Being a 400 disc changer means you can stuff a large collection of movies in it, but without a good system for navigating that collection, you’re stuck trying to remember which slot out of 400 held “Dark Knight.” As pointed out earlier, this unit allows you to cycle through an onscreen guide of disc box art much like you would with an iPhone or video on demand.
Each time you load in a new disc, the player jumps online to access the Gracenote database to retrieve the disc’s meta data. It works the same for DVDs and CDs as with Blu-ray discs.
Individually it takes about 40 seconds for the player to pull down the box art and store it in the system. If you’re loading several movies, or 400, all at once you can instruct the machine to get all the box art in one swoop. If you do it that way, be prepared to leave the room and occupy yourself for a while. For some reason the player refused to identify the Blu-ray version of “Bolt,” despite repeated attempts.
Playing a single disc in this megachanger isn’t much different from playing a disc in any other player. From a cold start (with quick start turned on), the player took just over a minute to turn on and load a freshly inserted disc. That time is cut down to about to about 40 seconds for a disc that’s already in the player and cataloged. If you’re searching for a movie you previously loaded, just use the up and down buttons on the remote to cycle through all the titles.
If you loaded a movie that comes with two discs (one for the movie and one for the bonus features), they’re labeled disc 1 and disc 2. Simply scroll to the disc you want, and press enter. Then the player will load it and act just like a single disc player. The machine reserves slot one for rental movies, and there’s even a rental button on the remote that opens the player directly to slot one.
Video performance is what you’d expect from Sony’s ES line. During the stop-motion animation “Coraline,” the picture was nearly flawless. In only a few scenes did I notice some slight shimmer that shouldn’t have been there in panning shots. Detail was superb, and color gradations were smooth, possibly due to the 14-bit processing.
The BD version of “Transformers” also looked good, though some of the faster action scenes that relied heavily on CGI seemed less distinct. The player handled jaggies and resolution test patterns from a Silicon Optix HQV disc very well, showing no problems on either.
As a BD-Live player (profile 2.0), the BDP-CX7000ES can access online content associated with BD movies. Surprisingly, this player doesn’t come with built-in memory as do several other, less expensive ones, so you need to insert a USB flash drive into a slot in the back of the unit. For a $1,900 player, you’d think Sony could cough up $5 worth of memory. Other than that gripe, BD Live worked fine. The speed at which a player accesses BD Live content is more dependent on the connection and the movie studio’s server, but this player did connect quickly nevertheless.
So who needs a 400-disc Blu-ray player? Anyone who intends to collect (or already has) 400 Blu-ray discs is a good candidate. It stores DVDs and CDs, as well, so you can feed it those collections. And if you go over that amount, you can link them together and access all the content from one on-screen interface.
While I like the convenience of hard-drive based servers and streaming video boxes, there’s no overlooking the picture quality difference of a Blu-ray disc. Besides, hard drives fail, optical discs don’t—unless you mishandle them, a problem you won’t have with this player.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.