a fine achievement for a box whose main job is illuminating your plasma.
As you can tell, we’re quite giddy about this little machine. For the cash, the Sony BDP-S760 performs brilliantly – and you can’t ask more than that.