170 of 186 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2013
Recently got a Sharp 3D LED Smart TV and could no longer stand limiting myself to DVD. I went into my research with quite a few requirements the most important being the speakers needed to be hung using my existing threaded speaker mounts. This is the only sub $300 systems i could find that can be hung using threaded speaker mounts. Unfortunately in Sony's quest to make set up as easy as possible the speaker wires are hard wired to the speakers. I have surround sound pre-wired in my house and was forced to splice connections for it to work. Just kind of silly that they would have threading to mount but then have the cables hard wired. Sony's easy set up is great for novices but can cause some extra work for those with a bit more experience. This wasn't a deal breaker but it is the reason I only gave it 4 stars.
The next requirement I had was to leverage the HDMI linking functionality (BRAVIA Link by Sony, AQUAS Link by Sharp, Viera Link by Panasonic) which allows you to control TV and surround sound system with 1 remote. Before I found a killer deal on my Sharp TV I was going to go the Panasonic route, but I cannot pass up a good deal. This meant I would have to either use a sharp surround sound or pay $$$$ for a harmony remote. Getting a Sharp surround sound was out as they do not offer Blu-ray/Surround sound in 1. Before dropping a whole bunch of money for the Harmony remote I decided to see what would happen when I hooked everything up and to my great surprise the link function worked. This allows me to control the volume and power on and off the system. It also automatically switches TV inputs when I put in a Blu-ray or DVD. Essentially my surround sound system has become my TV speakers without me having to push any extra buttons, ever! I can control everything I need using the DirecTV remote.
I am very pleased with the quality of sound produced by the system though audio from the TV link is at a lower level than audio from the Blu-ray or other sources.
Comparing with my new Smart TV the GUI overall does not seem quite as polished. Despite this, I am very pleased with the huge amount of streaming options available on this system. There are at least double the options compared with my new Sharp Smart TV (including Amazon). I'll take content over polish any day!
I am still trying to work out exactly how to utilize the NFC connection for streaming audio. I've been able to do it a few times but I have not been able to wake the system out of standby mode using my NFC Smartphone. Generally I'm pleased with the Bluetooth audio streaming function. It is much more convenient to than using the native Pandora or other streaming music players allowing you complete control without requiring you to have your TV on.
Great Job Sony!
So I've had my Sony for a few months now and am still very pleased with it. Just a few things that I have experienced: Sometimes the audio link between my Sharp TV and the Sony gets confused (audio will play from both TV and surround sound or no audio from either). It isnt really a big deal I just have to turn both TV and Sony off and then restart and the issue is fixed. Happens maybe once every 2-3 weeks (usually because my kids are playing with the remotes).
Because my Audio is linked with my tv the receiver is never really "off" it just goes into standby mode. Start up is very quick but the shut down into standby mode seems to take quite a while, sometimes 30 seconds or so. Not a huge deal, just kinda annoying when my 5 year old turns off the sony while i'm still watching TV. Takes almost a min to get everything back up and running.
A month or two ago I had an issue with the Sony not being able to connect Netflix. It would error out even before getting to a log in screen. For a few weeks I ran netflix through my Smart TV but it really sucked as there was no way to route the sound to my sony. Tried a few things and finally got it fixed by resetting my TV to factory specs. I'm not sure why re-setting my TV fixed my surround sound netflix connection issues but it did. I have not had any Netflix issues since. works great!
Very pleased with the TV SideView: Remote by Sony app for my android phone. Recently the Sony remote was lost (yes my my 5 year old hid it; are you sensing a theme here...) spent about 10 min looking for it because I wanted to watch netflix (my direcTV remote will do everything i need for watching tv and blurays but will not navigate very well in the streaming apps) and then I remembered that I had the remote app. It works perfectly and does everything the real remote can do and allows you to enter text. Used the app for the next week until I was able to get my 5 year old to tell me where he hid the real remote.
Overall I am still very very happy with the Sony. Works very well streaming, playing BluRays and DVDs and even 3D blurays/directv 3d content (haven't done this too much). Still a wonderful unit!
Recently moved and spent about 4 hours connecting my "in wall" surround sound set up (thanks again for hard wiring the cables to the speakers Sony). Anyway, heat shrink is a great thing. I no longer have DirecTV but the same setup with the Bravia link works with my HD DVR from the cable company.
I did have an issue with the audio being off when watching Blu Rays and especially DVDs. My understanding is it is a delay caused by tv processing, but some quick minor adjustments to the BDV-e3100 A/V sync feature fixed it. Also, if you happen to lose the remote (thanks kids) and you wife does not want to use the sony app it is not available on Sony's web site. You will have to call and it will set you back about $30 when you add in shipping and tax. Still very happy with the system. Works perfectly for my needs.
