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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, good sound, quirky software interface
The Sony BDV-N8100W is a nice unit with a ton of features. Rather than write an enormous review of every possible function, I'm going to zoom in on the things that seem to matter most to me. If I don't mention something, it's either because I don't want to repeat what other reviewers already said, or because I just don't use it.

First, I was happy to see that...
Published 14 months ago by J. Gitzlaff

versus
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great sound, featureful and versatile, but problematic
This would be the second Sony wireless home theater speaker system I've owned, and I am quite impressed with the improvements. This product upgrades what I already thought an impressive system. There are improvements all around and very little not to like. From the flawless wireless tech and the crystal clear sound quality to the near all-in-one capabilities, I...
Published 13 months ago by Trent Steele


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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, good sound, quirky software interface, August 1, 2013
By 
J. Gitzlaff (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sony BDV-N8100W 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Wireless Rear Speakers (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Sony BDV-N8100W is a nice unit with a ton of features. Rather than write an enormous review of every possible function, I'm going to zoom in on the things that seem to matter most to me. If I don't mention something, it's either because I don't want to repeat what other reviewers already said, or because I just don't use it.

First, I was happy to see that fit and finish is very good for the price. You don't get all-metal enclosures, wooden speaker boxes with Kevlar cones, or large-gauge cables, but materials and workmanship are a good deal for this kind of package at this price point. The main unit and subwoofer tuck away nicely, and the speakers are unobtrusive in our living room. Note, though, that we wall-mounted the front speakers, discarding the tall stands that come in the box. Wall mounted, they produce good sound and visually match up well with our fireplace-hung LCD TV.

Second, it was very easy to set up and configure. Physically, it takes a great deal of time to place everything just so, route cables and power, etc., but at no stage was it difficult.

Third, though, the UI menu system is characteristically "Sony" in that - like every Sony camera and other gadget I've ever owned - ordinary usage requires you to navigate a large and fairly discursive menu system. This can actively hamper everyday use. For instance, astonishingly, there is no function to let you select a particular input mode! By this, I mean you cannot press a single button and jump to HDMI 1 (etc.). Instead, you have to press a function button repeatedly, cycling one at a time through all of the many input options until you get the one you want. Alternatively, you can call up the main menu, navigate left or right to the input control settings and then up or down to the one you want. It's pretty much the same either way, because it takes a lot of button mashing and more importantly it makes it hard to use a procedural universal remote control (like a Logitech Harmony).

Fourth, sound is remarkably good for the price. On movies, TV and music (whether 2-channel or simulated surround) the sound is equal to or better than the separate components I bought for a higher price some years back. And the wireless rear surrounds produce extremely good sound for the purpose, and I've never experienced a dropout or disconnection.

UPDATE November 22, 2013:
=============================
In recent weeks, something has gone wonky with the sound in this unit. My guess is that one of the firmware updates did something to change sound processing algorithms, because all voices now take on a weird, distorted kazoo-like character at low volumes. It's not completely unlistenable, but it is distracting. It affects all of the DSP settings (Auto, Movie, Music, etc) except, oddly, 3D Surround Sound mode, so I keep in that mode almost all the time now. A manual software reset did not solve the problem.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great sound, March 9, 2014
This review is from: Sony BDV-N8100W 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Wireless Rear Speakers (Electronics)
Have been using for 4 days now and really love the sound this unit puts out. Only issue is the self calibration is not that great. Had to manually set the db levels but not too difficult to do. Over all has many features and great sound. Took me about an hour to set it all up from start to finish.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great sound, featureful and versatile, but problematic, August 14, 2013
By 
Trent Steele (New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Sony BDV-N8100W 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Wireless Rear Speakers (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This would be the second Sony wireless home theater speaker system I've owned, and I am quite impressed with the improvements. This product upgrades what I already thought an impressive system. There are improvements all around and very little not to like. From the flawless wireless tech and the crystal clear sound quality to the near all-in-one capabilities, I quickly realized that this is a very dominating system.

The product is easy enough to setup, but I did find that the default configuration needed some tweaking. However, I was quite impressed with the amount of options that were available. The reason for that might be because the product allows you to connect to a virtual 'Home' input. This is basically just a dashboard that allows you to configure the product, use apps and select inputs. It resembles the PS3 XMB interface if you are familiar ([...]).

