Presumably, additional items will accompany this player when purchased at retail.
The interior of the NS305 is very space-efficient, and it is one of the better internal layouts one can find in this price range.
The NS305 is only available in silver.
The DVP-NS305 features a very stylish, but very spartan front panel. From left to right, we have:
Almost everything that the user needs to make this player work is present on the front panel, although it cannot be meaningfully operated without a remote control. This will disappoint some users, no doubt. However, the front panel is much more pleasant to look at and more efficiently spaced than that of its predecessor, the NS300.
The Sony DVP-NS305 features a fairly standard rear panel with everything the basic user needs in order to get started. In left to right order, we have:
As is the case with all the previous Sony DVD players I have seen to date, the top panel of the player features markings to show where the outputs are located, so that the cables can possibly be connected without a clear view of the rear panel. This is an excellent feature that I wish more players would incorporate. All in all, this is a very good rear panel that makes connecting your display to the player very easy.
The player that we were sent did not have a remote control specifically geared for it. Instead, we were sent a remote control that appears to be designed for the control of a DVD-Video player, SACD player, and television set all at once. As a result, a lot of the functions that I found on this remote were of no use whatsoever in controlling the player, and accessing some functions such as the Set-Up menu were a little more challenging than normal.
One comment I can make about this remote, however, is that the player was much quicker in responding to inputs from it than was the case with the previous player I looked at, the Philips DVD-736K.
Options can be set for default audio and subtitle languages, as well as what is done with MPEG and DTS soundtracks. By default, the former is set to be converted into 48 kHz Linear PCM, while the latter is turned off. Having turned DTS soundtracks on, I immediately went to work testing the player's digital output capabilities, which was quite a lot of fun in and of itself. However, suffice it to say that owners of early Roadshow discs will be glad that this player handles MPEG soundtracks.
The DVP-NS305 produces a fine, detailed image that, while not anywhere near the oil-painting, smooth-as-silk look of the Denon DVD-1600, is one of the best I have seen in the entry-level price range. Small details are resolved well by this player, although they do appear a little smudged on occasions. The colours were quite pure and well-rendered, and this player should satisfy all but the most fussy of videophiles. The DVP-NS305 is also capable of passing an NTSC blacker-than-black signal, which should please anyone with a lot of Region 1 titles.
The DVP-NS305 is marked as a Region 4 player, but I managed to make it play my standard R1 copy of Léon: The Professional with only a slight video hiccough as the player changed signal standards. Not only that, but I obtained the same results with my RCE-protected copy of Hollow Man. Whether this will continue with production versions of the player is yet to be seen, but it is encouraging.
The fast forward and fast reverse keys had to be held in to work, with the player fast forwarding as long as the button was held in at an approximate 2X speed. I was not able to make it fast forward any faster than this, although this might have to do with how the function is implemented. These functions are of good smoothness, and the manner in which they are implemented makes it far easier than normal to simply forward or reverse to a specific point.
Layer changes resulted in a minor pause that, while noticeable, was perfectly acceptable.
When I tested the number of languages the DVP-NS305 was able to handle, using my copy of Friday The 13th, Part V, I was disappointed to find that it only provided full language names for approximately half of the subtitle streams. All of the other languages were displayed as patently unhelpful four-digit numbers, which will be quite annoying to those who speak languages other than the Western European tongues that the player appears to have been geared towards. If your native language happens to be English, Spanish, Italian, or French, then you will not have a problem with selecting your preferred subtitle or audio stream via the On-Screen Display. Otherwise, you will need to memorise the numeric code for your preferred language.
After watching the opening scene in Pulp Fiction, I was amazed to see that the usual wandering sync that characterizes players that will trouble those of us who are more sensitive to the problem was nowhere to be found here. Indeed, the objective audio sync test put the analogue versus digital delay at 0.6 milliseconds, which is consistent with even the most sensitive among us not noticing any problem. I know I certainly didn't.
The DVP-NS305 is capable of downconverting MPEG bitstreams into 48 kHz Linear PCM, which is as ideal a solution as can be expected of a player without 5.1 channel analogue outputs. DTS soundtracks can either be switched on or off via the Set-Up menu.
|Test Disc Format||Results|
|110 MP3s in 5 subdirectories||Found all files|
|110 MP3s in root directory||Found all files|
|128 Kb/s, 256 Kb/s, 320 Kb/s, and Variable Bit Rate||Played all four files|
|Multisession CD-R (4 sessions, each with one added MP3)||Found all four sessions|
|Pulp Fiction R4
|Terminator: SE R4
|Independence Day R4
|Hollow Man R1
|RoboCop: SE R4
It is hard to break things down into specific good and bad points when the player provided does not come with the complete retail packaging, but there are some things that can be detailed here:
|Video||Component Output||RGB Output|
|Audio||DTS Output||MP3 Playback|
|Value For Money|
|Product Type:||DVD-Video, Video CD, Audio CD and MP3 player|
|Region:||Zone 4 (Australia/New Zealand & South America)|
|Signal System:||PAL / NTSC|
|Serial Number Of Unit Tested:||DPX-1600SM(ME5) *Sample*|
|MPEG Decoder:||Sony CXD19350|
|Audio Frequency Response:||TBD|
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||TBD|
|Total Harmonic Distortion:||TBD|
|Distributor:||Sony Consumer Products Australia
33-39 Talavera Road
North Ryde NSW 2113
© Dean McIntosh
15th July 2002