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Customer Review

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Offers a bit more quality & features than our Philips BDP5200 Blu-ray player, although region free hack not so easy for DVDs, 8 July 2012
This review is from: Sony BDPS790 3D SMART Blu-ray Player with Built-in Wi-Fi (Electronics)
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The Sony BDP-S780 was a Which best buy, and it's now replaced with this flagship BDP-S790 Blu-ray player, with the pros being great picture quality, easy to use, built-in wireless connectivity, and a vast array of features. Compared to the cheaper Which best buy Philips BDP5200/05 Blu-ray player we also own, the Sony scores with visibly superior image quality using standard DVDs and a far better remote control that's bigger and simply easier to use. This Sony might offer better build quality as well, given that our Philips BDP5200 had to go back to Philips for a warranty repair (can't fault Philips customer support though) - and 18 months on our Sony S790 is still working perfectly. Otherwise the Philips & Sony both offer built in WiFi and many multimedia options, with the Sony adding in some future-proofing extras like 4k upscaling for 3840 x 2160 TVs and twin HDMI outs, one for the AV amp. We got this Sony Blu-ray player for my 16 year old son to use with a Samsung 26" hi-def TV, as his Sony PS3 could do with a rest from playing his large movie collection. The Sony player came with just the remote and batteries and a decent manual, so I had to buy an Amazon basics HDMI cable.

Installation was very easy, just plug the HDMI cable into the TV. My son loved the Sony player menu system as it's identical to the PS3 one. We got the built in wireless up and running in minutes, and as it's near the router the WiFi signal was very strong. We don't use the Sony often for internet use as my son has a gaming desktop PC in the bedroom as well, and the internet, iPlayer and YouTube are just so much easier with a mouse and keyboard (and he can send the PC video signal to the TV by HDMI anyway). That said the player also supports LoveFilm Instant and Netflix which we both subscribe to, so he does watch internet streamed movies in bed. So it's useful to be able to access the internet for NetFlix, Lovefilm, BBC iPlayer and Demand 5 via the Blu-ray player as his TV doesn't have any network features. It also gives access to Sony's Entertainment Network (SEN) video & music, although this is mirror'd in his PS3 attached to the TV. The player can support Skype if the optional CMU-BR100 camera/microphone is attached via the rear USB. The player also has an analogue composite video out (phono), a wired network socket, and digital audio jacks for both optical and co-ax.

One thing my son likes about this Blu-ray player is that his standard DVDs look better on his TV than via our front room Philips BDP5200 - as both players upscale DVD image quality I can only assume the Sony does a better job, e.g. there's noticeable artefacts with our Legend of Aang cartoon series DVDs via the Philips but not via this Sony (although the front room Samsung TV is a 3D TV and bigger at 32", which might be a factor). This Sony does play 3D Blu-ray disks which look as good as via our Philips model, but our bedroom TV isn't a 3D one. The Sony remote is great, with buttons for subtitles, audio language, and 3D (no zoom), plus it can be programmed to control simple functions on our Samsung TV as well. It's well sized, easy to read and easy to use. You can also use your iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone to control the player.

The only odd thing about the Blu-ray player is that there are touch sensitive areas on top of the player that control on/off, open/close tray, play and stop. The three disk control buttons illuminate white when the players switched on, and they work well. I have to say the lit-up white touch buttons are pretty cool, but we stand our TV directly on top of the Blu-ray player as it's in a bedroom with limited space. Fortunately our Samsung TV base is oval so it was easy to move the TV back a bit, so that we could access the touch sensitive control buttons. However if the TV stand base had been square (or another unit was stood on top of the player) it could have obscured the touch buttons making them unusable. The remote repeats all these button functions, but that's not so convenient when you walk up to the player to change disks or lose the remote for a few days, a frequent occurrence in a teenagers room - still as we could access the buttons that was no problem for us. For some reason the left power on touch button doesn't illuminate, so it doesn't look like a 'button', but it does power the unit on and off.