87 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2014
Not too long ago, the sound system I had in my living room started to die. It was time for a new system, and I did my research. I ended up coming down to this system and the higher-end Sony system the 7100W as my choices. At the end of the day I went with this one given taking into account some personal concerns noted in other reviews - 1 HDMI hookup, for tv the max volume caps out, and that it is wired.
I feel compelled to write this because in my research, I spent a lot of times looking at other reviews, and per my rating, my worries were allayed.
My family room is not that large, and there is only an area rug, which all leads to sound traveling and not being absorbed. It is also not too huge. I was able to set up my tv, my cable, and my xbox to the system. Note: a digital optical cable is needed. So, I set up the 3100 to the tv via hdmi. I then used my optical cable for the sound system to cable. I have a jerry rigged xbox with an hdmi feed to the tv, and RC cable for sound; the latter was also plugged into the sound system. So, my concern in having only one hdmi hook up disappeared quickly.
I was then able to set up the front side speakers to the front of my room, and then place the surround speakers to the sides of my couch against the walls. It is an awesome set up. To give an obvious spoiler, Sony has the settings to simulate surround sound 5.1 with rc cables (2 channels). My xbox sounds amazing with the system, and if that can sound that good with rc cables, you can imagine it boding well for the other connections. I know that nothing fully compares to hdmi for sound, but the technology for Sony is so good all the same, that I am not losing sleep. Blue Tooth sounds really strong as well. My GF and set up our phones and streamed a few songs with clear treble and deep bass - we were both very happy.
Running the system is rather easy as well. You can go through many options with intuitive ease.
Per other suggestions, the volume does run lower on tv settings as opposed to the blu ray, and even rc audio hookup. However, I can't put the sound system up to full volume in my place without it simply sounding too loud. One other great feature of good surround sound, when it is all around you, you don't need it to be super loud.
I would consider myself a bit of a sound geek, and I spent a lot of time (because I'm ocd that way) tweeking the speaker settings as well as going through the different EQ settings. I love good treble as well as bass, so I usually have my setting on the music setting with the Rock EQ pre-setting. And like other reviews, the bass is damned good for a submissive subwoofer. I had a jbl bass20 before, which could bring it, and I have to say the transition is good. The sound clarity rocks.
I put in the Dark Knight on a regular dvd, to see the scalability with the layering technology, and what they say is true. Regular dvds to in fact look hd, like around 720p.
All in all, I'm more than happy. I went into buying this system with good reviews, but was still surprised at how good it sounds and how well it runs.
If you're looking for the surround system and you are ok with it wired, you should get this without hesitation. If you do have a huge room, maybe a lot of carpet and want wireless speakers, I'd recommend trying the Sony high-end versions, 7100w and the 8100w. I can say for my living room layout, that this system is more system than I need, and I'm fine with that. So far I would say that the quality far exceeds the price, which is also why I figure that the high end versions have to be phenomenal.
I highly recommend this system.
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2013
Best. Purchase. Ever. Very good performance, i really enjoy this theater system. You don't need to have a wi-fi connection to have fun with this but it sure is a plus as there is way more entertainment available if you are very bored. Make sure you're wi-fi internet speed is of optimal performance tho. This device is compatible with 3D Blu-ray discs, Regular Blu-ray discs, Any DVDs, and any music CDs. The Bluetooth and NFC features on this is something i fell in love with as it gives you 2 ways of connecting your smartphone or whatever device has Bluetooth or NFC capabilities wirelessly. Jam to your tunes and vids wirelssly! You can even sync your mobile youtube account with the device and stream videos. The sound system is another plus as it has great sound quality. I like the flexibility and features this Sony device has. I recommend this to anyone.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2014
This unit plays DVDs and Blu-Rays beautifully, and the sound is very good, but it randomly shuts itself off in the middle of a movie. I've played many different movies on it, and there is no pattern. Old movies, brand new movies, it doesn't seem to matter -- part way through a movie the unit will just suddenly go into "STDBY" mode and then after blinking for 10 seconds it shut off. I complained to Amazon and they immediately shipped me a replacement. The replacement does exactly the same thing. I've gone through all of the options and settings -- I have the "screen saver" mode turned off. It's very annoying to have to continually restart a movie because the unit just decides it's time to take a nap. It also does stupid things like switching to TV mode as soon as I put in a disk. Why would any disk player switch to TV channel mode when the user inserts a disk? Obviously if I insert a disk I want it to play the disk?!?!? This Sony unit has done nothing but increase my blood pressure. It is the most frustrating player I've ever used.
