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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any experience with the Sherwood BDP-5004 BluRay player?
 

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Hello,
I have not personally used it, but it seems an excellent value and it is multiregion natively. This is an exceedingly rare thing. In addition, it is Profile 2.0 and offers all the other important features you need in a BDP.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The Sherwood BD-5004 Blu-ray player: a brief description.

The Sherwood BD-5004 is a slightly-above-entry-level Profile 2 Blu-ray player, listing for $199.99. As shipped in the U.S., it's configured for Region A BDs and Region 1 DVDs.

Supposedly our local A/V store will be selling this BD player instead of the comparable Panasonic that they've carried in the past. They stock other Sherwood equipment, too. They sell much more sturdily made Denon and Marantz players at higher price points.

The photographs below were taken by a hand-held Canon SD780IS and reduced in size from 4000x3000 to 800x600. The images below are thumbnails which link to the 800x600 pictures.


The box.

It's made from lightweight single-sheet cardboard and has a plastic strap handle on the top, not shown. Note that it's not the usual corrugated brown cardboard used for more expensive equipment. I got it at a local brick-and-moartar A/V store, where it had been hand-delivered by their Sherwood sales-rep. Hopefully more rugged packaging is used when the player is shipped by UPS or FedEx.


The contents, still in bags:
remote, traditional composite a/v cable, documents and player.

In addition to the plastic bag, the player has protective sheets of transparent plastic stuck to all of the shiny black plastic parts of its case. The remote's two penlight batteries aren't shown. I was amused to see that their brand name was "LARGE" and that they were rated "extra heavy duty."



The back panel:
captive power cord, component and composite video outs,
7.1 analog audio out, coax digital audio out,
HDMI, Ethernet and USB.

I don't know or care what kind of DACs it uses, since I'll use HDMI for audio as soon as my Marantz NR1501 comes back from getting its firmware updated. In the meantime, coaxial digital audio is feeding an ancient Pioneer VSX-D906S, while video is going over HDMI to the TV. Neither receiver has 7.1 inputs.

(I blanked out the serial number. It's in the 2000s)


Powered on in the dark.

Ouch!
The front panel lights are quite bright, with no way to turn them off while playing. Making an opaque cover would seem to be appropriate. I may just bend some cardboard. Supposedly some people have covered them with opaque tape. I'm reluctant to do anything semi-permanent.

The IR sensor is just to the left of the front-panel USB connector, which is just barely visible above the buttons.

The power button (invisibly dark at the left) turns power off entirely, so the bright red standby lamp can be avoided. Since you have to go to the player to insert a disc, it's no big deal to turn it on at the same time. When powered on, the player can be put into standby using the remote. I wish more U.S. equipment had real power-off buttons. Apparently it's common for equipment intended for the European market.


The screenshots below were taken off the screen of a
Vizio VX240M (24" diagonal, 1080p LCD; ~$300 list)



Power-on screen with Sherwood logo.


Display settings.

When playing at least some 4:3 DVDs, one must go into the service menu and change the TV Aspect to 16:9 pillarbox. Changing settings requires that the disc be stopped. This isn't a big deal for DVDs, since the player will pick up where they left off, but most BDs have to be started over from the beginning. Supposedly this is because the on-disc Java code doesn't know any better.


Info.

The player uses a Broadcom chipset. The various firmware and hardware revision levels are shown.


Audio output options.

There doesn't seem to be any way to configure the HDMI output separate from the digital output. So far I've only been using the "Bitstream Legacy" setting over S/PDIF.


Bass management.

Speakers can be set to large or small, with a choice of crossover frequencies for the Subwoofer. There are no distance or relative volume settings, which may be a problem for some listening environments.


Title/Chapter display.

Star Trek 2009 has lots of chapters!

This one-line display format is used for all disc types, which I find disappointing. In other words, it only shows the length of the current track when playing an audio CD, and you have to either type in the track number or use the "skip track" button to go to another track. I prefer to see the lengths of as many tracks as will fit on the screen and to be able to use up-down buttons to select on screen which track to listen to.

