There are many home theatre systems in the market, each with plenty of features but there are very few Blu-ray home theatres. Sony has gone one step ahead and launched the BDV-E870, a Blu-ray home theatre system with a 5.1 channel speaker system. Well, this may not be a new thing but Sony has also thrown in a 3D-capable Blu-ray player in the bundle.
Glossy black finish makes it look very attractive
Design and Build quality
The Sony BDV-E870 Blu-ray home theatre system comes with a Blu-ray player that also doubles up as a built-in amplifier. The 5.1 channel speakers consist of two tallboy speakers, two rear speakers and a comparatively smaller centre channel speaker. This home theatre system looks classy with a glossy black finish. The Blu-ray player is larger than other players since it houses the amplifier and has a very clean finish with the front of the player in glossy black. The disc tray at looks really neat and is well cloaked with the rest of the front panel. On the bottom right is a ridge which houses various buttons like the eject, play, stop function as well as the USB slot. The top of the player has a matte black finish. At the back panel, there are colour coded plugs that help in the easy setting up of the connectors for the speakers. These plugs are not RCA connectors or open cables, instead they are proprietary connects which Sony manufactures themselves. Other ports at the back include a LAN connector, single video composite out, video component out, HDMI port, and audio out.
The BDV-E870 Blu-ray player has 3D video playback (though a software upgrade may be required when you buy it) however to use this feature you would require a TV that has 3D capabilities and 3D glasses as well.
The audio calibration microphone that comes along with the package makes configuring the home theatre system really easy. The calibration process is automatic and can be accessed through the settings menu. It takes a maximum of three minutes to set up the speakers during this auto calibration thus saving a lot of trouble and time. The entire Blu-ray player can be setup using a wizard as well.
The centre and rear channel speakers
The interface on the BDV-E870 is the Xcross Media Bar (XMB) which is basically the same software interface used on the PlayStation 3. The interface features icons that are spread horizontally across the screen. Navigation moves the icons which are used as categories to organize the options available to the user. When an icon is selected on the horizontal bar, several more appear vertically, above and below it. Using the BDV-E870 becomes really simple with all the features being easily accessible in a manner of key presses.
The remote control seems a little confusing on first sight but once you get used to it (which takes a few minutes or so) won’t seem so bad at all. Though loaded with a multitude of buttons, this remote is compact in size.Despite this, it feels sturdy.
We were able to easily stream video content using Sony’s Bravia Internet video feature. This is a very interesting feature on the BDV-E870, where you can connect to a LAN connection and view videos streams from a variety of channels like YouTube, Style.com, BlipTV, and many more sites. One can also choose to buy an optional USB WLAN adapter.
Music of different formats can be played on the BDV-E870. There is support for USB storage devices and also iPod support. Music playback is seamless. Mobile phones can also be synced through the USB with a number of audio formats tested.
We tested the Sony BDV-E870 using a Blu-ray copy of The Last Samurai along with a bunch of music tracks from different genres. We had high expectations from this system since it boasted of having 1000W RMS surround sound.
Colour coded connectors along with plenty of others on the rear panel
When we tried playing the movie, the playback was impressive. We noticed no stuttering while playing back video. The speakers surrounds you well with sounds emitting from the rear speakers with the subtle noises of crickets or birds chirping. The rear speakers weren’t very loud though. The centre channel speaker sounded powerful with most amount of the audio output coming from it. However, we did notice that the sound quality was distorting at maximum volume.
While playing music, we were slightly disappointed with the output quality of the speakers. The audio performance seemed to be lacking. The tracks sounded hollow for the most part – this was more obvious with music than with movies. While testing the sound with tracks from the rock genre, it was noticed that the subwoofer lacked the hard thump bass. The woofer does not perform as well as we’d expected them to. While playing music, we did notice that the volume was seemingly low till the 24 point. From levels 25 onwards, it would suddenly become very loud. This was something we noticed while watching movies as well.
Streaming Internet on this player over a LAN connection was good and the channels we tested played the content without any stoppages or buffering between playing time. The iPod feature works well as a feature, but as with the quality of the audio output, it too sounded a bit distorted. Though being able to support most USB devices, as with all players, the BDV-E870 couldn’t detect our NTFS formatted hard drive.
The compact but sturdy remote control
The Sony BDV-E870 sells for Rs. 39,990, which sounds like a lot of money but you must consider the fact that it sells with a 3D-capable Blu-ray player and a complete home theatre audio setup. We’re not terribly impressed by the audio quality of the home theatre speakers. If you are a home theater enthusiast, then this may not be the product for you. But if you are on a somewhat constrained budget, and want an easy out-of-the-box solution, this may be the ideal home theatre system for you.
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