on May 14, 2012
Speaker Connections: This unit uses propitiatory plug-ins to the head unit, how ever the speakers them selves use the normal push-tab-insert-wire connection. While I understand why they uses funny custom connections, I suppose you could cut the cord and save the custom plug. I would not consider this a deal breaker.
DLNA: Works as it should, but I really wish it would simply support a network shared folder. But you have to have a DLNA server on your home computer (or compliant device), what a bummer, that just one extra process I need to have running on my server. I have had some audio codec issues Dolby DTS is sometimes trans-coded to base stereo (2.0) or just regular Dolby Surround 5.1. It plays .MKVs good at 1080 and file sizes > 9GB. (I use serviio as my DNLA server on my PC's)
Apps: There are a load of useless apps, and only have a handful of useful apps. Pandora oddly does not have a thumbs up or thumbs down option. I do wish it had Revision 3, but sadly it doesn't.
Remote: The included remote is slow, but the Android app is pretty good, however the qwerty seems flaky and does not work with Netflix, so searching Netflix is a pain!
Sound: Is robust for these little speakers and appears clean at full volume. However given that this is a 1000w system - it is not that loud at full volume, and the sub-woofer is not 'heart thumping' - I would say the sub-woofer is mostly there to make up for the lack of bass the left and right channels can't produce, and doesn't add too much 'rumble'. Despite the manual saying that it delivers 250w is VERY questionable. I have owned lesser woofers (100w) that delivered much better performance.
Setup: Easy - because of the custom connectors.
Wireless Rear channels: Work as intended, only gripe is; I wished Sony would have put a 'flat plug-in' so the plug doesn't 'poke' my couch as it sits against the wall - I will need to buy an extension that has a flat plug-in or I fear that in the long term one of two thing will happen, I will damage my couch, or the cord will fray and short out.
Speakers: Are small enough and will look okay in any set up. They are wall mountable, simply by removing a screw and re-positioning the speaker base.
Head unit: Are touch sensitive controls, and the display is lack luster, it sits at the rear of the unit - so if you rely on reading the display - do not tuck the head unit into a shelf - put it on top and fully exposed. The head unit does not get hot when music is played a full volume for an extended period. The fan noise is audible, but not too bad.
Blu-Ray: Not tested (.MKVs)
WiFi: Not Tested (Ethernet)
These are my initial impressions after one week of owning the system. I may revise this review later with final impressions.
<<< After 3 Months use >>>
ACQUIRING INTERNET CONTENT: Using some of the apps the unit will display on the TV - 'Acquiring internet information' or something similar too often, this is a hassle and an extra step - Sony should just automatically complete the acquiring process - but, it will just sit there until you press 'continue' - LAME!
NETFLIX CRASHES: Netflix will often crash and will result in you needing to restart the app, or sometimes it will require a power cycle (unit off then on).
BLANK SCREEN: When you are on a different 'function' (input) and you have turned off the unit and then later turn it back on to only see a black screen - is a little confusing if the input device is also off. I have powered the Sony on and off a few times before I remembered that it was on HDMI 1 and the Xbox 360 was off - so all I was getting was a black screen and thought the system had crashed or had become unresponsive although it hadn't. A simple solution press the HOME or NETFLX button on the remote.
SLOW SOFTWARE: Sometimes the system will hang or become confused/slow if too many buttons on the remote have been pressed - sometimes it will need to be power cycled to get the unit responsive again. pressing too many buttons on the remote too quickly stems from the slow performance of the unit. You press a button and nothing happens, only to think 'oh - it must not have 'seen' the remote, and you try again, and then one mote time - to find that the unit has either froze or has become really slow. A power cycle will fix this (wait until the pulsing light turns all of the way off - if you don't you will still have a slow or a frozen unit). Just be patient and wait about 5 seconds between button pushes and look for the pulse of light on the head unit to confirm that the unit did 'see' the remote - and if it did see it and still did not do anything - it's time for a power cycle.
