The inside of this player is reasonably laid out, although there is a comparatively large amount of empty space inside the player. One characteristic of the player's internal structure, and one that was also quite apparent with its external structure, was that it had the budget look of a Chinese-made player rather than the unremarkable but functional look I normally associate with Sony equipment.
The Sony DVP-NS300 is only available in silver.
The Sony DVP-NS300 features a front panel with everything the basic user needs, as well as some welcome additions that are unique among players of all kinds. From left to right, we have:
The NS-300 features a modest rear panel, with everything that you need and nothing that you don't. From left to right, we have:
The Sony NS-300 features the standard kind of Sony remote control, a long rectangular design that has its good points and its bad points. Like most DVD remote controls, the RMT-D126E is divided into distinct sections that can be categorised according to function. One characteristic I found rather annoying about the NS-300's response to remote inputs is that the unit must be awoken from stand-by mode before the disc tray can be opened. This is counter-intuitive compared to other players' standard response of powering on and ejecting the disc tray when the Eject button is pressed.
At the top of the remote control are the less frequently used buttons, with the Power button and the Eject button in the top row, easily distinguishable from one another by the difference in their elevation and colour. Between them is a Power On/Off switch for Sony televisions, which will be handy for a percentage of those who purchase this player. Below these three buttons, offset by a small amount of empty space, are a collection of buttons relating to various functions of the DVD player and Sony televisions. The television buttons, on the right column, are labelled Wide Mode, TV/Video, and the standard Vol abbreviation for volume. This last button cannot be used with Sony receivers, unfortunately. The other buttons are labelled Surround, BNR (Block Noise Reduction), Time/Text, A-B, Shuffle, Repeat, Program, and Clear. Below these three columns of lesser-used functions are the Audio, Angle, and Subtitle buttons, which are laid out a little too close to the other functions for my liking.
Below these three buttons are the Chapter Skip buttons, a Search Mode button, the Scan/Slow buttons, and an Instant Replay Button, which repeats the last ten or so seconds of a given title when pressed. This is handy for films such as Driven, when you might want to get a quick replay of tyres flying through the air or cars hitting the wall. Beneath these buttons are the Play, Pause, and Stop buttons, which are quite reasonably laid out and made easy to discern from one another by their differing sizes. Once one has familiarised themselves with the layout of this remote, it is somewhat difficult to press the wrong key by accident, and it is quite easy to access any section of the remote with some creative shuffling of the hand or stretching of the thumb.
At the bottom of the remote control are the navigation controls, with the Title, DVD Menu, Display, and Return buttons set into the diagonal corners of this section. The Enter key has a raised spot at its top to make it somewhat easier to discern in the darkened environment of a home theatre, but it is a little large for my liking. The arrow keys are consequently a little small, making them somewhat easy to miss, although this is easily overcome with a little familiarity with this mechanism's layout.
The image that the DSVP-NS300 produces is sharp and clear, with fine details being resolved well, and up there with the best I have seen in the lower DVD price ranges. Background details are slightly softer on this player than I am used to, but not so much so that it is really worth deducting points over. Video-sourced material, and other materials taken from an interlaced source, tended to show more aliasing artefacts on this player than normal, but they were otherwise rendered acceptably. The DVP-NS300 is not capable of passing an NTSC blacker-than-black signal.
The DVP-NS300 is marked as a Zone 4 player, but I managed to make it play back my Region 1 Starship Troopers disc. I presume that this is a programming faux pas on Sony's part, and that production versions of this player will not play back any Region 1 discs, regardless of whether they are protected by RCE or not. The DVP-NS300 cannot play back RCE-protected discs such as Hollow Man, and I was unable to find a useable workaround in the brief period I spent attempting to perform this function. Modifications will doubtlessly be available for this player, but I presume that they will follow the set level of expense common to previous models released by Sony.
The fast forward and fast reverse functions on this player are reasonable, with three distinct speeds available, although not exactly helpfully marked in terms of how fast they are. From what I could discern, speeds of 2X, 3X, and 4X appear to be available, all of which are reasonably smooth, although the On Screen Display is a little less than helpful in discerning what mode is actually in use.
Layer changes on this player result in a noticeable pause, slightly lengthier ones than I am used to seeing, as a matter of fact. The handling of layer changes was acceptable, given that no disc I tested locked up at this point, but the longer pause was a little too much for my liking.
Subjectively, I found no discernable problems with this player's handling of soundtracks, although switching between soundtracks does tend to result in a slightly longer pause than I am used to. Common audio languages are also displayed with their full names in the On Screen Display, which makes selecting your language of choice a little less cryptic than is the case on numerous other players.
I did not detect any audio sync issues with the numerous discs I tested on this player. The test with the R4 version of Pulp Fiction did not show any specific audio sync issues, nor did any other disc I tried with this player.
MPEG audio streams can be converted into Linear PCM for those who do put possess an appropriate decoder. While this doesn't compare to the option of an internal decoder, it beats the stuffing out of the deafening silence that my reference player produces when it encounters an MPEG soundtrack.
|Pulp Fiction R4
|Terminator: SE R4
|Independence Day R4 Seamless Branching||
|Hollow Man R1
|Video||Component Output||RGB Output|
|Audio||DTS Output||MP3 Playback|
|Value For Money|
|Product Type:||DVD-Video, Video CD and Audio CD player|
|Region:||Marked as Region 4 (South America/Australia)|
|Signal System:||PAL / NTSC|
|Serial Number Of Unit Tested:||AECP011657AU|
|MPEG Decoder:||Sony CXD1933D|
|Audio Frequency Response:||DVD (PCM 96 kHz): 2Hz - 44kHz (48kHz sampling)
DVD (PCM 48 kHz): 2Hz - 22Hz (96kHz sampling)
CD Audio: 2Hz - 20kHz
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||115dB (Line Out L/R (AUDIO) jacks 1, 2 only)|
|Dynamic Range:||DVD: 103 dB
CD: 99 dB
|Total Harmonic Distortion:||0.003%|
|Dimensions:||430 (w) x 256 (d) x 74 (h) mm|
|Distributor:||Sony Consumer Products Australia
33-39 Talavera Road
North Ryde NSW 2113
© Dean McIntosh
December 21, 2001