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Sony carries over their precision with their XMB navigation from the S560 to the S570, only this time they’ve given the interface a bit more polish. The experience is largely the same, in that it’s a stripped-down version of the PS3’s framework, but the font type and the speed and grace in movement from one item to the next have been tightened. Other than that, the setup process will feel very similar if you’ve tangoed with Sony’s previous 5-series model. Options still include Network Update, Screen Settings, Audio Settings, BD/DVD Viewing Settings, Parental Control Settings, Music Settings, System Settings, Network Settings, Easy Setup and Resetting. Most of these are self-explanatory, but we’ll address a few of the fine points in each.
An “Easy Setup” function allows for a step-by-step rundown of each necessary element in getting the player up and running from the get-go. It asks us to select a Language, choose a connection type (HDMI / Component / Video), then to shape up the Internet Connection aspects of the player – allowing an internet connection, choosing either Auto or Manual diagnostics, etc. Rounding things out, it also asks us whether we’d like to increase boot-up time by leaving the player on, which increases power consumption. This option was left “OFF” for the majority of this review, and the player still performed swimmingly.
For Audio and Video tweaking, aside from a few rudimentary features, there’s not a whole lot to really work with here. Under Screen Settings, alterations are made available to adjust screen type and the way the material is presented (original vs. stretched) to slightly deeper elements like hard-wiring 24p and Deep Color (x.v) output settings. Under Audio, the options are available to either decode or automatically stream audio via HDMI, to adjust the BD Audio Mix Setting to allow for sound output during BD-Live deatures, DTS / Dolby Digital mixing options, Downmix functionality, and tailoring Audio DRC (Dynamic Range Compression.
Network Settings controls the frequency and diagnostics in allowing the S570 to interact with the Internet, but it also adds an option for registering a BD Remote device. Let’s start with Internet Setup. Selecting Internet Settings opens up a page to either View Network Status, if you’ve already registered a connection, or to run through Wired / Wireless Setup. Wireless setup allows the user to scan the area for signals, identify a WPS link, or manually set everything up. Scanning works quickly and effectively, easily picking up the signal near this review player within a matter or 2-3 seconds. It then takes us through the standard connection and passkey items; it’s worth noting, since it’s not explicitly stated in the manual, that hopping to the small “abc” button at the low point of the passkey entry allows for numerical and CAPITAL letter type to be accessed. That’s intuitive for Playstation 3 users, but might prove to be vague for others.
Also, if you’re either an iPhone or an iPod Touch user, you can download an app entitled “BD Remote” to control the S570 (and other Sony Blu-ray players from this year) on the mobile device. A video for the app online showcases the ease of connection and use, and it’s a valid look at how the app works. Registering the device, which takes two button clocks on each device, enables the phone to be used as either an intuitive swipe-controlled remote or a standard button-push remote. It also can communicate with the Gracenote technology on-board with the player to obtain disc information, such as actor and director information and Blu-ray release date. Sadly, it doesn’t offer a chapter or episode listing, something what would’ve been helpful for the Battlestar Galactica series of episodes. Though the “Simple Remote” swiping mechanic on BD Remote has some issues registering movement to a fluid degree, the “Full Remote” – which has scaling pages just like the iPhone’s app layout – gets everything down pat.
Both versatility and dense supplements have always been a forte with Sony’s wireless Blu-ray devices, but a few of them have been only merely satisfactory in the audiovisual department – slogging behind the Playstation 3 in quality. That stops with the BDP-S570, which offers an equivalent, if not slightly more refined, high-definition experience than its stalwart gaming machine. Rendering 24p detail with a well-pitched flow, tightening detail, slathering on an onslaught of robust audio and improving reaction time when either idle or paused, it’s a very sharp-performing device. Speed with loading comes extremely close to that of JVC’s XV-BP1, loading discs at a minutely slower rate but sporting a quicker drive open reaction time -- around 2 seconds, where the XV-BP1 flips open in about three. The player supports internal decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio tracks, as well as supporting raw bitstream communication to an applicable receiver.