SOFTWARE UPDATES: Are just like the PS3 they take FOREVER! And seem to fix or add nothing. It seems to happen about once every month. So I suppose (for now anyway) Sony seems proactive at updating the unit - but as for what it does or fixes, who knows (probably add to the problems - or extra stupid DRMs)
CONCLUSION: I'm tempted to revise my star rating to a 3/5, because once the 'new' wears off - it really is only average. Should Sony fix the software/speed/responsiveness then it would be worthy of keeping 4 stars. But for now I will leave it at 4 stars. (3.5 would be a better estimate)
<< DEAL BREAKER >>
I upgraded some components in my home theatre PC system that required Dolby Digital Plus (Netflix via Roko 3) and hooked the HDMI into the receiver - and no sound, until I switched it back to stereo. After a little reading and despite the sony receiver being able to decode the sound - sony does not decode many sounds formats from the HDMI inputs. There are many audio streams that can not be decoded from external sources - so basically, in short, if you want surround sound - the audio stream has to originate inside the receiver (on board app, blu-ray or DVD). So with this development it has eliminated a primary surround sound source via external equipment. What a bummer! I have downgraded my star rating to two stars. It should be able to decode any stream it supports regardless of the origin whether it be from internal sources or from external devices. I am considering replacing it, and sadly it isn't all that old.
Our family has moved into a new condo, and we wanted to upgrade our sound system to include wireless rear speakers, both for aesthetic and childproofing reasons. So this system sat atop the list of HTIBs to get. I've had it up and running for a week or so, and the following are my thoughts.
This was a breeze to set up. The speaker wires have color coded plugs, the rear speaker unit has a wireless dongle which is easy to insert (though why it isn't built in is beyond me) and the onscreen menus for setting up internet functions are user friendly. I can't imagine anyone but the most technophobic having any issues.
Audio: The audio is clean and crisp, and the bass response from the included unpowered subwoofer is good. You may not be used to such clean sound, and think it somewhat anemic. My previous (also unpowered) sub had kicked in on everything, which certainly made everything bassy, but I now realize it had muddied things up considerably. Rest assured, on media files that require deep bass (for instance, Lord of the Rings) it is there in spades. The included surround speakers are also clear and clean sounding. Overall, it's a very good surround experience. There is no room to expand into 7.1 channel territory from 5.1, but really I don't think most users will care a whole lot.
Video: When I first put in a Blu-Ray, I thought to myself, "why is this so mushy and soft?" Well, it became clear that Sony has chosen to enable default settings that smooth and otherwise tinker with the video output. These sorts of cheats are unnecessary with a source like Blu-Ray. So, word to the wise, if you want your Blu-Rays to look as crisp and subtly detailed as they did on your other players, go into "Options" while playing a video and set it to "Direct" (which is also left completely unexplained in all materials, but apparently defeats all extra processing). Also head into the XMB main menu and disable other smoothing regimens. After some tweaks, the video is just about as good as any other standalone player. There is still some sort of processing I can't find a setting to defeat, which causes very slightly odd patterns in film grain. I did comparisons watching the same Blu-Ray of Star Trek TNG, on the same TV with the same settings, flipping between inputs. The grain looks different here than on my Panasonic DMP-BD65, and it is detrimental. Would I have noticed it without a direct comparison? Maybe not. Will the average viewer even care? Probably not. But it needs to be said that this may not be the ultimate videophile player. It is adequate, even good. But it's not absolutely top tier, and will probably be bettered by high quality standalones. Unfortunately, unlike the PS3 and Panasonic Blu-Ray players, there is no 1.5x speed video with stereo audio. This was a great time saver for watching TV shows on DVD, and will be missed.
