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Customer Review

67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Built-in Wi-Fi, Ten Ports, Lots Of Apps, 28 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Sony BDPS790 3D SMART Blu-ray Player with Built-in Wi-Fi (Electronics)
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Out of the four 2012 Blu-ray Disc Players that Sony sell, the BDP-S790 is their top-of-the-range model. It comes neatly packaged in a slim (47.7 x 7 x 27.7 cm) box that contains the following six items, but no HDMI cable:

- Sony BDP-S790 (black)
- AC Power Cord (inconveniently hard-wired into the back of the BDP-S790)
- Remote Control (RMT-B122P, 45 buttons)
- Sony AA Batteries (two of them, in silver)
- Operating Instructions (47 pages)
- European Guarantee Information Document

To be totally honest, when I first took the BDP-S790 out of the box, I was a little disappointed by how thick it is. Measuring 43 x 4.2 x 19.3 cm it's still a slim unit, but it's noticeably chunkier than my previous Sony Blu-ray player. On the front of the BDP-S790 there isn't a single button. Sure, there's a Disc tray and a USB port (Type A) hidden behind a plastic flap, but that's it. So how are you supposed to operate it? Well, once you plug it into the wall all is revealed, as four buttons magically appear on the top of the unit, glowing white through its seemingly solid aluminium casing. These four buttons (power on/standby, open/close, play and stop) are all "soft-touch", which means you don't need to press them in, just touch them lightly.

On the rear of the BDP-S790 there are nine ports. Here's what you get, from left to right:

- LAN (100) Terminal
- USB Jack
- HDMI Out 2 Jack (Audio)
- HDMI Out 1 Jack (Video)
- Line Out (Video) Jack
- Digital Out (Coaxial) Jack
- Line Out (Audio R&L) Jacks
- Digital Out (Optical) Jack
- Control S In / IR In Jack

In an amazing act of generosity, the BDP-S790 is not only Wireless LAN Ready, but actually has Wi-Fi built into it. So there's no need to buy an overpriced Wi-Fi adapter. Simply select your home Wi-Fi network from the list, enter your password, and the BDP-S790 is connected to the Internet. The unit comes with software version M13.R.0185 pre-installed, but you can very easily update it to M13.R.0369 (the latest version) by clicking on Network Update.

The remote control has high-quality "clicky" buttons, not the squishy silent type, and a black brushed plastic (not aluminium) finish. There's the usual assortment of buttons from the 1980s, along with some new ones such as 3D and SEN. So what's SEN? SEN is short for Sony Entertainment Network. Pressing the SEN button takes you directly to SEN Home, an attractive screen split into four sections:

- favourites
- apps (including 7 games)
- video (Sony's Video Unlimited service)
- music (Sony's Music Unlimited service)

While it all looks brand new, SEN is simply an alternative interface for all the content listed on the regular Home menu. And any extra apps that you can download in SEN can also be downloaded from the Opera TV Store, which you'll find listed under Network on the Home menu.

The BDP-S790 comes with lots of apps pre-installed, many more than you'll find on the New Apple TV (Latest Model - Launched Mar 2012). For example, in the Video category there's the BBC iPlayer (with a slick new interface), Demand 5, LOVEFiLM, Netflix and YouTube. And in the Network category there's Skype (requires a Sony CMUBR100 Skype Camera for Bravia TV), Internet Browser, Facebook and the Opera TV Store where you can access Tvitter. The problem is, the actual quality of these apps and the experience of using them leaves a lot to be desired. The BDP-S790 may have a dual core processor for fast performance, but the speed at which screens load and the lack of animation makes it feel low-tech compared to the Apple TV. Sure, it has an Internet Browser, but entering URLs using the remote control is awkward and difficult to do. For example, to just type in "Amazon.co.uk" you have to press: 2, 6, 2, 9 (four times), 6 (three times), 6 (two times), 1, 2 (three times), 6 (three times), 1, 8 (two times), and 5 (two times)!

What about the actual picture quality when playing a Blu-ray disc? Well the thing is, I've never seen a Blu-ray disc look bad. I tested Disney's Tangled [Blu-ray] on the BDP-S790 and it looked perfect, but it'd probably look perfect on a Blu-ray player half the price. There are 12 video settings that you can adjust, such as Texture Remaster, Super Resolution, Smoothing and Contrast Remaster, but I didn't think they improved the picture; they just made it look processed and synthetic.

The BDP-S790 has a feature called Digital Cinema 4K upscaling, which converts your Blu-ray discs up to 4K resolution. 4K (aka Quad Full High Defintion) is a new standard that has double the resolution of 1920x1080 HDTV, resulting in approximately 4000 horizontal pixels! The only problem is, the technology is so new that there currently aren't any 4K TVs on the market. Even Sony only sell two 4K products: this BDP-S790 Blu-ray player, and the Sony Projector/4K Native Home 1000000:1. Needless to say, 4K upscaling isn't particularly useful at the moment.

Overall, I think the Sony BDP-S790 is a good product. It's packed full of state-of-the-art technology, and has an endless number of features. However, unless you really need Skype, two HDMI outputs and Digital Cinema 4K upscaling, I'd recommend Sony's next model down (the Sony BDPS590 Smart 3D Blu-ray Player with Built-in Wi-Fi (New for 2012)) which is significantly cheaper.
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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Oct 2012, 16:06:46 BST
Steve22 says:
This is the lengthiest, most comprehensive and helpful review I have ever read. It tells me more about the product than any product description does from any retalier, including the pros and cons of the product. Thanks for all this!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012, 19:28:20 GMT
Alan says:
Thank you very much. That means a lot to me :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2012, 19:58:05 GMT
Kate says:
hi, i didnt know whether to buy the 590 or 790 model but after reading your fabulous review i think i'll opt for the 590 - i wish al reviews were as informative as yours, thank you very much!!

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Nov 2012, 11:58:28 GMT
Alan says:
Thanks Kate. It's great to know that my reviews do actually help some people.

Posted on 31 Dec 2012, 12:04:43 GMT
K. Pai says:
What a fantastic unselfish , honest and comprehensive review. We need more of these as it is genuinely helpful given the vast array of products available. Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jan 2013, 19:22:30 GMT
Alan says:
Thank you very much for the positive feedback. I'm glad my review helped you.

Posted on 2 Jan 2013, 21:58:15 GMT
JackBauer says:
hi, could u please tell me if this player is multi region? an have abilty to play multy region dvds/blurays?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2013, 12:12:35 GMT
Alan says:
The Sony BDP-S790 is Region 2 (Europe, Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, etc) only for DVDs and Region B (Europe, Africa, Middle East, New Zealand, Australia) only for Blu-ray Discs. I hope that helps.

Posted on 19 Jan 2013, 13:52:58 GMT
Miss Canthus says:
Excellent review, and unselfish too. I appreciate the detail and input. Thanks a lot.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jan 2013, 19:09:20 GMT
Alan says:
Thank you, I'm glad you found it useful.
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