I installed the latest firmware (M16.R.0193) and the problem persists. It randomly shuts off in the middle of a movie. I bought a brand new Blu-Ray movie yesterday (Titanic) and tested it on the new disk, and it again shut off several times during the movie. Sony needs to fix this problem ASAP or they're going to be receiving hundreds or thousands of returns.
I finally got sick of this thing rebooting in the middle of my DVDs/BluRays and returned it to Amazon. I instead bought a Samsung BD-H6500 blu-ray player and a Yamaha YHT-4910UBL surround system, and both work beautifully. The image rendered by the Samsung player is at least as good as the Sony, and my impression is that fast scenes are rendered smoother. The Samsung seems more immediately responsive to the remote control, responding immediately with no delays like the Sony; also, there were times when I'd try to insert a disk but the Sony wouldn't close the tray, as it seemed to be "thinking"; so far the Samsung doesn't seem to have this problem. The Samsung remote lights up, unlike the Sony, so it's easier to operate in the dark. The Yamaha surround sound produces sound at least as good as the Sony, but the bass is much more pronounced, rattling my windows in a way the Sony didn't, but with an option to adjust the subwoofer manually via a dial on the back which the Sony doesn't have. The 500 watts of the Yamaha actually seem louder than the advertised 1000W of the Sony, somehow. On the Yamaha you have to cut and strip your own speaker wire, but that allows you to customize the lengths of the wires to your home, unlike the pre-cut wires of the Sony. The Samsung+Yamaha system is twice as expensive as the Sony, but worth the extra cost to me, due to the hassle of trying to get the Sony to behave.
33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2013
Damn this system booms, and I'm writing this as I'm listening to it. Awesome sound quality as always from Sony products. Love the fact that it has a built in internet browser and access to almost 30 different Sony Apps. Great system for the money, 1000 watts, I mean come on and I got this for just $184 through Amazon warehouse deals with free shipping ZERO TAX ADDED TO THE PRICE and it shipped for free. I feel like I've got the best system around and it makes me really want to listen to music the way it was intended, I haven't even popped in my first Blu ray video but I know that the film quality will shock me as much as the sound, I mean come on its a Sony! Thank you AMAZON. Oh and did I mention the shipping only took 2 1/2 days. I think ill be shopping online a hell of a lot more after this for my big purchases. GOD BLESS THE INTERNET AND AMAZON!
53 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2013
Beside playing blu rays also stream your media from PCs, play media out of USB drives including mkv movies. Also has netflix and Amazon Instant. Sound is really good also. I highly recommend this unit.
34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2014
Well, first things first. Sony has had a reputation in the past for manufacturing things with non-standard ports, memory and other things. This is no different. (I suppose I should have done more research.) Each speaker comes with its own "special" audio cable and male port adapter so it can plug into the custom interface on the back of the player. Since it doesn't use standard speaker connections, (either optical or wired), I had to spend an hour or two cutting apart the wires and splicing them together so I could use real speaker wiring instead of the flimsy junk connected to their speakers. (Looks like I voided my manufacturer's warranty too.) If you have a home with wiring that is pre-installed for surround sound, don't get these speakers. You will only be annoyed and disappointed as you spend time shipping it back for a refund and then waiting to get a different getup.
Once that was completed, hanging up the speakers was simple, I have nails with broad heads so they hang easily on my wall. Pushpins also worked well for the center speaker. They have screw posts for floor mounts as well.
The interface takes a little getting used to, and some of the sections have huge amounts of options, its amazing. I haven't figured out how to customize the volume output of each speaker if your speaker positioning isn't "perfect" and requires some modification. Setting up the WiFi was a breeze, creating accounts and logging on to various services was easy as well. The system is also fairly responsive, a definite + compared to my previous product owned. Only downside is, it only supports DLNA for file sharing, and DLNA is a Pain-In-The-Booty in my opinion. An option to use standard network file-sharing would be great.
So after that was all done, I decided to watch a film. The audio quality was good, I'm not an audiophile so as long as it works and I don't detect any distortions or compression, clipping, we're good.
There was one annoying issue with the device so far, and it's that the fan that is installed in the device is /loud./ It doesn't run all the time, but when it runs for a brief moment to cool the components, you can hear a very distinctive whirring noise, especially during quieter scenes. (This is from more than 5 feet away!) Considering this, I am highly, highly annoyed with that, and I hope I'll learn to ignore it as time goes on, or avoid watching DVDs/Blu-Ray Discs in it.
