Sony BDP-S580 review:

Sony BDP-S580

Sony's content portal, Bravia Internet Video, is absolutely jam-packed with services. Even beyond the services listed above, Sony has a ton of niche video services that it supports, from Wired to Dr. Oz.

Amazon Instant Streaming is our favorite extra, especially for viewers without cable. While competing services like Vudu are a compelling alternative for video-on-demand movies, Amazon Instant offers by far the largest selection of TV shows for pay-per-view watching, including both network and cable shows. Sony Bravia Internet Video is also the only content portal to offer both Amazon Instant and Hulu Plus.

That being said, the BDP-S580 isn't our favorite Blu-ray player for streaming media, because of the user interface shortcomings discussed before. Again, check out our extensive hands-on review of streaming on Blu-ray players for comparisons.

HDMI outputs Single Analog outputs Stereo
Component video output Yes Digital audio outputs Coaxial
USB ports 2 SD card slot No

The Sony BDP-S580 has the same assortment of ports you find on most Blu-ray players. As usual its component output is limited to 480i resolution because of annoying AACS rules.

Blu-ray disc load times and player speed

Blu-ray disc load times and player speed
Average seconds Composite score
Disc loading 42.41 Disc loading 94
Netflix 23.72 Netflix 131
Navigation 5.57 Navigation 135
CNET speed rating 109
Higher composite scores indicate faster performance, with an average 2011 Blu-ray player having a composite score of 100. For more information, see our guide to how we test Blu-ray players.

CNET speed rating (composite score)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

The Sony BDP-S580 has a CNET speed rating of 109, which means it's faster than an average 2011 midrange Blu-ray player. The relatively high speed score is due to fast Netflix and navigation times, both of which are significantly faster than the competition.

The BDP-S580 is actually a little below average in disc-loading times, so if you'll mostly be using the player to watch Blu-ray movies, it may not be the best choice. The competing Panasonic DMP-BDT210 is the fastest disc-loading player we've reviewed this year.

If you're interested in all the details about the BDP-S580's speed compared with other 2011 players, check out our full 2011 Blu-ray player comparison chart and scroll down to the load times section.

Image quality
We put the BDP-S580 through our full battery of image quality tests, but before we get to the results, let's be perfectly clear--we don't think most buyers should worry about image quality when deciding what Blu-ray player to buy. The differences, especially on the Blu-ray side, range from minute to nonexistent, and even DVD performance is very close between players. The only exception is for people with home theater projectors, where you may actually see a difference on a 100-plus-inch screen. In that case, it may be worth shelling out for a reference-level Blu-ray player like the Oppo BDP-93.

If you're into the nitty-gritty image quality details, again, check out our full 2011 Blu-ray player comparison chart and scroll down to the performance section. For more information on our testing procedure, you can read more about how we test Blu-ray players.

Blu-ray image quality: test patterns and program material
Film resolution Pass 'Ghost Rider' Pass
Video resolution Pass 'Mission Impossible: III' Pass
Text overlay on film Pass 'Sunshine' Pass
Cadence tests 8/8 'Tony Bennett: An American Classic' Pass
Chroma zone plate Pass 'NIN Live: Beside You in Time' Pass

You'll find no complaints from us on Blu-ray image quality, as the BDP-S580 passed every single test we threw at it. The only other Blu-ray player that performs that this well is the Oppo BDP-93, which sells for $500. However, we wouldn't read too much into that, as all the players have essentially identical image quality under real-world viewing conditions.

Streaming-video image quality
Netflix Pass

Though the image quality of Netflix streaming video varied a little bit last year between players, we haven't observed any differences so far among this year's models. The BDP-S580 provides the same Netflix image quality as other players, but remember streamed image quality varies a lot on a title-by-title basis, and also depends heavily on the quality of your broadband connection and home network.

DVD image quality: Test patterns and program material
Film resolution Pass 'Seabiscuit' Pass
Video resolution Pass 'Star Trek: Insurrection' Pass
Text overlay on film Pass 'Invite Them Up' Pass
Cadence tests 7/8

DVD image quality was overall excellent on the BDP-S580, passing all of our program material tests. While it did fail a 2:2 cadence test, it's relatively rare for that to be relevant to typical media watching.

The Sony BDP-S580 has built-in Wi-Fi and more streaming services than all current competing Blu-ray players, but its user interface is mediocre.

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