Sony DVP-NS325 review:

Sony DVP-NS325

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Superior disc compatibility; excellent anamorphic downconversion; multiple picture modes.

The Bad No optical audio output, progressive-scan video, or photo disc support.

The Bottom Line This entry-level player is a good choice for optimizing wide-screen DVD picture quality on standard analog TVs.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.7 Overall

<p>The DVP-NS325, Sony's 2003 entry-level DVD player, is one of a dwindling number of models on the market that don't support progressive-scan playback. With a street price of about $90 and a modest feature set, the NS325 is targeted squarely at buyers looking for a no-frills player backed by the Sony name. <br><br> With very few exceptions, the NS325 is the spitting image of <a href="/Sony_DVP_NS315S/4505-6473_7-9797732.html?tag=txt">its predecessor</a>, the NS315, in both looks and features. The unit is available in <span data-shortcode="link" data-link-text="silver" data-asset-type="review" data-uuid="b23a7bc1-9d89-11e2-853d-0291187978f3" data-slug="sony-dvp-ns325"></span> and black; the model name indicates the color with a <i>/S</i> or a <i>/B.</i> The player's styling is minimalist, with only two highlights: to the left is the disc tray, and on the right is a small cluster of controls, including a fast-forward/rewind dial. The medium-size remote is comfortable, has a decent button layout, and controls Sony televisions. The onscreen setup menu proved easy to access and navigate. <br><br> The NS325's DVD connectivity options are standard, although its only digital-audio hookup is coaxial, not optical. Sony bolstered the otherwise basic feature package with five video and four audio preset modes, a six-disc-resume memory, and black-level adjustability. <br><br> One of the player's strong suits turned out to be media compatibility. The NS325 effortlessly booted every DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, VCD, MP3 disc, and standard-audio CD-R we threw at it, including some that tripped up other decks. Better still, most loaded in just a couple of seconds; even our less than optimal, home-burned test discs skipped their usual interminable spin-up time. Our MP3 selections provided easy folder navigation and luxurious, 32-character track names, but no random or shuffle playback is available. If you want to listen to WMA music files or view JPEG photos, look elsewhere; the NS325 can't handle either. <br><br> When it comes to general video quality, the NS325 exhibited the high level we've come to expect from most DVD decks. But we were extremely impressed by this Sony's excellent <i>anamorphic downconversion.</i> In this process, a player converts the image from an <i>anamorphic,</i> or Enhanced For Widescreen, DVD to fit a standard 4:3 TV. Most DVDs are anamorphic, but people usually watch them on non-wide-screen sets, so this performance issue, though often overlooked, is important. Lots of players do a poor job. <br><br> The thatched and angled roofs of the <i>Star Trek: Insurrection</i> opening wreak havoc with the majority of our test models, but the NS325 displayed smooth surfaces and well-defined lines with significantly fewer stair-step artifacts and unnatural undulations. But note that neither wide-screen TVs nor 4:3 sets with vertical compression, a.k.a. anamorphic squeeze, benefit from the NS325's conversion prowess. <br><br> If you don't need progressive-scan video or support for JPEG-photo discs, the NS325 is an overall good choice, and we particularly recommend it to 4:3 TV owners who want a budget player that delivers optimal anamorphic-DVD image quality. </p>

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