Ease of Use: There are only two HDMI inputs, which means that you will have to be frugal with external sources, unless your TV allows for ARC (audio return channel) with its HDMI inputs. Boot up takes maybe 15 seconds, not too bad, but slower than you may be used to on an old style AV receiver. The remote control is adequate, but it lacks direct input buttons, instead forcing you to either go through the onscreen menu or to keep pressing "Function" (not "Input" for some bizarre reason) until you finally get to what you want. The main unit has only a small LCD display, and it is on the top of the unit instead of the front, so it may not be visible in many installations. The most irritating thing in my book is the inability to rename inputs within the menu. I can do it on my TV, why can't I do it on someting that presumably has much more CPU horsepower? Instead, I am stuck trying to remember what HDMI 1 and 2 are whenever I switch. The IPTV content interfaces are hit or miss. Netflix is updated to the newest specs, containing 5.1ch sound and subtitle options. Hulu Plus, however, is not, and you can't display subtitles even though they are present on other devices. On the other hand, you do get a free 3 month trial of the service, which is nice. The radio tuner only does FM. This is really annoying, since I listen to AM sports broadcasts of my local White Sox. I cannot even fathom why AM tuning was left out when receivers from 5, 10, or more years ago can do it easily.
So overall, the system functions well, but has a few irritating caveats. Pretty much like anything Sony creates. If you are a Sony veteran, you'll know exactly the kinds of quirks to expect. You should go in knowing that they haven't created the ultimate ease-of-use product this time around. But it still performs quite well in terms of nuts and bolts A/V performance. I think the audio might be a tad better than the video, for what it's worth.
on November 3, 2012
Bought this unit May of 2012. It doesn't get a lot of use. I average maybe two movies a week on it. I put a movie in yesterday and it started acting like the video and audio was in slow motion except it was choppy. Tried a couple more DVDs, same thing. Checked for firmware update and it was up to date. I did an online return and sent it out today. I had to send it from Seattle to Texas which cost me $30.00.
I have always been a Sony fan except laptops. This unit is matched up to a Sony big screen that was bought at the same time.
The unit did work very good prior to this issue and was good for what it is.
I will update this as I go through the warranty process.
Got an email from Sony saying they received the unit about five days after sending it. Five days after that 11/15/12 I got an email from tech group saying that nothing is wrong with it. I sent the following response (the first part being what I put on the Sony website for return);
"I was watching a DVD (non Blue Ray) and after a few minutes the video and audio became very choppy and like slow motion. I put in a different DVD to make sure it wasn't the DVD. It did the same thing with the second DVD. I then put in a Blue Ray DVD to see if it would do it with it and it did. I checked to see if there was firmware update for it via wifi and there was none. Trust me, I would not pay $30.00 for shipping and go with out my home theater for weeks."
On 11/20/12, I got an email that my unit was being shipped to me. I received the unit about a week later. It was not the one I sent. I checked the serial number. The unit sent to me looked like it had been used for a wheel chock. It had deep scratches in it and was covered in "cheese". I guess some people don't wash their hands.
One thing I forgot to tell Sony when I sent it in was that I use the optical audio to connect to my cable box. The audio would drop out occasionally and slowly work it's way back to normal levels. The unit Sony sent me back does not do that. I guess this is a positive.
One last word on the website repair page. Your status is never updated. When you go to check the status, it has the same comment each time.
I would bump this up to a three star rating. I would give it more but now I am a little gun shy, waiting for ir to go bad again. Obviously someone else had sent this unit it.
on October 22, 2012
My husband did the setup and we had some issues, but they are likely related to a problem with our hdmi hookups (I am so un-techie). Otherwise, hookup seemed to go well.
We thought the rear speakers were wireless in that they would simply be positioned separately around the room, with zero speaker wires. In actuality, the rear speakers and amp are separate from the front speakers (so you don't have wires stringing from the front of the room to the back) and they "connect" via a transmitter. However, the two rear speakers are still connected via speaker wire to the rear amp, so I still have black wires hanging through my bedroom.
Again, this is still better than having them ALL over, but for the money, I expected stand-alone wireless.
