Sony BDP-S790

It may be pricier than other models, but Sony's BDP-S790 is a feature-filled Blu-ray player that, if not future proof, stands a good chance of being future resistant for a while.


9.0
CNET Rating
10.0
User Rating

View more from Sony »

About The Author

CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.


It may be pricier than other models, but Sony's BDP-S790 is a feature-filled Blu-ray player that, if not future proof, stands a good chance of being future resistant for a while.

Sony's BDP-S790 is an excellent example of what we're slowly coming to expect from networked devices, packing in an impressive selection of catch-up TV services, Sony's own Entertainment Network, social media connectivity and — impressively — 4K upscaling, all in a well designed, slim-line Blu-ray player.

Features and design

The S790 is a pleasingly slim player — at just 1.9kg and slightly under 20cm deep, it'll fit comfortably into even the smallest lounge room. The design is remarkable unobtrusive — the front is almost blank, with just the disc bay, a recessed USB port and a small number of capacitive touch controls on the top for eject, play and stop. While the design looks and feels solid and well made, the top is on the shiny side and we quickly left visible fingerprints around the buttons.

On the rear is a LAN port, a second USB, optical out, composite video/audio plugs, plus two HDMI out ports. Wi-Fi is built in. The two HDMI ports might be overkill for an average user, but they do allow for video and audio separation. One could hook the video directly to a 3D capable TV, while using the HDMI 2 port to connect audio via an AV receiver that doesn't allow 3D pass through — we were pleased to note that this is even addressed quite effectively in the operating manual, complete with an illustration on how to get it up and running.

The rear of the BDP-S790.
(Credit: CNET)

It's worth noting that while the S790 does support 4K upscaling, we'll need to wait for a 4K TV before we can test this particular feature.

Sony has packed in a host of video, music and catch-up TV apps, both from its own Sony Entertainment Network series and also third-party apps, such as iView, Plus7, and even Skype. The list of supported file types is comprehensive, including MPG, MKV, MP4, AVI, WMV, along with the familiar standards of MP3, WMA and, of course, JPG and the like.

Performance

The initial set up of the S790 was simple — we tried both a wired and a Wi-Fi network.The unit easily found both and was quickly connected to the internet.

In terms of playback, the S790 is reasonably swift to load discs. Spider-Man 3 was ready in around 28 seconds, while Clash of the Titans took 24. It responded rapidly to the remote when pausing and skipping, and we were pleased with the onscreen options menu. It sits off to the right side during playback and lets you make a number of audio and video changes on the fly, in addition to the standard options, such as subtitle and chapter changes.

The video was crisp and clean, even rapid action scenes produced a beautiful result. We were also impressed by standard DVD playback — again, a smooth video that was sharp and highly watchable.

Looking at the range of catch-up TV apps that Sony has put on the S790, we found that iView was ready in around 8 seconds, and about the same for Plus7, Network Ten and the like. They all feature a standard grid interface that was intuitive and simple to use. We liked the integration of the remote as well, especially the way the middle control wheel of the remote lets you zoom in and out of the video by clicking up or down, a boon for anyone who finds streaming catch-up too blocky on larger screen TVs.

Conclusion

While pricier than the competition, this is an excellent player that is positively brimming with excellent features. It's unlikely that the 4K upscaling will come into play for some time, but the internet video and music capabilities of the BDP-S790 are excellent. If we had to complain, we would point out that the remote feels rather light and plastic-y — at odds with the nice construction of the player itself, but at this point, we're be splitting hairs. A great device that's well worth the premium price.



Add Your Review 2


* Below fields optional


Post comment as
DanL
10
Rating
 

"Outstanding!"

DanL posted a review   

The Good:Reads all video formats, 2 HDMI ports, fery fast loading

The Bad:a little bit noisy when is loading the disc

I bought this player together with a new 3D TV set. First, I chose it because it reads all the new video formats, 3D included. I tested it and it does a great job. Its major advantage is the possibility to split sound from image if you have a receiver that does not support 3D signal. You will save a lot of money, keeping the actual amplifier. I have a Denon 1910 receiver which cannot handle 3D signal, so I am very glad with this feature. The quality of the image is outstanding, as it should be. Another big step forward is the huge improvement of the SD image. Old DVDs are looking much better on this player.
Honestly, I don't care about any other features it has. There are so many devices connected to the Internet in every corner of the house, than I see no purpose to connect another one. That's me, but I think that there are a lot of people interested to have all these features. The remote controller is very classic, and handy. You'll get used whit it in seconds.
The minus is the fact that surprisingly, this player is somehow noisy. There are some steps in loading a disc when it vibrates and makes some noise. Not to much, but loud enough to be heard.
This could be the way to produce a player with so many features at a price around 200 euros.
I hope this one will last at least as long as my old Panasonic BDP 30, which we are still using in another room.

 

grumpi posted a comment   
Australia

The BDP-S480 was criticised for not being region-free.

Does the S790 rectify that problem?

If not, I'm not interested.

Region encoding is a corrupt corporate practice that should be criminalised by all nations.

RichardS5 Facebook
1
Rating
 

RichardS5 posted a review   

Absolutely! These companies which benefit from public trust are robbing the people of the world by this practice and the best way to fight them is to boycott buying this kind of discs. People of the World unite!!




Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments  Sony BDP-S790

  • DanL

    DanL

    Rating10

    "I bought this player together with a new 3D TV set. First, I chose it because it reads all the new video formats, 3D included. I tested it and it does a great job. Its major advantage is the possib..."

  • grumpi

    grumpi

    "The BDP-S480 was criticised for not being region-free.

    Does the S790 rectify that problem?

    If not, I'm not interested.

    Region encoding is a corrupt corporate..."

CNET Speedtest

Recently Viewed Products