Sony BDP-S1200 Blu-ray player (brief user review) - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:16 AM
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Default Sony BDP-S1200 Blu-ray player (brief user review)

Sony BDP-S1200 Blu-ray player (brief user review)



Sony has released several new Blu-ray players for the year 2014. The Sony BDP-S1200 is an ideal low cost Blu-ray player for those consumers that do not need WI-FI, do not need 3-D, and do not need 4K QUAD HD upscaling. If your HD display is only 2-D and you have a home that is pre-wired with an Ethernet networking jack in all or most rooms, then this would be an ideal low cost Blu-ray player to own.

The new 2014 Sony BDP-S1200 has a retail list price of $89.99, however I purchased a few of these Sony BDP-S1200 Blu-ray players for only $59.99 each with free shipping from Amazon back on March 23rd 2014 when Amazon was running a special. This Blu-ray player makes a nice gift for a relative, etc. Personally, for my own use, I prefer an OPPO BDP-103D which costs $599 plus shipping. The Sony BDP-S1200 is only 10% the cost of an OPPO BDP-103D Blu-ray player. OPPO BDP-103D has a much better build quality then the Sony, and it should have since the OPPO is 90% more expensive.

The Sony BDP-S1200 is a very small light weight Blu-ray player (Which might make it an ideal portable Blu-ray player to connect to a hotel HDTV, or to take to a friends house, etc). This Blu-ray player comes with a small external 120 volt AC to 12 volt DC transformer. For those that have a motor home or a boat, an optional universal 12 volt cigarette lighter adapter can be purchased to power this Blu-ray player. This Blu-ray player has 1 HDMI output, 1 100Mbps Ethernet jack, and 1 coaxial digital output for legacy A/V receivers. All modern Blu-ray players require the consumer to own a display with a HDMI input. All modern flat panel displays and projectors in the last several years have HDMI inputs. The Sony BDP-S1200 has two buttons on the top of the Blu-ray player. One is a power on/off button, and the other button is the eject/close button. One negative of the Sony BDP-S1200 is that there is no LED display on the front of the Blu-ray player at all. One needs to have their HDTV or HD display on all the time to see messages like play, etc. I found the BD-ROM drive in the Sony to be very quiet during normal disc playback, however as soon as I started fast forwarding threw a Blu-ray movie the BD-ROM drive in the BDP-S1200 was much more nosier when compared to a high-end Blu-ray player like the OPPO BDP-103D. The Sony BDP-S1200 has a front USB jack so that consumers can connect a USB keyboard or a USB drive for BD-LIVE. A 1GB or larger USB flash drive is required in order to use the BD-LIVE features (For some Blu-ray titles 4GB minimum is needed if one plans on downloading all the HD quality BD-LIVE bonus material, powered hard drives with a USB interface will also work for BD-LIVE ). Another negative of the Sony BDP-S1200 is that it only has one USB jack. Therefore, when one wants to use an optional USB keyboard they will need to unplug the USB flash drive. In addition, since there is no rear USB jack on this Sony Blu-ray player, plugging a USB drive into the front USB jack does not look good cosmetically.

When I first hooked up the Sony BDP-S1200 Blu-ray player, it automatically notified me that there was a software update. Downloading and installing the firmware update (also called software update by some), took less than 5 minutes over a high-speed Verizon FIOS Internet connection. Firmware updates are required on Blu-ray players a few times a year in order to play the latest Blu-ray titles that use the latest AACS BD+ encryption keys. Also improvements to the Blu-ray players streaming features and operating system are included in some Sony firmware updates. Loading times for most Blu-ray discs was very fast, but not as fast as the OPPO BDP-103D. Sony makes a BDP-S6200 Blu-ray player for $179.99 that uses a dual core processor that matches the speed performance of an OPPO BDP-103D. The Sony BDP-S1200 remote control even has a direct Netflix button like one finds on the latest OPPO Blu-ray player remote control.





Closed captioning



Starting in 2014, all new region A USA Blu-ray players by law are required to have a built in closed captioning decoder. All the new Sony 2014 Blu-ray players including the BDP-S1200, have built in closed captioning feature. Most Blu-ray discs already offer SDH subtitles, however some people prefer closed captioning when watching Blu-ray discs. Also closed captioning is something one might want to use when watching streaming services. Monitors and projectors do not have closed captioning decoders, so requiring closed captioning in all new Blu-ray players is popular for people that need and people that want the closed captioning feature.