The sound is excellent and the picture quality is amazing. I deducted one star for the fact that the ad at our local Costco says the rear speakers are wireless so you can place them wherever you want, when in fact, they are still connected to the amp by wires.
on March 7, 2013
Don't let the size of the speakers fool you, this system is definitely a lot more to it than what you may think. I've always had a good experience with Sony products and this Blu-ray home theater system does not disappoint. The BDVN-790W Blu-ray Home Theater System really does follow the traditional quality product that Sony offers in its line of products, with sleek looks and good pricing from Amazon. Even with the good looks, it does not sacrifice quality of sound and performance. It has two main speakers, a center speaker, and two wireless rear speakers along with a subwoofer. If you own a PS3 or PSP or PS Vita, the home interface will be very familiar to you.
I use it to play music, watch Netflix, connects to my PS3/Xbox and TV with ease (as long as you have two HDMI cables), and to watch Blu-rays.
- Very easy to set up, especially with the color coding of the connectors from the speakers/subwoofer to the Blu-ray player and wireless receiver
- Wireless receiver does not require batteries, it just plugs into a power outlet
- It includes a iPod/iPhone dock to connect to the system (Haven't used this yet as I don't own a iPod or iPhone. I'm not a big fan of Apple products...)
- Very sleek and stylish looking. The Blu-ray unit itself has a touch-interface for buttons such as Play, Stop, Skip buttons, Volume buttons, etc. (EXCEPT for the Power button, which is an actual button you can press)
- It includes FM radio as well
- The remote control has a dedicated red "Netflix" button (So awesome)
- There's an app on the Google Play Store to control the system from your Android phone (VERY handy when I'm in another room)
- Sound is just great, especially with the ease of the initial set-up with the included microphone to adjust the volume settings of the speakers. When the set-up is done just right, there is the bass you want, but not to the excessive point where you can't even hear the lyrics of a song or know what's even playing. (This is not like a sound system you will hear from a Honda Civic from back in the days, if you get what I mean...)
- Has popularservices like Pandora, and Netflix
- The home interface seems outdated when compared to the UI of the PS3 (March 8th, 2013 at the time of this review)
- You can't have music playing in the background when you press the 'Return' or 'Home' button to navigate elsewhere in the system (The only exception to playing music in the background is when the screensaver kicks in)
- When I try to play music through an Android device (I have tried my Nexus 4, Motorola Xoom Wifi, and Galaxy Nexus, all had the same result) by connecting it via a audio cable (red and white connector with the opposite end containing the 3.5mm jack), the sound is horrible, even with the volumes on both device and system turned all the way up. The volume seems like it is less than half of what it should be at, and the quality of the sound is certainly downgraded compared to the sound quality of streaming music through Pandora or Sony's Music Unlimited program (NOTE: I have thought about buying a new audio cable to test if it's just the cable that isn't as good. Will update on this review when I try this out)
- Apps seem outdated when compared to other systems versions and UI layout (Examples are the Music Unlimited program, when compared to the PS3's version and desktop version. Another is the UI layout of Pandora, it also seems outdated.
- Does not come with an optical digital audio cable or audio cables to connect other devices (Similar to other systems out there)
- Doesn't have much of a app selection such as iHeartRadio (even though there's an actual FM radio option but for local stations only)
- Sony seems to neglect this system in updates to what it really needs to work on
- The change in volume does not display in a lot of the user interface on the TV screen when volume is changed, but shows on the Blu-ray player unit itself. The volume change DOES display however, when the input is changed to the HDMI inputs
- The sound sync button to sync the sound on the TV option is not accessible at all times of usage in the system
Overall, this system is a great system to have, considering its price, quality of sound, usability from different devices, ease of set-up, and stylish looks!