Every receiver I've ever used forces you to wrestle with the front LCD for configuration, so the dashboard is either a new paradigm for all receivers or Sony is cleverly innovating here. Of course the downside of having to go through the dashboard is that you need to switch your TV to the 'BluRay' input in order to even get to it. Settings like enabling DTS are not possible to configure from the front LCD, which some may find inconvenient for on-the-fly changes. In fact, I found that without enabling Dolby or DTS I was not even able to get 5.1 surround sound from my TV (using optical audio) no matter what 'Sound Mode' was selected on the receiver using the front LCD. After I located the proper settings in the dashboard, I'm now emulating DTS across the board, and it sounds spectacular.

Maybe it's just that I can now emulate DTS instead of just Dolby Pro Logic like I'm used to, but the sound clarity on this system blows my previous Sony system out of the water. I now hear things in movies and TV shows that I never knew were there. I've even gotten comments from multiple people telling me how eerie the clarity is. I don't consider myself an audiophile, but I would definitely put this sound system up there with some of the best I've ever heard. Take that for what it's worth.

Another great option that I've seen on other Sony receivers is the ability to automatically configure individual speaker volumes using a provided microphone. You place the microphone at a certain point in the room and the system is able to adjust individual speaker volume for optimal surround sound. You can also adjust volumes manually, so you can do things like boost the center channel if you get annoyed (like me) about voice audio being so much lower than sound effects in movies.

The system also supports apps, DLNA and other internet functionality. I wasn't impressed with the app selection, but I do like that I can connect to my Plex server without having to use a separate device like a Roku. Unfortunately the interface for accessing DLNA content doesn't support resume, so it doesn't make much of a replacement. I do give them points for supporting it though.

I don't find this product has too many faults beyond what I already mentioned. The glossy black finish does draw quite a bit of dust. And while the front speakers come with a tall stand, the rear satellite speakers do not. This sort of nullifies some of the usefulness of the wireless. If you have a couch in the middle of the room, wireless rear speakers is pretty much your only option. But if you can't prop the speakers on a stand behind your couch, what are you supposed to do with them? I don't deduct any points for this though because I didn't personally run into this issue, but it is worth mentioning.

Overall this is a great product that I am glad to own and have no problems recommending highly.

UPDATE:
This product does not support Dolby Digital Plus, which you would need in order to get proper surround sound out of the Netflix app on the Roku. Some people might find that annoying -- me being one of them. Others would probably just use the Netflix app on the Sony itself.

I did some reading and found that the regular Dolby Digital signal is embedded inside a DD+ signal. There may be licenses required in order to do that, I don't know. But it could also be a flaw with this product. If I pass the audio through my TV, it works fine (probably because the TV is converting it into a DD signal without any issue).

I would probably use the Netflix app on the Sony itself if the thing was able to actually get an internet connection. I'm pretty sure an update I downloaded broke the internet connectivity on the device. No matter what I do; no matter if every other device on the network has a connection; no matter wired or wireless, the Sony fails to do so. It gets an IP fine and can detect my Plex server, but no internet. Very frustrating.

I knocked this review down 1 star.

UPDATE 2:
The system is not without its problems. I have encountered a number of very annoying issues. As mentioned, the system does not seem to support Dolby Digital Plus over HDMI. It actually does support DD+, but only via BluRay or by playing a video file through USB. So it's not Roku-friendly.

The internet connection issues persist. Despite the fact that every other device on my network has no trouble getting an internet connection, no matter what I do, the Sony receiver fails to connect to the internet (tried different cables, using wifi, connecting directly to the modem, factory resetting, etc). This means checking for firmware updates requires me to download the files to a USB drive and update the system manually. Sony is slow to push out firmware updates.

Another major issue is that one of the satellite speakers has started to vibrate rather unnaturally. I called Sony to get a replacement, but they want me to pay to ship the entire unit and charge me $100 to inspect it over a 2 week period where they may or may not repair it. I purchased better satellite speakers instead for $100. I can't be certain if it was my kids that damaged the speaker (it has no physical signs of damage), but the new speakers are protected from little fingers anyway and sound better.