Brief video quality comments



I connected the Sony BDP-S1200 up to a 50 inch Pioneer PRO-101FD 1080P monitor.The Sony automatically detected that the Pioneer monitor offered 36 bit deep color, so the Sony BDP-S1200 automatically unconverted everything to 36 bit deep color. All Blu-ray players have the exact same picture quality when playing native 1080P/24 discs (99% of all movies on Blu-ray use 1080p/24). For a $59.99 Blu-ray player the Sony BDP-S1200 had the exact same picture quality as my OPPO Blu-ray player (OPPO in source direct mode with Darbee processing off). The Sony BDP-S1200 also has a menu option that will covert 480i SD film based DVD’s to 1080p/24 by doing a reverse 3:2 pulldown. The Sony BDP-S1200 also has a feature that is called “original resolution”, that works similar to the OPPO’s source direct feature. However, I found a problem with the “original resolution” mode on the Sony BDP-S1200. When playing 4:3 DVD’s the Sony would output 480i like it is suppose to since all region 1 DVD’s are 480i NTSC. However, on anamorphic widescreen 480i DVD’s the Sony BDP-S1200 would upscale the DVD’s to 480P, where as the OPPO BDP-103D in source direct mode would output true 480i. The source direct mode on the OPPO Blu-ray players is clearly better quality when compared to Sony’s “original resolution” mode. Since the Sony “original resolution”mode was not a true source direct feature like one finds on the OPPO Blu-ray players, I decided to change the resolution on the Sony to “Auto” so that the Sony Blu-ray player would upscale everything to 1080P resolution. 480i DVD upscaling visually looked excellent on the Sony BDP-S1200.





Brief audio comments



This Sony BDP-S1200 will play Blu-ray discs , DVD discs , and standard compact discs, however Super Audio CD’s are not supported.

The Sony BDP-S1200 offers a lossless bitstreaming feature when one connects this Blu-ray players HDMI output directly into a modern A/V receiver with a HDMI input. One can hear 7.1 PCM, 7.1 DTS-HD Master audio, and 7.1 Dolby True HD by allowing a modern A/V receiver to decode the lossless studio master audio tracks. Sound quality on the Sony BDP-S1200 is bit for bit exactly the same as a high-end OPPO BDP-103D when using bitstream. However for those that want to internally decode the lossy and lossless sountracks to PCM, the Sony BDP-S1200 is a very low quality Blu-ray player when it comes to internal decoding. When I played a 5.1 lossy Dolby Digital DVD soundtrack the Sony BDP-S1200 converted everything to 2.0 PCM stereo. The Sony BDP-S1200 will mix in the secondary audio bonusview picture in picture audio track with the main lossless audio track, however when that occurs everything is converted to 2.0 PCM stereo. Internal decoding of the lossless audio tracks is only important for people that use the profile 1.1 bonusview feature and for people that want to hear the menu beep clicks when navigating on the Blu-ray disc menu. The advantage of the OPPO BDP-103D is that it will internally decode 7.1 lossless audio tracks as 7.1 PCM and also it can mix in the profile 1.1 bonusview audio tracks and still send 7.1 PCM over HDMI (Also the OPPO Blu-ray players have 7.1 analog audio outputs for those with older legacy A/V receivers that lack HDMI inputs).

For most people bitstreaming is all they need for the majority of Blu-ray titles on the market. Bitstreaming on the Sony BDP-S1200 offers 7.1 lossless audio and it also offers support for legacy Dolby and DTS Neo matrix soundtracks. Those that plan on only using the speakers built into their flat panel HDTV only need the 2.0 PCM internal decoding that the Sony BDP-S1200 offers over HDMI.





Streaming features on the Sony BDP-S1200



Streaming features offer a lower bit rate 1080P picture quality with up to 7.1 lossy audio. Blu-ray discs are better quality then streaming services since Blu-ray discs use high bit rate 1080P with up to 7.1 lossless soundtracks. All the Sony 2014 Blu-ray players offer the exact same streaming features. In fact this is one of Sony’s strong points since the OPPO BDP-103D built in streaming features is very limited. The Sony BDP-S1200 has the latest VUDU and Netflix interface. However since the BDP-S1200 is a 2-D Blu-ray player it will not play 3-D VUDU streaming movies. VUDU offers lossy 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus audio on the Sony BDP-S1200. When using the Netflix interface on the Sony BDP-S1200, the picture and sound quality was the same as the OPPO BDP-103D. For several movies the Netflix interface on the Sony BDP-S1200 was offering 1080P with lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus (Same quality as the OPPO BDP-103D). To my surprise the Sony BDP-S1200 has a newer and faster Netflix interface when compared to the OPPO BDP-103D. For some reason the OPPO BDP-103D uses an older and slower Netflix interface. The Sony BDP-S1200 offers Amazon On Demand and several other streaming features that one will not find on a OPPO Blu-ray player.





Conclusion



The Sony BDP-S1200 for a list price of $89.99 (sale price of $59.99) is an amazing Blu-ray player for those consumers that only need 2-D 1080P with a wired internet connection. The over 200 streaming features is amazing and the Blu-ray player has the latest Netflix interface that offers 1080P with lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus. For most people offering no SACD support and only offering 2.0 PCM decoding over HDMI will be minor issues. As long as one has a modern A/V receiver they will be able to internally decode up to 7.1 lossless audio soundtracks by using the bitstream feature over HDMI.

Last edited by HDTV1080P; 04-30-2014 at 01:15 PM. Reason: very minor correction to improve review
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Old 05-28-2014, 02:39 AM
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On May 19th 2014 the OPPO BDP-103D Blu-ray player received a firmware update that added a new and improved Netflix interface. The modern OPPO Blu-ray players now have the same Netflix interface (or similar Netflix interface) that is offered on all the new 2014 Sony Blu-ray players.
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