Editor rating : 8
Editor rating : 8
Editor rating : 8
Editor rating : 8
Editor rating : 7.5
The market for 3D Blu-ray home theatre systems is steadily expanding with quite a few companies developing products and the competition is heating up with pricing becoming an important factor. Sony have recently launched the BDV-E980 Blu-ray Home Theatre System and have packed it with several features. A couple of months back we reviewed the Sony BDV-E870 which did pretty well, so now let us read on to find out if their latest model can compete with or do better than it.
The player is slim in design
Design and Build Quality
The look of the BDV-E980 is something that really caught our attention. Unlike the boxy design of the BDV-E870, the BDV-E980 player looks like it got its influence from the PlayStation 3. The player is glossy black in the front and has a brushed finish on the curved top panel. There is a single disk tray that is located at the left side of the player and it slides out easily. The player is devoid of any buttons except for the on/off switch at the bottom left of the front panel. The USB port is located at the front and this helps in connecting it to a portable drive quickly and easily. The glossy black and brushed finished plastic outer panel make the player look very classy but because of this there are chances that a lot of finger prints can stay on it. The player features all the options on the LED panel at the front. These options are touch sensitive and when switched off, looks like part of the panel enhancing the look of the player.
The rear panel is where the rest of the connectors are located. The speakers' connectors are colour coded proprietary plugs made by Sony and this makes it easy to connect the player to them. There are three HDMI connectors at the back which assist in connecting multiple displays to this player. Other connectors include component, LAN, optical, coaxial and an additional USB port. There is also a port found at the back which connects to an audio calibration mic and helps in setting up the speaker system. These connectors are spaced well and do not make the rear look cluttered.
Glossy black finish
Being a home theatre system, the BDV-E980 comes with a 5.1 channel speaker set. The front and rear speakers are tallboy type and measure approximately 3.95-feet. Like the player, the speakers have a glossy black finish. There is a meshed speaker fabric that covers the drivers of the speaker keeping them out of view. The centre channel speaker is approximately one foot in length and like the other speakers, the cloth on this speaker is very closed knit. The subwoofer is black with a matte finish. The driver is downward facing, and Sony has designed it in such a way that it is raised from the floor. The speakers can be wall mounted and are lightweight. The bundled remote control is not very large but has sufficient controls on it. The buttons and the build of the remote control are very sturdy. Overall the design of this 5.1 channel Blu-ray home theatre system is pretty stylish.
The Sony BDV-E980 belongs to Sony’s Blu-ray capable home theatre system series and also acts as an amplifier. It has 3D capabilities too. These are the same features found on the BDV-E870, but this being a newer model has certain upgrades compared to the older version. The main feature is the design of the player and the addition of four tallboy speakers instead of two. Sony says that there is an increase in power output where the front speakers fire at 167W RMS. The other notable change is the increase in the number of HDMI ports.
Three HDMI ports at the back
This player having 3D capabilities requires a 3D compatible television as well as 3D glasses. The interface of this home theatre system is Xcross Media Bar (XMB) – the same layout that is found on a PS3. By using the remote control, one can easily navigate through the different options found on the screen. The options are all listed horizontally, and when one selects an option all the possibilities in that one line up vertically. The user experience of this player is really nice.
The audio calibration mic that is bundled along with it makes the speaker setup process really simple. This setup can be done through the settings menu and it takes a matter of minutes to complete. The USB port in the front can playback music from mobile phones – this is something we found quite interesting. Also featured is the Sony Bravia Internet where one can access widgets like YouTube by connecting through the LAN port. A software update is required to view a variety of Internet TV streams. So straight out of the box, one may find the Internet content limited. A variety of music formats are playable through the BDV-E980 and these can be used by connecting a drive to either of the USB ports. Video formats such as MP4, AVI and MKV are also playable through this home theatre system. Overall, the feature list of this 3D Blu-ray Home theatre system is quite vast.
We tested the BDV-E980 by playing our How To Train Your Dragon Blu-ray disk. The picture rendered beautifully and the overall playback was smooth. Sony states that the speaker set has a total power output of 1000W RMS. This was the same amount that was stated on the BDV-E870; however, we had our doubts regarding the output. Audio from videos sounded crisp and clear. All channels fired distinctly well and subtle background sounds were clearly heard from the rear speakers.
We hooked a 500GB portable hard drive to the player and were able to play popular video formats such as MP4, AVI and MKV. We played an MKV file which had a resolution of 1080p and a frame rate of 60fps. This file played really well and overall all supported formats rendered well.
Small and sturdy remote control
We played a variety of music formats through this player and on the Auto mode all five speakers sounded good. To hear all speakers fire well straight out of the box really impressed us. The volume at 25 was good with no distortion whatsoever. However, from 26 onwards to the maximum volume of 34, the speakers were drowning out the subwoofer. An advantage this player had over the BDV-E870 was that along with FAT32 drives, NTFS drives are also supported.
The Sony Bravia Internet TV option worked like a charm for YouTube. The video playback was good, however, this has a lot to do with one’s Internet connection as well. The remote control of the system was very responsive and there was no actual need to point it directly at the sensor. As long as it was pointed in the general direction of the player the function was enabled.
Four tallboy speakers add to the look of this home theatre system
The Sony BDV-E980 Blu-ray Home Theatre System sells at a maximum retail price of Rs. 39,990. This is the same price as the BDV-870. With really good looks, more power for the front speakers, 3D capabilities as well as hardly any tweaking out of the box; this is one system to look out for. This 3D Blu-ray home theatre system is designed mainly for a mainstream audience and delivers on all counts. However, if you are an audiophile, this home theatre system may not satiate your appetite. They may want to opt for the higher end Harman/Kardon BDS 700 instead, but it sells for Rs. 20,000 more.
Publish date: August 3, 2011 6:58 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 8:16 pm
3D, 5.1 channel speaker set, audio calibration mic, BDV-E870, Blu-ray, coaxial, FAT32, Harman/Kardon BDS 700, HDMI, Home Theatre System, Home Theatre Systems, LAN, LED panel, NTFS, Optical, PlayStation 3, PS3, Sony BDV-E980, Sony BDV-E980 3D Blu-ray Home Theatre System, Sony Bravia Internet TV, Sony India, Tallboy speakers, USB, Xcross Media Bar, XMB
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