The BDP-S780 is the flagship model for Sony’s 2011 Blu-ray Player line-up. While it costs more than most players (Listed at $250.00), Sony tries to justify the price by loading the player with tons of features and functionality. This 3D player has built-in Wi-Fi, a wide set of online streaming services, DLNA support, Skype and much more. It is also an extremely fast player, however it does have some minor video processing issues. But overall, the BDP-S780 Blu-ray DVD Player should please a lot of consumers searching for a all-in-one Blu-ray player that can do most everything.
The BDP-S780 is a compact player with a glossy black finish. Basically an identical design to the rest of the Sony’s 2011 models. The front consist of a protruding lip containing the power button on the left side. Other controls like the Play, Pause and Eject are to the center, with a USB port located on the far right. The design probably won’t win any awards for style, but there should be no problems finding space for it in your home theater.
The remote control is basic and simple to use. The player’s navigation system, like Sony’s other players, is the XrossMediaBar menu system. This award-winning navigation system is easy to use and should not present any major problems. However, searching your way through the many online streaming services that is offered can get a little tedious. And the overall use of the XrossMedia Bar menu system does not function as good as it does on Sony’s PlayStation 3.
VIDEO QUALITY: The BDP-S780 has excellent Full 1080p video output on both 3D and standard blu-ray discs. It is capable of up-converting your old DVDs to near HD levels. Tests have revealed some video processing problems such as slight tearing in quickly moving footage, such as scrolling text. Despite this however, the BDP-S780 is equipped with the current generation Super Bit Mapping for Video processor (16 Bit Video Processing), producing stunning images with tremendous depth and clarity. So even with some minor video processing issues, the video quality produced by the BDP-S780 is very good.
Another feature, the I/P Noise Reduction, helps improve the picture quality of Internet Streaming content. The best picture quality will be achieve via a HDMI connection, but there are also Composite and Component Outputs too.
AUDIO QUALITY: To compliment the outstanding video quality, the BDP-S780 has support for the latest high-resolution audio formats. It can decode Dolby® TrueHD and dts®-HD (Master Audio and High Resolution Audio), as well as bit-stream output via a HDMI connection. Unfortunately, it does not have any 7.1-ch analog outputs. So this may not be a good match for those with an older non-HDMI A/V receiver. Another great audio feature of the BDP-S780 is its Multi-room Music with Party Streaming™ Mode. Here you can wirelessly stream music (even SACD) anywhere you want to if you have compatible Sony Network speakers.
Because the BDP-S780 has built-in Wi-Fi setting up streaming music can be accomplished quickly and easily. This also goes for accessing Sony Internet TV, where you can find dozens of online media services like Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Hulu Plus and much more. Sony, compared to its competitors, has by far the most online streaming options available. And it has Gracenote Meta Service with Cross Search. This great feature gives you access to data regarding the content you are viewing. And it lets you search across selected internet apps like YouTube and Qriocity.
Other useful features include iPhone®/iPad® and Android™ phone Remote Control, Quick Start/Quick Load, USB playback, Skype video calls/voice calls for free, 2D-to-3D conversion and DLNA support (Stream content from your PC).
THE PROS: The BDP-S780 is Sony’s flagship model for 2011. It seems built to highlight everything Sony blu-rays have to offer. It has many great features including 2D to 3D conversion of DVDs and standard blu-ray discs. It has the convenience of built-in Wi-Fi, access to great streaming online services (Netflix®, YouTube™, HuluPlus™, Pandora), DLNA Certified, USB playback,16 Bit Video Processing, Skype capability, Quick Start/Quick Load, I/P Noise Reduction and much more. There is also added features you may want to take advantage of like, Multi-room Music with Party Streaming™ Mode, Gracenote™ Metadata Service and a free “Media Remote” app.
THE CONS: 2D to 3D conversion is a great feature, but it is a little redundant since most new 3D HDTVs already have this feature. Being the top-level model of this years Sony line-up, it is strange the BDP-S780 does not have any internal memory. If you want to download BD-Live data, a USB memory stick is required. (At least 1 GB of memory is recommended to be used). Concerning that is has Sony’s best video processing, but still has some video quality issues.
THE FINAL WORD: The BDP-S780 is worthy of being called Sony’s flagship model for 2011. Sony has equipped the player with many great features while still maintaining the basic blu-ray functions. That is providing excellent HD images and sound. However, if you are looking for a more basic model without some of the extra features such as Skype or 2D to 3D conversion, then you may want to have a look at Sony’s BDP-S580 model. It is basically the same model without some of the bells and whistles of the BDP-S780, — Price you should look for when purchasing — Under $250.00