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★★★☆☆

“Flawed, but good at what it does”

Written on: 08/02/2012 by skote (22 reviews written)

I recently moved to Canada from the UK and have owned Sony players and recorders in the past. I like their style, reliability and user interfaces. The Sony BDP-S580 came up well reviewed online and was at a fair price for a higher end blu-ray player at my local electronics store, so I bought it, paired up with a 40\" Sony TV. My initial thoughts about the unit were resoundingly good, but after a few weeks of use, I have begun to find a few fundamentally annoying things about it.

Good:

1. Looks great.
2. Has Bravia Sync to work with other Sony devices.
3. Good picture quality and sound.
4. Loads blu-ray quickly.
5. Nice user interface.
6. Wi-Fi and Cat-5 networking.
7. Sony provide an iPhone and iPad app to control their devices.
8. Supports Netflix, Skype and other online content.
9. Plays all movie file formats that I have tried so far (Quicktime, DivX, Windows Media etc.).

Bad:

1. No way to region hack the player to use my extensive region 2 DVD collection from Europe - infuriating as other, older Sony gear had this feature and I only found out after the 30 day no quibble return date.
2. Does not work with any UVC compatible webcam for Skype. If you want to use Skype you have to buy Sony's EXPENSIVE webcam which is not currently available anywhere I have looked, online or otherwise (not that I would pay $130 for a webcam anyway!).
3. Not compatible with iPod, iPad, iPhone etc. for music, video or podcast content.
3. When using a USB device, I frequently find that if plugged in to the rear USB port I get a 'Cannot play data' error. If I plug the devide into the front port it plays fine, and will then play fine if re-plugged in to the rear.
4. Coaxial digital output only, no optical.
5. Coooling fan frequently turns when off, even though I have disabled this 'feature' in the power saving options in the user interface.
6. Does not, at least in Canada, support BBC iPlayer Global.


In short, this is a good player, not a great one. Sony have missed the bulls-eye with this unit in my opinion, and could have provided better features at no extra cost. Had I found out about the lack of DVD region hacking, I would have returned it. As it turns out, I've ended up buying a Philips DVD upscaling unit that also supports all movie file formats and has great picture quality, and it was 1/3 the cost of my Sony player. Think carefully before you buy. I'm hoping that there may be some software udpates in future to fix the issues I have encountered.