DVD a Higher End Alternative
By Jim Bray
If you didnt get that DVD player you wanted for Christmas, Sony
has a way to get back at Santa for his oversight.
The DVPS570D is a higher end alternative to entry level DVD players,
but not so esoteric that it s priced out of reach. For your $600,
you'll not only get all the basic DVD player features, but a bunch of
interesting other stuff as well.
One nice, though small, wrinkle is Sonys variable time display
that shows the total time elapsed on a disc, total time remaining, chapter
time elapsed, chapter time remaining. This might not sound like much of
a feature, but I really miss it when I'm testing a player that doesn't
have it. If nothing else, it's a way to measure how much longer a particularly
excruciating movie is going to last
The player outputs Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks, but thats
by no means where it stops. The Sony also offers a series of "Digital
Cinema Sound" or "Virtual 3D Sound" settings that can fudge a variety
of phony theater environments from two channel and 5.1 channel (five main
speakers and a subwoofer) configurations.
This is designed to help you tweak the sound to your room configuration,
speaker setup, and personal taste, and I suppose it s nice to have
this extra flexibility. Speaking strictly for myself, however, Id
much rather have an honest to goodness 5.1 channel home theater where
the signal that comes out matches as closely as possible the one that
originally went in.
Still, to each his or her own, and if you like messing around with nifty
settings there are enough on this particular Sony DVD player to keep you
Of more practical use for those who dont have Dolby Digital/DTS-capable
receivers is the built in Dolby Digital decoder, which means you can get
true 5.1 surround sound from your DVD's even if your audio/video
receiver or amplifier is only "Dolby Digital-ready" (which means it has
the multi-channel input jacks, but no decoder).
A built in test tone generator lets you set the balance of your speakers
to your listening position and your room, and a video equalizer lets you
tweak your TV set to best suit your eyesight and room lighting. This latter
gadget is quite similar to the settings that Sony puts on some of its
TVs (like "cinema," "vivid," "standard," etc.) except that since it's
on the DVD player you can use it on any TV.
Another thoughtful feature, though one with limited use right now, is
the capacity to handle "DVD Audio" discs. These are ultra high fidelity
music recordings that are "sampled" at 96kHz/24 bits (which, in relatively
plain English, is the size of the "digital pictures" of the music taken
by the computers when the recording is made). DVD Audio is supposed to
be much better-sounding than CD's (which are sampled at 48kHz/16 bits)
and also offer surround sound channels.
Good luck finding many such discs right now, though.
Or, in case you can never remember what disc you're playing (God forbid
you look at the case!), the DVPS570D can store up to 200 text labels you
create yourself. You do this via the remote control by scrolling through
the onscreen menus and, when you finally get to the correct page, choosing
letters and numbers for the machine to remember.
I tried this with a DVD and the process took about five minutes. From
then on, any time I put that DVD into the player, it recognized it and
displayed the title on its front panel and the onscreen display. I also
noticed that some discs come with this info already encoded.
I don't know why, however
The DVPS570D also has enough video ouputs that youll be able to
hook it into most TV or home theater configurations. There are two conventional
RCA" jack outputs that are twinned with the higher quality S-Connectors
and, for the best possible results, theres a component video output.
There's also a decently designed remote control that lets you operate
all the unit's functions and, on a merely cosmetic note, the DVD player
itself comes in a handsome silver cabinet that looks almost like stainless
steel. Not a big deal, obviously, but an interesting change from the typical
On the whole, then, the Sony DVPS570D is a very nice performer that packs
a lot of flexibility and ease of use into a classy-looking package.
Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.
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