Introduction - The Blu-ray Format:
The Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray Disc Player:
Video Playback Compatibility:
Audio Playback Capability:
The Sony BDP-S1 features the new surround sound and two-channel audio processing formats: Dolby® Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD lossless (2-ch.), DTS® and DTS-HD lossless as well as uncompressed multi-channel PCM, standard Dolby Digital, and DTS 5.1.
NOTE: UNLIKE MOST OTHER BLU-RAY AND HD-DVD PLAYERS AVAILABLE SO FAR, THE SONY BDP-S1 (along with the Pioneer BDP-HD1 ) DOES NOT PLAY ANY TYPE OF AUDIO CD.
Video Connection Options:
NOTE: 1080p resolution can be accessed via the HDMI outputs. 720p and 1080i resolutions for Blu-ray discs can also be accessed via Component video outputs. For more on accessing 1080p resolution on your TV, check out my article 1080p and You
Audio Connections Options:
Accessing High Definition Content:
However, if the disc does not contain the complete copy-protection scheme, it may allow output at 720p or 1080i resolution to be accessible via the component video outputs as well. 1080p resolution can only be accessed via the HDMI output.
Access to high-definition output from a Blu-ray player via both the HDMI and Component Video outputs is determined by each studio on a case-by-case basis.
Availability and Pricing for Sony BDP-S1:
However, unlike the Toshiba, Samsung, and most other announced Blu-ray and HD-DVD players, the BDP-S1 has no provision for playback of standard Audio CDs, SACDs, or DVD-Audio Discs. I consider this a major drawback in terms of value per dollar spent.
Another drawback of the BDP-S1 is, at least initially, it will not have the ability to playback home-recorded BD-R/BD-RE discs. It is interesting to note that the Samsung BD-P1000 DOES have the ability to playback these discs. Sony has indicated that will have a firmware upgrade to address this issue.
One added beneficial feature Sony BDP-S1 does have is that it can output standard 1080p, or also 1080p at 24 frames-per-second. In order to display 1080p/24, your HDTV has to have 1080p/24 signal input capability.
The Sony BDP-S1 also incorporates the high resolution audio formats: Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, and DTS-HD, which expands the audio portion of the home theater experience, in addition to the Blu-ray video experience.
Despite the benefits of Blu-ray and the capabilities of the Sony BDP-S1, the decision as to whether to jump in now or wait and see what happens as the Blu-ray/HD-DVD war plays itself out, presents a challenge to the average consumer, especially with the first crop of Blu-ray players selling for $999 or more ($999 in the case of the Sony BDP-S1).
Questions, such as software availability and format viability over the long term, is a concern. On the positive side, both Blu-ray and HD-DVD players are compatible with the standard DVD format, as well as most recordable DVD formats, and most are compatible with standard CDs (except where noted).
However, if, down the road, your Blu-ray or HD-DVD player is no longer useful and the rival format is the only one left, you will not be able to play your Blu-ray or HD-DVD discs on the rival format's machine.
If you are willing to take the plunge into high definition DVD, despite future uncertainty, then consider the Sony BDP-S1 as a possible choice. Instead of waiting, possibly, for several years for a format shakeout, you can be enjoying true hi-definition DVD right how with the Sony BDP-S1 or other Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD player, especially if you have a large screen HDTV or HD-Compatible video projector.