There are also other issues with the software. Sometimes the unit will hang while shutting down or starting up. It just sits there and blinks perpetually. I have to physically unplug it to get it to reboot. Other times, the video will simply black out. Powering the unit off only puts it into sleep mode, so it has to be unplugged to get it to reboot. Whenever those video blackout moments occur, I have to unplug it.

I knocked my review down 1 more star.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it., March 19, 2014
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This review is from: Sony BDV-N8100W 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Wireless Rear Speakers (Electronics)
I love all of Sony's home theater systems. This is, by far, one of the best one I've owned. Very easy and simple to set up and use.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Subwoofer & very very clear sound!!!!!, February 17, 2014
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This review is from: Sony BDV-N8100W 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Wireless Rear Speakers (Electronics)
I bought the cheaper sony home theater (think it's the 7900) the subwoofer sucked on that cheaper model so I returned it to Amazon (was easy just had to pay shipping) and purchased the 8100 lil more but WOW big big difference the subwoofer has good bass and the front speakers are so so clear it's unreal how clear never heard anything so good!! I always knew Bose had the best sound but this is half the price and will give Bose some serious competition! I don't write reviews but I always read them so hope my little bit of info helps
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, April 7, 2014
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This review is from: Sony BDV-N8100W 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Wireless Rear Speakers (Electronics)
Excellent sound quality for my blu rays.Just paired it with a new sony 47 inch hdtv and could not be happier, although my neighbors may say otherwise. Also the automatic calibration on the speakers is amazing,just lay them out plug in the mic and it calibrates the distance frim where you are sitting automatically. Buy it and enjoy
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great sounding system, March 3, 2014
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This review is from: Sony BDV-N8100W 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Wireless Rear Speakers (Electronics)
I've had this system for a month and it replaced an older Bose system. This was a good upgrade. The only complaint I have is how long it takes to "boot up" when I turn it on. I was surprised that the rear speakers aren't really "wireless". The "wireless" term means that the wireless signal is received by a driver that then sends the signal to the speakers with regular speaker wire.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Style and quality!, February 25, 2014
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This review is from: Sony BDV-N8100W 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Wireless Rear Speakers (Electronics)
This system is awsome! Received it on time. The sound is amazing and it looks very good too. The only negative is the GUI, its a little confussing in the begining. It takes some get used to it. I definitively recomend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound system, February 24, 2014
This review is from: Sony BDV-N8100W 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Wireless Rear Speakers (Electronics)
Excellent sound system once you get it set up right. Takes a little work to get it all up and running and the cords hidden but the sound is fantastic. You would have to hear it to believe it. Perfect for action movies.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great product, horrid product support, March 3, 2014
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This review is from: Sony BDV-N8100W 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System with Wireless Rear Speakers (Electronics)
I received this surround sound system recently and hooked it up. As far as speaker systems go, this was pretty straightforward to attach. A little slow when you first turn it on but it has a standby mode so the next time you start it, it's ready to go very quickly. The unit was working perfectly for about 3 months and then the left surround speaker cut out without warning. Not too much of a problem but still annoying. So I contact Sony to get a replacement and the first agent is great. The problem is that they can't send me just the one speaker, they have to replace the entire unit. Ok, that's a hassle but nothing more. I'm supposed to receive my replacement in 7-10 days. Day 11 rolls through and still no system. So I contact Sony again and this is why I drop this from a 5 star to a 3 star rating.

The second agent I talk to says the first agent was incorrect. They will not ship me the system, I must ship mine back first but they won't pay the return shipping. They so graciously offered to pay the shipping after it's been repaired though. So my system is in warranty, barely 3 months from purchase, and now I have to spend another $150+ just to ship this very heavy package back to them to wait for another 10 days before I get it back. I just got off chat with them again, a single replacement speaker can be purchased for about $100. It's cheaper to by the speaker straight away than it is to use Sony's sorry excuse for a warranty on this product.

Bottom Line: This is a great system. The support policies are awful. I recommend buying this unit and then buying a Squaretrade or similar 3rd party warranty to go with it. I should've done the same thing.
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