One irritation for us is that our Philips BP5200 Blu-ray player is very easily converted to region free for playing NTSC standard-definition DVDs, via a few pushes on the players remote, but this Sony requires a special remote to signal the change (actually quite cheap from eBay). Otherwise the Sony Blu-ray player is strictly for Region 2 standard DVDs only. At the moment most Blu-ray disks are region free, and there's no region free Blu-ray hacks anyway, so Blu-ray region playback isn't an issue. There are 2 HDMI outs on the player, one for video to a 3D TV and one for audio to an AV amplifier. As we use the TVs tiddly internal speakers, the HDMI TV out is all we require. The lack of decent audio with the TV means that we don't use the Sony player's ability to stream PC audio over the network much. Overall though, we love this Sony BDPS790 Blu-ray player for its ability to play DVDs and Blu-ray to a high standard, for having a nice remote, and for having a nice set of WiFi features with a Sony PS3 friendly menu structure. So 5*. This Blu-ray player was rated 'Ultimate - Best Buy' by PC magazine Computer Shopper in May 2013 at it's typical street price of £200. Three years on the Blu-ray player is still working perfectly. It's still listed on Sony's website, although the Sony BDP-A6000 Blu-ray player seems to have replaced it as their new top 4k model model.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Aug 2012 20:29:02 BDT
Good review, thank you! Just want to mention that the BDP S790 can be made 'region-free' (DVD only) by purchasing a cheap soldered remote control from eBay... cost is about a tenner. (search "Sony blu-ray multiregion" or "Sony blu-ray multi-region" without the quotes)

Admittedly I haven't tried them with the BDP S790 but I have used them on several BDP S570 and BDP S780 machines and the multi-region upgrade is easy to do.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2012 21:32:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Mar 2013 20:04:14 GMT
Charlie-CJ says:
Hi ST, thanks for the positive comments and region-free advice. As you say, it appears modern Sony players can be converted in the same way as my Panasonic DVD recorder/players (a specially modified remote control signal) - and that certainly worked for my Panasonics. I believe yonks ago a hardware mode was required for Sony, glad that has changed. I got the special Panasonic region-free remotes via eBay for around a tenner, and there's similar on offer for this Sony.

I have to say the two Panasonic DVD recorders I region-free converted by special remote had suspect reliability and conked out after 18 months (compared to my unconverted Region 2 locked Panasonic recorder that is still working 5 years on), but other than our Philips BDP5200/05 Blu-ray that clearly had a hardware power supply shorting fault, all our previous Philips DVD/Blu-ray player units have lasted years DVD region free, so that may have just been unlucky coincidence. Possibly when the player updates itself over the internet it may lose the region free hack, but that's never happened with our two region free Philips Blu-ray players. Thanks again for the region free hack details - I'll update my review.

Posted on 3 Mar 2013 15:52:05 GMT
mediabud says:
Does this play the usb files at 1080 24hz (obviously if the files are 24fps to begin with). my current player only outputs my bluray rips in 1080 60hz via usb which causes terrible judder.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2013 23:04:19 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Jan 2014 08:33:57 GMT
Charlie-CJ says:
Hi MediaBud. We don't use the USB2 socket much (forgot it was there as it's so well hidden behind its flap). I did try some 1080x1920 24fps home video taken by my Canon SX50 HS bridge camera. I noticed that the video was very choppy when played on the PC via the hard drive (as a *.mov in iTunes). I had to convert it from *.mov as the Sony player doesn't support it. I converted the *.mov files to mp4 24fps 30000 kbps 1080x1920 using 'Aimersoft video converter ultimate' and put the video on to a Kingston DataTraveller 101 16Gb USB2 stick. When I played them back on the Sony Blu-ray player they were very smooth and seemed pretty good. Don't know that the clips were truly Blu-ray quality, but these videos played very well. Otherwise our video is always in DVD resolutions rather than Blu-ray hi-def (and that plays fine).

PS. Thanks RM.

Posted on 4 Jun 2013 05:28:29 BDT
R.Mash says:
Great informative review,cheers me dears!
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