If you're a home theater movie buff looking for an everyday Blu-Ray player, Sony's S2000ES is a solid contender.
Blu-ray Disc players have emerged from their niche and are becoming must-haves for home theater and movie lovers alike. They offer the full promise of HD home theater viewing: 1080p high-definition video output. In other words, you’ll finally be playing movies in a resolution that takes full advantage of your HDTV (provided you have a 1080p set, of course).
As with any Blu-ray player, however, the specs are only part of the story. If you don’t have the source content (i.e. a Blu-ray disc authored to take advantage of them) they’re just pretty-sounding bells and whistles.
Durable & Dust Free
Keeping dust out of home theater components is one of life’s most difficult challenges. The S2000ES sports what Sony dubs a “dual-shield” construction that protects the Blu-ray drive from accumulating dust. The player is also solidly built to reduce vibrations which, in turn, ensures high-quality video playback. The base of the S2000ES features aluminum insulators, which help keep it steady during playback as well.
The S2000ES outputs movies at 24 frames per second, the same frame rate that feature films are recorded in. This gives you the closest “theater” viewing experience possible.
You’ll also find a series of “Cinema Tuned” presets that can tweak the video presentation depending on the viewing environment. So, for instance, if you’ve set up your home theater in a well-lit room, the S2000ES can adjust the picture quality to reproduce the video for optimal viewing in well lit environment.
As with any pre-sets, the S2000S's default setting is a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, so you’ll need to experiment a bit to ensure it’s really the right fit for your specific environment.
Where the Sony S2000ES excels is in its nice range of advanced audio output options, including 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio bitstream output.
Given the price and the impressive array of output options, the one knock on the S2000ES is the lack of DTS-HD Master Audio. It’s an audio format that, like Dolby TrueHD, delivers the highest quality possible sound to your receiver.
Given the cost of the unit, you may be reluctant to update your movie library in one fell swoop. Fortunately, the S2000ES upscales your DVD movies to 1080p when connected to a TV via HDMI. This means you’ll squeeze the best quality possible from your DVD movies while you save up to buy the Blu-ray editions.
The S2000ES can also play back MP3 audio files saved onto DVD discs. Of course, all the impressive audio outputs won’t help much with low-quality MP3 files, but maybe the kids will dig it.
HD Camcorder Compatibility
Shortly before hard drive and flash memory camcorders took off, Sony and Panasonic made HD camcorders that recorded to high def footage to standard DVDs in the AVCHD format. If you happen to own one of those camcorders, the S2000ES can play those DVDs back on your HDTV in all their high def splendor. It’s a nice feature, even if there’s only a small audience that would actually appreciate it.
The S2000ES is slightly long in the tooth as far as Blu-ray technology goes, especially with regards to Internet connectivity and interactive content. Newer, less expensive models (from Sony and others) have hit the market with built-in Wi-Fi and internal memory for accessing n Blu-ray Live content (more interactive features, audio commentaries, and Internet downloads). The S2000ES retains performances specs in the video and audio departments that still rival many top end players, but it lacks these “n gen” connectivity features available on newer players.
The S2000ES is, quite literally, a solid Blu-ray Disc player with just about every output feature desired by movie buffs. You’ll pay a bit of premium on this model compared with others on the market with similar features and you won’t have access to newer Blu-ray options such as Internet connectivity and greater interactivity.