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The PlayStation 5 Blu-Ray player built into the disc version was not meant to be a highlight. Sony’s latest console is, of course, primarily a gaming machine. The PlayStation 5 drive version’s support for the latest and greatest video disc formats is just a welcome bonus for home cinema fans.
However, Sony’s decision to include a 4K Blu-ray player in the PS5 has potentially far-reaching implications for home entertainment. Most manufacturers have left the 4K stationary Blu-ray player market. But fans of optical media will be pleased that thanks to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, 4K BD players will now appear in tens of millions of homes.
After all, even if only a small percentage of owners of these new consoles discover the pleasures of 4K Blu-ray, it should lead to much more stable sales of 4K movie discs. And thus a much more secure long-term future for the physical media industry ravaged by video streaming.
Sony’s decision to include a 4K Blu-ray player in the disc version of the PS5 is even more welcome because the company is not known to have included it on the PS4. Even the PS4 Pro. Although the Xbox One S and X had it. It’s not entirely clear why the PS4 went this route. But Sony itself then unconvincingly tried to explain it all by the fact that streaming video is the future of home cinema. However, today we are presenting a review of the PS5 4K Blu-ray player.
PS5 Powered Review
What to expect from a 4K Blu-ray player built into Sony’s powerful Console Edition? The assumptions are mixed. On the one hand, Sony’s 4K stationary Blu-ray players are awkward to use in some respects. But they have outstanding performance at a variety of price points.
On the other hand, none of the 4K Blu-ray players built into the Xbox One S and X or Series X are any particularly shining example in their class in terms of functionality or performance. There’s also no hiding the fact that the PS5 doesn’t support HDR Dolby Vision or HDR10 + premium formats .
Discs that support one or both of these formats convey HDR metadata from scene to scene, which compatible players and TVs can use to create better, more dynamic images. The lack of support for any of the formats leaves users with only the basic HDR10 system, which contains only static metadata, and therefore requires maximum “dedication” from TVs.
Dolby Vision support
Sony has never supported HDR10 + in any of its TVs or standalone 4K Blu-ray players, so it’s optimistic to expect this format to hit the PS5. However, the previous two generations of separate Sony 4K Blu-ray players supported Dolby Vision. Although rather clumsy (for example, Sony X1100ES ). So it would be nice to see Dolby Vision on the PS5 Blu Ray 4K player too.
It is possible that the situation may change. Dolby Vision is no longer dependent on prior hardware integration. Therefore, it can potentially be added to the PS5 through a firmware update. In fact, this is exactly what happened with the Xbox One S and X. But if the Dolby Vision format could really appear on the Play Station 5 with a drive anytime soon, Sony would have already revealed it.
The PS5 player has quite a few features. For example, there is no way to tell the player which display the console is connected to so that it can adjust its output accordingly. There is also no way to set up audio sync. And this might be useful for those who transmit the sound of the console through a TV with ARC / eARC technology . It is in this variant that desynchronization occurs more often.
There is also no option to, say, disable HDR mode in 4K HDR content. This can be useful for low brightness projectors. However, this has always been an unlikely option for the console’s built-in 4K Blu-ray player.
PlayStation 5 Blu-Ray Surround sound
The PS5 Blu-ray player has a separate bitstream output option for 4K Blu-ray Player app on PS5. To access it, you need to press the PS5 options button (small white in the upper right corner of the touchpad), then scroll to the additional options icon in the form of three dots on the screen, then select settings and finally go to the “Audio” menu.
Under Format, select Bitstream instead of the default Linear PCM. And support for Dolby Atmos and DTS: X is provided. The console currently does not support Dolby Atmos or DTS: X in games or streaming applications. This will likely clear up when (or if) object audio becomes more important in PS5 games or across the entire streaming app ecosystem.
Game mode and playable formats
PS5 does not yet support automatic switching to low latency mode (ALLM). Therefore, remember to manually switch your TV from Game Mode to Standard or Cinema when watching 4K Blu-ray movies on your console. Failure to do so can have some rather unpleasant side effects such as reduced backlight performance and dimmer colors.
The last feature of the PlayStation 5 blu ray drive to consider is the number of playable disc formats. Although it’s easier to list the non-reproducible ones. There are 4K Blu-ray, HD Blu-ray, and DVD discs in the menu, but there is no support for 3D Blu-ray or even CDs. Sony has a stigma here. The PS4 also doesn’t support CDs, and 3D support was only added via a post-launch firmware update.
Comparison of PS5 player with stationary blur players
We made sure that the Sony PlayStation 5 blu ray cannot compete with a good stationary 4K Blu-ray player in terms of functionality. But can he assert himself at least at the performance level? In fact, yes. The PS5 player in a single test, without comparison with other players, shows detailed, clean, dynamic and colorful picture on the LG CX OLED TV screen .
Substantially better than HD Blu-ray. Even without Dolby Vision or HDR10 + (on Samsung TVs). Shades of black appear deep and uniform. The detail really matches 4K without artificial enhancement. The base luminance and luminance of individual highlights correspond to “HDR”. Colors look expressive, rich and clean. The wide color gamut adds naturalness and power to nearly all HDR discs.
Comparing it to the Oppo 205 immediately makes it clear that the PS5 lacks Dolby Vision. Oppo consistently delivers a more controlled, balanced and natural picture of vivid scenes. In short, even one frame is enough to clearly show the benefits you get from Dolby Vision’s enhanced color mastering.
More fair to compare PS5 drive with a stationary 4K Blu-ray player, the Panasonic UB820 . This mid-range unit supports both premium HDR Dolby Vision and HDR10 + formats. Although, unlike Oppo, it allows you to disable this support. And then you can make a direct comparison between PS5 and Panasonic.
It is quite difficult to distinguish between PS5 and UB820 images. Panasonic detects slightly more clarity and color neutrality. The detail in shades of black in the console player is the same as in the Panasonic 820. In the “shootout” with the budget Panasonic UB450, the PS5 player matched its rival almost at every step.
It is difficult to identify any really significant strengths of the image in a stationary player. The black levels look equally dark and dense, the detail and sharpness levels are almost identical as well. And colors are indistinguishable in terms of saturation and balance. But, as we have seen, HDR10 + and Dolby Vision can provide an advantage in picture quality when played back on a Panasonic player.
If your console is set to output 4K (which happens automatically with a 4K TV), then the built-in Sony PlayStation 5 UltraHD Blu Ray player upscales HD Blu-ray to 4K. The PS5 does a pretty good job of upscaling. First, a decent amount of detail is added. Neither noise nor natural graininess in the HD source is over-exaggerated by the upscaling process.
There is no glitch in Blu-ray section on PS5. All Blu-ray discs load and play flawlessly. Fast-forwarding / rewinding or skipping a chapter does not cause any frame rate or audio glitches. And there doesn’t seem to be a system stability issue from repeatedly switching between disc playback and the console’s main menu. You can even switch to a game and then easily return to the movie.
In conclusion of Sony’s PlayStation 5 Blu-ray review, it must be said that this is definitely not the ideal 4K Blu-ray player. Its unusual audio setup will surprise anyone, its inability to play 3D Blu-ray or Audio CDs is pretty unfounded. Dropping support for Dolby Vision HDR instantly makes it impossible to improve picture quality on compatible TVs.
However, its performance in standard HDR10 on 4K Blu-ray discs rivals the entry-level standalone 4K Blu-ray players. And only slightly inferior to mid-range devices. It also runs stably and is pretty smooth when configured correctly. It may not be the new 4K Blu-ray star that some Sony fans have been optimistic about. But its resources are enough for millions of future PS5 owners to understand the delights of 4K Blu-ray movies.