Want a fast-working Blu-ray player that can upscale your existing discs to Ultra HD 4K quality? If you do, you've probably got an Ultra HD telly and won't mind paying the premium that the BDP-S6200 demands over Sony's drop-down BDP-S5200.
The BDP-S6200 (£199, US$179.99), just like the BDP-S5200, spins both 2D and 3D Blu-ray discs, but adds both Ultra HD 4K upscaling and a dual core processor.
If the former is likely to be viewed as a future-proof feature that you may or may not ever get around to using, the latter increases usability exponentially.
Why do you need a dual core processor? Speed. The use of the ageing XrossMediaBar (XMB) user interface that first found favour on the PlayStation3 is a bit strange, though the processing power in the Sony BDP-S6200 is such that I was able to skip around the menus quicker than on Sony's other 2014 Blu-ray machines.
The Sony BDP-S6200's plethora of apps load faster, too. And there's a huge choice. Perhaps too many; apps from Sony's own Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) collection are displayed either as a list on the XMB or in an online hub, but there's also the small matter of Opera TV Store.
Accessed via the network menu, this is an additional smart TV platform that adds hundreds of second-rung apps including – on the UK version we tested – Viewster, AccuWeather, Facebook, Intsagram for Opera, Vimeo, World Clocks and a few dedicated movie trailer apps. It's light on video.
Is Sony paranoid about SEN? It shouldn't be, though the absence in the UK of both the ITV Player and 4OD apps will put-off many from investing.
Sony needs to rethink the Recommendations icon, which during my test, presented four icons for Lloyds Bank, Wickes, ActionCam Channel and Socialife News Apps but when you toggle through each all you see is an advert. To me, that's unacceptable; when I spend money on a product I don't expect to see it stained by random advertising.
Apps on SEN were plentiful after spending ten minutes updating the software from M21.R.0071 to M21.R.0112. However this update was prompted only by the sudden appearance of a 'software update' option on the Settings drop-down, rather than by a pop-up message.
Highlights on the UK version include Sony's own Video and Music Unlimited services alongside Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, BBC iPlayer, Demand Five, BBC News, BBC Sport, Sky News, YouTube and Facebook. However, if you want to stream anything you will have to have a USB stick attached to the BDP-S6200. Have a root around and you'll also find music apps like vTuner (radio), National Public Radio and Berliner Philharmonic.
Connecting via Super WiFi (potentially capable of streaming 4K video from Sony's Video Unlimited service) or wired LAN on the rear (alongside HDMI, coxial digital out and a USB slot), the apps load quickly and play stably.
I couldn't test the BDP-S5200's screen mirroring system due to my Android tablet not being compatible, which tells you all you need to know about the Miracast tech behind it. Apple devices need not apply.
Sony also has a wider-reaching TV SideView app for tablets and smartphones, which displays TV schedules and includes a virtual remote control that can indulge in both text entry and one-touch launching of any app installed from SEN. It also includes Sony's Gracenote system for accessing synopsis, cast and crew information for both TV programmes and movies, including the disc in the BDP-S5200's tray.
2D and 3D Blu-ray discs are handled competently on a regular Full HD TV, with the old colours and exacting detail of both 12 Years A Slave and Gravity 3D test Blu-ray discs within an overall very smooth experience. Even low quality video files and DVDs look clean, though the BDP-S6200's headline trick is Ultra HD 4K upscaling, which I tested with a Samsung 55HU7500 Ultra HD telly.
Sadly, it's a bit of a disappointment. Regular Blu-ray discs do look rather soft on the 55HU7500, much like a DVD does on a Full HD telly, but in a head-to-head comparison with the non-4K-capable BDP-S1200, the BDP-S6200 didn't appear to make a great deal of difference.
I still saw both jagged edges and noise around moving objects. The upscaling perhaps clears-up a little of the picture noise in backdrops, but the BDP-S6200's 4k upscaling is really nothing to get excited about it.