In the field of Blu-ray, the Japanese manufacturer introduced Sony BD-S7600 and the premium Sony UHP-H1. In this review we look at the latter model, with almost everything that you can expect from a premium Blu-ray player, including 4K upscaling.
Sony UHP-H1 specifications
The Sony UHP-H1 is a premium player for high resolution sound and video, and therefore not just a Blu-ray player. Via a disk, the home network or streaming from music services such as Spotify you can play all kinds of media. It is also possible to play a CD, super audio CD or audio files from a USB stick and you can connect the player to a multiroom network.
The player can upscale full HD content to 4K but is not an Ultra HD Blu-ray player for the latest discs. The sound and image quality of the UHP-H1 is made possible by a Frame & Beam design that reduces mechanical vibration to the minimum. It is also equipped with a wide range of audio codecs that allow you to play files up to 192 kHz / 24 bit and Double DSD (5.6 MHz). Low resolution audio can be upgraded to high resolution audio via DSEE-HX. The analogue two-channel audio output to the hi-fi amplifier, home cinema reciever or soundbar runs via an audio DAC (32 bit, 768 kHz). You can also connect Bluetooth headsets.
Most Blu-ray players send both sound and video to the TV via the same HDMI output. But the UHP-H1 can split the sound and image signals and send them via separate HDMIs. This reduces the electrical interference. In addition, there is the Audio Direct function which switches off the video output from the player and the display, thus guaranteeing optimal audio reproduction. Furthermore, the player comes with a RCA output, an optical output, a digital coaxial output and a USB port. The Sony UHP-H1 has been given a suggested retail price of 400 euros.
For this review use the Panasonic DXW904 lcd led tv and the Marantz SR7009 receiver .
Sony UHP-H1 – design
Regarding the appearance, the UHP-H1 is a fairly normal player, although it is somewhat larger, heavier and more robust than the cheaper competition. The player has a sleek design, with a black line at the front containing the display and the drawer. The device has an aluminum housing with a gray-colored top and bottom. However, you can not see the most important thing about the design. Sony has made every effort to create a stable device that can render audio and video as optimally as possible. This means that the chassis is strengthened, that the placement of all components has been re-examined, that the disc tray is reinforced and that the top side is provided with a special structure that reduces jitter. High-quality components and a premium design must together ensure the best reproduction of audio and video.
However, the remote control does not do much justice to the above. This is very light and completely made of plastic. The main functions are directly accessible on the remote control and the accessory is easy to handle, but a premium extension of the player is not real.
Sony UHP-H1 – ease of use
In terms of ease of use it is okay with the UHP-H1. Sony has left the menu structure of the past few years virtually unchanged and that is the ease of use. When you start the player for the first time, you are immediately asked to connect to the internet and then you enter the homescreen where you can install apps and change the input. The menu structure for the settings speaks for itself and you can easily browse through all options without getting lost.
Loading Blu-ray discs is fairly fast, and with the quick start function you can watch a movie within 10 to 15 seconds. The speed of the software is also good. The UHP-H1 is fast enough to browse comfortably through the smart functions, the apps and the menus, and input on the remote control is also acutely registered and executed. In short, in terms of ease of use it is good.
Sony UHP-H1 – features
We are no longer allowed to speak on a smart TV platform on Blu-ray players, but access to apps is certain. Sony offers access to the most popular apps from the homescreen, which you can link to the homescreen yourself. The offer is excellent, including Kijk, NOS, Videoland, Netflix, YouTube and Spotify. From the homescreen you can also choose the inputs for usb, disc and the home network.
Of course, the UHP-H1 has more interesting features. DLNA is present so that you can easily connect to devices in your home network, and Screen Mirroring allows you to display the screen of your smartphone or tablet on TV. This, however, must also be supported by the mobile device. The media player of the UHP-H1 is easy to use and supports almost all popular file formats, including MPEG2 / 4, DivX HD, AVCH, MKV, WMV, FLAC, WMA, DSD 5.6, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, AACAPE, OGG , AIFF, JPEG and MPO. In terms of discs you can use Blu-ray, DVD, DVD audio, CD and sacd discs. Even 3D Blu-ray is still supported by Sony.
Another interesting feature is that the UHP-H1 has support for SongPal. This means that when you have SongPal speakers at home, you can connect them wirelessly to the Blu-ray player. Then you can play music or other media wirelessly over your WiFi network via the speakers.
Sony UHP-H1 – image quality
However, it is all about the image quality and the audio quality, the parts that Sony focuses on with the UHP-H1. In terms of image quality, you can best use the player ‘pure’, which means that you disable most image editing options and send the signal as clean as possible towards the screen.
Chances are that you still have a large collection of DVDs and so it is good to hear that the UHP-H1 with SD content is fine too. The player processes DVD material impressively well, without loss of detail or other unwanted side-effects. Hard lines are rendered particularly tight and also fast moving images hardly seem to pose a problem for this player. With the upscale function it is therefore good; the maximum is achieved from DVDs.
For HD content we have once again grabbed Gravity’s Blu-ray and the UHP-H1 shows that its strength lies here. The player provides a sharp view on both an HD and an ultra HD TV. We are presented with a particularly clean, balanced and dynamic image, with natural and convincing colors that splash from the screen. The ultra hd upscaler does its job perfectly and creates a little more finesse in the image, with enough subtle details. There are no negative effects such as noise, jitter or artifacts, and even rapid movements of the camera or objects in the picture are absorbed very fluidly. The gray gradations and black values can also be called good, so that details remain visible in dark parts of the screen and you get a little more depth of feeling. Nothing is ‘overworked’ but rather natural, smooth and realistic. And we want that right; no distraction but just a tight, clean and beautiful picture.
Sony UHP-H1 – audio quality
There is nothing to complain about in the audio view. When we watch a movie, dialogues are displayed with sufficient warmth and clarity, surround effects are convincing and tight, and the soundtrack is provided with sufficient dynamics and power. Just like the image display, the audio reproduction comes close to perfection here.
But, the UHP-H1 is not only good for films, but also the maximum from your music collection. However, the music reproduction is also very good. Besides a dedicated audio player (CD player) you just miss some flexibility and subtle details, but for an all-round media player the quality is very good. The UHP-H1 gives a very wide audio field with a clear idea of space. Instruments are clearly separated from each other and placed in space, and there is sufficient life and dynamics in the audio reproduction. There is enough detail to hear a warm and natural view as if the artist is singing for you.
Sony UHP-H1 – conclusion
All in all, we can say that the Sony UHP-H1 is not just a Blu-ray player that you watch movies with. This device is a complete media player that lets you view both audio and video, from all sources you have, with good quality above average. You have access to various internet services, can view your own music collection wirelessly and with a USB or disc, and get a lively and convincing audio and video experience. Add to that the simple but sleek design and simple menus and you have a complete player that offers value for money.