on November 20, 2012
I purchased this Sony BDV-T79 as an open box sale on eBay 2 weeks ago after a couple months of extensive research with both Samsung and Panasonic's competing systems priced in the mid to higher ranges of $300-500 as you usually get what you pay for. This is my first BLURAY player as it replaced an older Panasonic DVD player I'd purchased 3 years ago. The Sony BDV-T79 was on display at my local Costco but had very few reviews as this model was just released in the US a few months ago. I decided to bid for the open box unit after reading several positive reviews on a UK website as it must have been released at an earlier date in Europe. I ended up saving close to $175 off the closest sale price for a new system I'd seen at Costco. Yes, it did have a few cosmetic scratches but set up was easy, including connecting to my wireless Netgear router. The included APS, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others were a snap to set up and after a few minutes I was able to get around using the remote control as a browser controller. However, I wouldn't recommend using it much as it's much slower and less responsive than your regular PC or IPAD! Sony has a decent product support site if you encounter any issues during setup. I might mention that the subwoofer is massive and produces awesome bass! The few BLURAY DVD's I've seen so far played flawlessly on my 4 year old Samsung 52" flat screen LCD television and produced a realistic THX like theater experience along with great picture quality. I don't have 3D so I can't comment on that feature.
on December 10, 2012
Got to open this system early for Christmas. We got it on sale at Walmart as a clearance item, brand new! So it's well worth the money. You shouldn't have to pay full price for this. It is usually on sale somewhere.
Straight out of the box this system is very easy to set up like everyone says. Color coded cables hooks into the color coded slot. Easy enough. After set up and positioning the speakers, I highly recommend using the easy calibration with the onscreen set up using the included microphone! It does a wonderful job. After setup make sure you download new system update to get all the good apps.
I have a fairly large great room so I was curious how the sound would fill the room. Well, lets just say I was highly impressed. Ya listening to normal tv I had to turn it up a little, but once I did it sounded great. I love the sports setting for watching football. Then came our first movie we watched that night on blue ray. I was TOTALLY IMPRESSED. Great sound and impressive video quality without messing with many settings. We didn't even turn it up halfway and the sound filled the room! People also said the bass wasn't that impressive, but I thought it sounded great! Unless you are an audio engineer who messes with this stuff all the time and are supercritical of everything you will love it! I was very happy with this system! I just hope it holds up over time and won't develop issues.
People you have to make sure you have HIGH SPEED HDMI cables connected, if you use any other type of cable you will hear crackling. It just comes with the territory! Use the right cable so you won't be disappointed. Also Auto mode works great. I have a PS3 so I am used to the menu, takes a little time to get used to, but just keep playing with it and you will get it.
I don't understand people giving it a bad rating because they didn't do their homework to realize exactly how the wireless speakers worked. Actually they work great, no lag and they sound awesome. Yes you have a separate box in which you have to attach the REAR speaker cord to, but if you realize this before and know what you are getting into then you should be fine. What you thought you were going to have rear speakers running on battery or something? Think about it, that would be bad... The benefit from wireless rear speakers is you do not have to run cables from the main unit all the way to the back of your room. You don't have to worry about running cable through your carpet or finding just the right spot to run your wire. It's awesome!
Just remember if you run your cable box through the system (which I'm guessing you will) from now on you have to have your tv, cable box, and this system powered up to watch tv. If you want to leave the system off you can't watch tv, unless you buy an optical cable and run it from your cable box to the system. Putting the system in an open area to make sure it breathes is a good idea. We have it tucked away in a shelf which has a door and now we are going to have to keep the door opened a little so it doesn't risk overheating. Minor price to pay for great sound.
Do your homework, get it on sale, and enjoy a great system!
Update after having it for 6 weeks:
STILL WORKS GREAT! My wife claims we will never go to the movies again, and I'm ok with that... 1/24/13
Update after almost a year of having this:
I still love it! The user interface is still my biggest complaint. Very clunky and not user friendly, I've seen a Samsung user interface and it's impressive compared to this. But I bought this for SOUND and the sound still sounds AWESOME! Recently I tried going into the options and turning "Sound Mode" to "OFF." Meaning the system will not mess with the sound and you cannot change sound modes, but I have found this to be a lot better! You can tell a lot of the surround effect comes back. I'm very happy with it this way.
Sound quality: superb
Ease of setup: easy
Software: could be better, but no glitches
Easy on the eyes
Only complaint is the menu could be a little easier to navigate.
on April 1, 2013
I really can only sum this up as stated above. I found this system to be lacking in a number of areas I will outline below.
