Region-Free Sony BDP-S5500
Looking to upgrade your home theater system with a new Blu-ray Player? Planning on moving or traveling overseas soon? Do you live abroad and need a reliable way to enjoy movies at your rental house, hotel room or apartment without any fuss? Want to stream music from your phone through your TV wirelessly or even game via PlayStation Now? The Region-Free Sony BDP-S5500 might just be exactly what you’re looking for.
Upgraded with a new design and released late in 2015, the new and improved Sony Blu-ray lineup made a seriously good impression on us. First off, they’re one of the best-selling and most reliable Blu-ray brands out there. Secondly, they’ve ascended beyond the limits of other Blu-ray manufacturers and left them all in the dust with the introduction of PlayStation Now compatibility. For the first time in history – and mainly because Sony is the only Blu-ray manufacturer to also make a gaming console – you can play video games direct from your BD player. Playstation Now is directly available to use on the player and all you’ll need to get gaming is a DualShock4 controller. You don’t even need a Playstation console! You can easily save your progress or pick-up on a game you started on another Playstation Now device. If that’s not a serious advancement for the Blu-ray market, we’re not sure what is. Anyway, you get the idea.
The player we tested was a region-free model which unfortunately isn’t available in most stores because the manufacturers don’t produce them that way. You can, however, easily Region-Free Sony BDP-S5500 from a reputable retailer who professionally modifies them. The benefits of the modified player are several. First, they feature worldwide voltage which means they will work anywhere in the world, from 110 volts to 240 volts. You’ll never need a voltage converter in a foreign country. Second, they feature internal PAL/NTSC conversion that allows them to work with TVs in foreign countries so you’ll never need an external video converter. Last, and most importantly, they will play discs from any region of the world giving you unlimited ability to watch your favorite foreign movie titles. So, to rehash that: You can use this player in any country, with any TV, and with discs from any region. Just plug and play, it’s that simple.
Moving on, aside from the Playstation Now feature and its region-free playback abilities, let’s take a look at what this machine can do. Sony loaded the BDP-S5500 with some awesome features, all of which we find handy and convenient in one way or another.
Straight out of the box, the BDP-S5500 is a 3D-capable player. It supports 3D movie titles if you own a 3D TV, but it also has 2D to 3D conversion which attempts to add as much depth as possible for non-3D titles, giving the most realistic viewing experience possible, regardless of the film format. It also does something else that’s pretty impressive – 1080p up-scaling which enhances the resolution of non-HD movies such as your old DVDs. No matter what you throw at this player, it’s going to deliver the best quality picture that it possibly can. We really like that.
Built in Wi-Fi is another great feature, providing easy access to the internet for a variety of options that can make your home entertainment a truly rich experience. You can utilize apps, stream media from Netflix and/or the huge selection of services on the Sony Entertainment Network, use social media or surf the web, and even share all types of media wirelessly on your TV from other devices in your home. Have a movie on your laptop that you’d like to see on a bigger screen? No problem, DLNA compatibility allows you to play it directly on your TV without the use of annoying cables or converters. It works like just you’d expect it to work, with ease & flexibility. However, if you choose to hardwire your internet connection you can do so thanks to the rear ethernet port.
Moving on to playback, the BDP-S5500 can play nearly any file format imaginable. As a matter of fact, we haven’t found a common format that it won’t play. Better yet, it’ll even play those formats from the USB port or wirelessly. Sony really did a great job on making sure they covered all the bases on this. It even plays .mkv, .mov and .avi files without issue. This puts a smile on our face, as too often a player won’t want to read those formats.
If audio is your thing, have no fear because Sony has done a great job in this area as well. Ideal for utilizing with your home theater system, the BDP-S5500 supports a variety of the best audio formats (like DTS digital output, DTS-HD Master Audio output, Dolby Digital output, and Dolby True HD digital output ) which can be used via the rear HDMI output or the coaxial audio outputs.
From a video perspective, it’s going to be hard to find a better picture than this. With 24p True Cinema, you’re getting the best motion rate out there which makes for flawless viewing, even during extremely fast scenes like sports or action movies. You’ll never miss a beat or get that annoying skipping and/or loss of frames. The player also comes equipped with the Deep Color feature to give the best, most rich picture available.
Overall, we have to say that this is a really great player. The user interface is smooth, the player’s design is simplistic and compact, and we had zero issues getting any of its functions to work properly. At under $150, we’ll have to say that the Region-Free SOny BDP-S5500 is an excellent investment for practically any setup. Especially with that added bonus that we love so much, PlayStation Now!
IMPORTANT: Please note that Blu-ray Players are NOT produced as Region Free from the manufacturer, and are NOT available in major retail stores. Region Free units require professional hardware & software modification and are only sold by specialty retailers. Be sure to check the player’s specifications before making a purchase to ensure the player is being advertised and sold as a unit with region free capability.