This is only within a few hours of ownership, I hope I don't find any more nasty surprises.
---Two Months of Ownership Later---
This device is missing a ton of codecs for playing back video via USB, several videos that you can view on your PC will simply not play on this device because it is "Corrupt or Unsupported." (I'm voting for the latter.) There was also an interesting issue where my USB drive would not get mounted/loaded into the system once inserted. A complete reboot solved that problem... Every time. (A recent update may have fixed that though, Kudos to Sony.) Another note, it's file playback manager is terrible, there are no shuffle features for music playback, no playlist generation and DLNA is woefully bad for this purpose as well. (I've made playlists and every other DLNA capable device sees them and uses them, but this Home Theater System, nope.) Other than the fact that it sucks as a semi-complete home media solution, (can't watch lots of your own videos or stream "unsupported" video formats to your PC with DLNA (which is growing more and more useless...) it runs well at the very least. Still haven't found the other options I was looking for, though that's probably because I am spending all of my time trying to find acceptable workarounds to view the files I have on my brand-new (but decidedly poor), Home Theater System. (As an example, to get a "shuffled" playlist to play on it, I had to generate a randomly generated sequence of numbers from random.org and then rename all of the files I wanted to play on a USB drive...) Only took me two hours to figure out after monkeying around and discovering it's limitations.
Bottom line, find a different product that isn't produced by a company that has a financial interest in forcing limitations upon their hardware, and thusly you. Support any other company that will provide you with a superior product overall. Even if you have to put up with a little menu stutter here and there, it will be a more positive experience than I have had with this device. My difficulties with it have only compounded since I bought it, and so the device has gotten downgraded to one star.
I can only hope that this information serves to dissuade others from purchasing this in the hopes that they can get a decent home theater system for a fair price.
There is also a fascinating issue with the DVD/Blu-Ray playback, when a disc is inserted and being watched, the system will spontaneously crash and reboot. I suspect it is because the device doesn't have proper cooling to handle everything, (imagine that, Sony cutting corners here too...) resulting in overheating which forces the system to reboot to avoid critical component damage. Kind of useless as a DVD/Blu-Ray player if it reboots every 15 minutes... Sony support is likely going to be effectively
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This review is for the Sony BDV-E3100 5.1 Channel 3d Blu-ray Surround Sound System.
Summary - If you don't have time to read my whole review, here is the short version. Sony has propriety speaker wire which can be short for large rooms. There is only 1 HDMI out, 1 optical in, and 1 audio in. The user interface is just like a PlayStation 3/4 (very easy to use), and the sound quality is great.
This is actually my third Sony surround system. The first, was many, many years ago. My second, which I still use in my living room, is a Sony BDV-870W (which I love). For this setup I am using it with a 42" Sony LCD TV, and a DirecTV HD DVR in my master bedroom. My bedroom has two rear speakers built-in the ceiling, so fortunately I did not need a wireless rear speaker system, or have to worry about long wires. I previously had a Samsung surround sound that died on me one day. I didn't want to spend much more than $300 on a replacement, and luckily I found this system.
Design - This system is all black with a high gloss finish on the main unit. The speakers also have a black glossy outside, with the speaker grill coving the entire front. The design, to me, does look quite nice which is a plus since these are visible most of the time. Most Sony systems come with a proprietary male connection to connect the speakers to the main unit. The length of the speaker wire is not a problem for the front R,L, and C, but the rear and subwoofer cables can be quite short if you have a large room. If you need more length, you simply have to splice into the wire and add your own speaker wire to whatever length you want. As I mentioned, I have built-in rear speakers, so I had to do this to mine. I have not found that it has affected the quality (at least noticeably) and it is very easy to do. The only downside to doing this is that it can be an eyesore depending on how you do it. If you are the type that wants to upgrade the connectors to Gold, or the thick, expensive wire, you want to stay away from the Sony systems.
Connections - This is where things can get very disappointing for some. The E3100 has only 1 HDMI port, 1 Optical Port, and 1 standard coaxial port for audio input. I connect my DirecTV receiver into my TV, my E3100 into my TV via the HDMI cable, and connect my TV to the E3100 via the audio (L,R) input. If you have an optical port on your TV, you can connect your TV to the E3100 via optical for a better connection. Honestly, there shouldn't be any reason why you need more ports on your surround receiver because you can just connect everything else through the TV. If, for whatever reason, you need more ports, you would want to find a different receiver.