Folder icons are shown when playing a non-audio CD. I haven't tried playing from a USB thumb-drive yet.

One can select PCM downsampling to be off, 96KHz or 48KHz. Although its internal DACs run at 96KHz, one can hope that higher bitrates are forwarded when "Bitstream HD" is selected. There's no support for HDCD decoding. I should be able to find out next week if that's bitstreamed, too.


Why I got this player!

This is a screenshot of a Region 2 PAL DVD. (I don't have any Region B BD discs. Yet.)

When properly reconfigured, the player decodes 50Hz, 576i PAL DVDs in addition to 60Hz, 480i NTSC DVDs. When upscaling to HD 1080p/60 in the player as I do, one doesn't have to worry about the differences between NTSC and PAL video signals causing problems for the display hardware. (It supposedly can scale to 720p, too, for those with lower resolution displays. I didn't verify that.)

Mechanical aspects:

The player is very lightweight. It has no fan, so there are many slots in the sides and top for hot air to escape. Be careful not to block them. It gets warm to the touch when running. The drive makes very audible high-frequency squeaks and scrapes when loading a disc, although it's relatively quiet when playing. Hopefully it'll last longer than its 1 year warranty.

Firmware updates:

The manual does not mention firmware updates or how one would do them. There's no obvious selection in the menu, either. Presumably the procedure will be the same as for the no-longer-available Sherwood BDP-5003.

Issues:

1. It forgot the region-free configuration.
After playing several Region 2 DVDs in a row, the player stopped playing them. When a new disc was inserted, it was recognized as a DVD but the screen stayed blank.The player smelled "warm". After leaving it powered off overnight, I turned the player on, re-entered the configuration code and the same disc played fine. I dunno if this is a thermal issue (none of the vents were blocked) or something else.

2. The front panel USB connector can't be used with many USB sticks.
The hole in the plastic is too small and the plastic front panel is too thick. Although the thumb-drive's connector fits through the hole, the plastic prevents it from seating all the way: the USB connection doesn't connect. The back panel connector works fine.

3. The player sometimes generates a faint, intermittent high-pitched whistle when playing a disc.
The sound comes from within the player, not from the speakers.
 

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I have this player but I am clueless as to how it can be made to play PAL dvds or Region B Blu-ray. Can someone tell me exactly, step by step, how it needs to be reconfigured to do this? There are some region B BDs I would like to view, if possible.
 

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I have this player but I am clueless as to how it can be made to play PAL dvds or Region B Blu-ray. Can someone tell me exactly, step by step, how it needs to be reconfigured to do this? There are some region B BDs I would like to view, if possible.
Hi Chris and welcome to the Shack :T I was under the impression that it came region free in the first place as standard, hopefully selden can shed some light on this as I am not familiar with this player, it migth turn out to be a code that is required via the remote, but will wait for confirmation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Sherwood BDP-5004 seems to be an upgraded version of a player which is marketed as the Momitsu BDP-899. (E.g., the 5004 has multichannel 7.1 analog out instead of only stereo 2.0).

A review of the BDP-899 by DVDBeaver explains how to configure the player for different DVD and BD regions, although he had the mistaken impression that his player had been modified to make that possible.

A copy of the manual for the Momitsu player is also available on his Web site. The Momitsu menu layout is rather different from that of the Sherwood player.

In other words, do a Web search for the keywords
bdp-899 dvdbeaver
and read the first web page that it returns.

(My understanding is that HomeTheaterShack discourages the use of Web links unless they are absolutely necessary.)
 

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Thanks for the info and the welcome. The dvdbeaver site says you enter a
code with the tray empty. Do I need to be in a certain part of the set up menu for
this? I don't have any Region B BDS to try yet, but I have one on the way.

