Review: Sony BDP-S780 Network Blu-ray Player

Lots of online apps plus 3D


The Sony BDP-S780 model is their flagship and comes packed with the most features for their Blu-ray product line. SKYPE video calling, 3D up-conversion, and Sony’s SBMV (Super Bit Mapping 16bit processor) lead the feature list for the BDP-S780, and distinguish it from the rest of the pack. Beyond these three features the BDP-S780 retains the complete suite of Network Video and Music options we’ve come to expect from a SONY player. Additionally this Sony unit is one of the fastest players out there, and with the “Quick Start” power mode engaged, the player will boot up and load the Sony Cross Media Bar Menu system (XMB) in about three seconds, and Blu-Rays just a few seconds beyond that. Bottom line the BDP-S780 meets just about every requirement for a great Blu-Ray player today and won’t disappoint even the most feature hungry user.

The network features Sony offers in the BDP-S780 is about as complete as it gets for a Blu-Ray player. Sony provides over 30 different Internet video channels in all, and features pretty much every heavy hitter that’s in the network video channel market.

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Clearly the BDP-S780 has tons of Network features that we’ve all become accustom to, but what about today’s latest and greatest apps? Heck Netflix has been around since 2008, so I’d expect it in a player at this point, and Sony hears you loud and clear here. Where’s the video conferencing one might ask? Well SKYPE takes care of that and Sony even makes an exclusive SKYPE camera that plugs into one of USB ports on the player (model CMU-BR100 msrp $149.99). What about the apps the player doesn’t have? Well since the player is network updateable, new Video and Music features will find their way into the unit as fast as Sony can license them! For example, CinemaNow is already listed as “coming soon” in the video apps list, so Sony does intend to support and update the unit beyond the initial point of purchase. Also with extremely fast network file sharing, practically any music, video, or photo files you add to your home shared network, the BDP-S780 will pick up and playback on your TV. Just remember to go get an HD camcorder otherwise those old 4:3 standard def home videos might not look so hot on the new 55” LED HDTV!

The player has dedicated apps for Photo, Music, and Video files that are shared across the network, which makes file sharing a breeze to configure. Set your desired folder as “shared” on your PC, and the BDP-S780 will detect that computer and folder in the XMB. Select the file and play. The speed of playback will be determined by your Wi-Fi network, but if you have the latest N network router or you hardwire the internet, you should have extremely fast access to your shared media.

Setup and Configuration
Okay, so all of these network features are amazing, and everything sounds great, but if you can’t setup the player and configure it properly, this home theater all-inclusive cruise liner just turned into an antiquated DVD playing tugboat. Luckily, the setup process is pretty simple, and networking and all these special features really are accessible to even the home video networking novice.

Turn the player on for the first time, and the Sony basic startup wizard takes over and will guide you through the motions for getting the BDP-S780 up and running. Initial setup will ask you how its connected (HDMI, component, composite), and your display’s native resolution (1080p, 1080i, 720p, etc.). When choosing the resolution, know that if you select a specific number, the player will use its internal video processor to upscale and force the resolution out for all content. However if you choose AUTO, then the player will best choose the resolution for the source and the screen. This is recommended for users that are not sure about their TV’s resolution.

Read the complete review here at Audioholics and discuss it in the forum here.


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