Setup - There is technically no assembly required. Once you unwrap all of the pieces from its protective materials, you simply plug in your sound input, plug in your video output, and connect each of the speakers. Each speaker has its own colored male connection so it is very easy to tell which speaker goes into which female connection. Once you connect everything and turn the power on, you will follow simply on screen instructions that walk you through everything. There are also very detailed instructions that tell you everything you need to know about it.
User Interface - If you have ever seen or used a PlayStation 3/4, the menu's and settings are almost identical. They are very easy to use with a main row of icons (Toolbox for settings, video strip for movies/videos, music note for music, etc.). When you select an icon, more drop down to give you the list of options in that drop down. For instance, when you click on the Video icon, it will show you any DVD/BDV's in your system, any network movies, etc. Even if you are not very tech savvy, it should be fairly easy for you to figure this out.
Sound Quality - For my needs, the sound quality is excellent. You can adjust just about every setting, from increasing the decibel level per speaker, to the volume, even setting the distance you sit from the speaker to automate its settings. I never have to turn the volume up much to be plenty loud for my 500 square foot room. If you turn the sound up 3/4 of the way you will have rumbling walls and your neighbors can hear this! It works well on every setting - movies, music, video games, and more. There are also several pre-set sound settings to help you dial into the best overall sound (There is a video setting, game setting, music setting, etc.).
Picture Quality - Picture quality is excellent on my 1080p TV. The E3100 also up-converts DVD's, so you will notice a better quality picture with standard DVD's. My current TV is not 3D compatible, so I can't speak for this system, however my other receiver is excellent with 3D. Just ensure you purchase a 3D compatible HDMI cable. BlueRigger sells a very good cable for cheap on Amazon (10' is $13 for TWO).
Remote - Nothing much to say about the remote here. It is long and slender, with many buttons and settings I still have not used to this day. It has mainly the same buttons as all other remotes though, so nothing too different.
Other Features - There are many other features to this system. For example, this has built in WiFi so not only can you always have the latest software update, but you can connect to Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, Hulu, and more. These services can stream straight to your system and thus on your Television. It also comes with Bluetooth capability to let you stream music from your device (such as iPhone, iPad) directly onto your receiver.
29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2013
I think my old DVDs have never looked so good. That's a good thing.
Also, it connects wirelessly and Amazon and Netflix videos look exceptional (if they are 1080p to start with, of course) through it on my several years old 1080p 52" LCD. That's another good thing.
But... for some reason... I had to play with it and tinker with it, and play with it some more, to get good audio from it.
They apparently think that adding echo to everything is a good thing. No, it isn't. That's what it seems to do out of the box. Everything had an echo/reverb applied to it, and it just sounded muddy and muffled. Out of the box.
You CAN get really good sound, but you have to play with it. For me, anyway, quite a bit, before the sound is just... the plain old vanilla soundtrack of whatever I want to watch, which is all I really want. You know, what the filmmakers wanted me to hear.
I don't quite understand why anyone, anywhere, would think it was a good idea to muffle the sound and add echo/reverb to literally everything as the default. I just want to (call me weird) hear the sound that was intended, without added effects. Especially everything having an echo effect, which is (I dunno, maybe this is the latest trend, in which case I _hate_ it) really stupid. In my opinion.
And the thing is, I had to do it twice. I thought I had that idiotic "feature" resolved, but then it came back. After the 2nd go-round on this issue, so far, at least, the system seems to be finally just cooperating (as it should have from out of the box time) and giving me good, clear, undistorted sound.
So I'm happy with it. If it keeps cooperating and doesn't periodically revert back to giving me this ridiculous echo effect that I have to consistently be fighting with.
It really does seem to upsample my DVDs way better than my older upsampling DVD player did. The downside there is, my old upsampling DVD player was a 5-disk changer, and this is a 1-disk unit. So called me spoiled. I miss having the 5-disk changer.
But overall, I really am happy with this system... as long as it continues to behave itself and do what I want it to do, not what it thinks I want... and gets it wrong.
Oh. And another thing. And this may be common to these internet-enabled units. But the other night, I wanted to watch a Netflix movie. I had watched one just the night before, no problem. But there was a software update available, and I couldn't postpone the update. I had to take 20 minutes to update the software, before I could start. It is a real bummer when you are ready to watch and you have to just dump that plan and take 20 minutes to upgrade the player before it will even _let_ you do that. Seems to me, updates should come second to just letting you... watch your damn movies, when you want to. And update when it's, you know, actually convenient for you to do so.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2013
Does everything it was supposed to. The software update from the manufacturer brought in many newer items that have allowed me to cut the cable and greatly reduce my entertainment expenses!!