To begin with I ordered this system with the hope of finding a decent sounding fairly inexpensive solution to make movie night more enjoyable. The wireless rear speaker option made it even more appealing. The system I received did not meet those requirements though your mileage may vary.
The first issue I encountered was one that may affect only some users, though I do remember reading of other purchasers having the same issue. We have a large cabinet designed to hold up to a 60" display and a reasonable amount of equipment (6 shelves to support the system) the actual shape of the system/BD player which for some unknown reason someone decided would be more aesthetically pleasing is curved outwards making its width just over 18 inches. I can place a full size receiver in this shelf but not this system - strike 1 for me.
Physical setup was fairly straightforward with color coded cables making it virtually impossible to connect the components incorrectly. Though I connected everything as instructed and color coded the system (during the automatic setup phase) continually told be the 2 front speakers were reversed. I even tried switching the cables (though I knew this to be unnecessary) to no avail. The system never would synch up and pass it's own test. - Strike 2
The genius designer of this system decided that it would be easier for you to insert your BlueRay disks into a slot loading player from the side...WRONG! - UNless you are going to have this system sitting on the top of a table this will be difficult to deal with - Strike 3
Already out however, I will continue.
Another issue with the design as mentioned above is that you cannot read the display unless you are looking down on the system. forget about managing from across the room.
Combined with these issues is the fact that once up and running you cannot help but feel underwhelmed by the "performance" of the system. Sound is very "tinny" and base from the sub is barely noticeable even on the opening scenes of
One thing that they did get right with this are the wireless rear speakers which were a breeze to connect to the system.
If only some of the other issues did not exist.
I packed up and returned the same day.
on June 10, 2012
Easy to set up. Really liked the overall value with integrated 5.1, bluray, two hdmi input (which is really like three because bluray is integrated), and wireless back speakers. I have three of these systems set up in one house -- the wireless back speakers were picking up the system signal in the adjacent room... after looking into the manual, I was able to fix this by locking the back wireless speakers to a specific system -- it worked like a charm to fix the problem and I was glad that Sony had accounted for this possibility, but it would have been nice if this was simply part of the set-up (to avoid the problem in the first place). Reasonable quality sound and even better if you use your own speakers. For my application it represents an overall great balance of features and ease of set-up. Very happy so far (just installed system recently).
on February 25, 2013
I won't go into a lot of detail, since many others have done a great job of that here on Amazon. After a couple weeks of use I would almost give it 5 stars, if not for my few minor gripes below. Call it 4 1/2 stars.
I'm no audiophile, but am extremely pleased with the sound this system puts out. The bass shakes my wood floors and even the couch when I turn it up, but doesn't intrude on things when I'm watching a movie. By default it is set to automatically decide the audio settings based on the source, and it seems to work very well so I haven't touched it. it's PLENTY loud, unless you have a giant house or plan on bothering the neighbors.
It has pretty much all the options i was looking for: Netflix, Amazon video, iPod connector, RJ-45 for network connectivity, and I could play my XBox through it using one of the HDMI connections. I wasn't able to figure out how to run my antenna through it (for TV, we have no cable or satellite) but I have't put much effort into it either. Switching from one source to the other is easy.
My gripes are few: The volume on the remote is way at the bottom, making for a hand-tiring exercise while holding on to the bottom of the remote and attempting to adjust the volume up and down during a movie. Put it in the middle where I can actually grip the thing comfortably, Sony! Second gripe, when you put a DVD in or take it out the slot is right by the super touch sensitive buttons on the unit, so your hand will hit these buttons sometimes if you're not very careful. Kind of an odd place to put it. Finally, this is less of a gripe and more of a 'need to know'. The rear speakers aren't truly wireless. They have wires that connect them to an amp, and the amp is what communicates wirelessly to the main unit. This didn't affect me too much, other than having an unexpected piece of hardware behind the couch. If you're wondering like I was, the amp is the box at the left of the picture here on Amazon.