Issues I have had with this player already is that it froze while
loading Blu- rays a few times. When I ejected the discs and reloaded again it
played fine, except it would not play the BD of Risky Business at all.
This disc plays fine on my Samsung player.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
To enter the code, turn on the player, wait for it to finish initializing, then, with the tray still closed and empty, press the appropriate numbers on the numeric pad of the remote. Nothing will seem to happen. Then you can play an appropriate disc. The DVD setting is remembered when the player is powered off. Supposedly the BD setting reverts to the player's original value when the player goes into standby. I only have Region A (or Region-free) BDs, so I can't test that.

I haven't seen any hangs, but I've been watching more DVDs than BDs. I don't have Risky Business. What other BDs had problems?

p.s. That's not quite true. Once when I turned it on while a BD was still in the player, it took a very long time to initialize and the screen stayed blank instead of playing the disc. (I don't recall if it actually spun up the disc.) Opening and closing the drawer made the disc play fine. Most BDs cannot be restarted where they left off. My understanding is that this is an issue with the Java software on the disc itself, and not a player problem. I tthought this startup problem might be related. (Restarting in the middle works fine with DVDs.)
 

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Woodstock was the other disc it froze on while loading, but that played fine when I reloaded. Also one of my Criterion BDS,, Last Year At Marienbad, froze while loading. But that also played fine on second try. Only Risky Business won't play at all, and I tried several times.

Thanks for the info on the code, I am anxious to try it out when I have a region B disc to play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Of course, i don't have Woodstock or any Criterion BDs. :(
I'll investigate getting some.
 

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Now it does play Risky Business.. Not sure why it froze up so many times but it did play the disc finally. I would say the Sherwood is a bit erratic. It does play all kinds of dvds with no problems. I put in some cdrs with JPEG files and while it did read them it was very noisy doing so. But my Samsung doesn't read jpegs at all so...
 

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Usually the players performance improves with firmware updates for any problem discs that arise, hopefully Sherwood have a good software team to work on it...
 

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I can confirm it does play Region B Blu rays. Got one today, movie played with no problems but the extras would not play?! I had it turned off for awhile and put in a Region A BD, it did remember its region setting and would not play the disc until I reconfigured.
 

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The Sherwood must be one of the first players to become available that offers the selection of different regions, certainly an excellent option and just wish others would follow suit...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I can confirm it does play Region B Blu rays. Got one today, movie played with no problems but the extras would not play?!

You might double check to make sure the player is configured to upscale to 1080p.

Extras are often recorded from standard video (PAL in this case) and not hires. PAL usually can't play on NTSC TVs. It has more scanlines and encodes the color differently. Analog PAL on an analog NTSC TV is shown in black-and-white if the TV manages to sync to the signal. Digital TVs which are not themselves multi-standard usually can't show it at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The Sherwood must be one of the first players to become available that offers the selection of different regions, certainly an excellent option and just wish others would follow suit...
Unfortunately, it's my understanding that producing region-free players is a violation of the Blu-ray and DVD licensing. That's why unlocked players are usually modifications made by third parties and not by the manufacturers. Supposedly Oppo got into a lot of trouble for advertising that some of their players were multi-region. That's why their BDP-83 is region locked.

(Note my careful choice of words. Multi-region is not the same as region-free. You have to do something to change a multi-region player so it can play discs from different regions -- as is the case for DVD drives in PCs. Region-free players always play anything. A manufacturer publicizing the codes to do that certainly is a no-no. I hope the fact that Sherwood is not publicly advertising this capability will keep it "under the radar" so far as the BD and DVD licensors are concerned.)
 

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It is more or less the same scenario that happened with DVD players and region locked 1,2,3 and so on, it is just politics and it does make me laugh as most of the discs that become available on BD are Regions A,B and C so it really does defeat the object, copyrights and copying is something that is and always will be illegal and should not be done, but region locking is just a pain as it was with DVD back in the day but nearly all DVD players now are region free...
 
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