As technology races into the future and we strive to push our home entertainment systems to the extremes of what we can actually do in our homes the next push is arguably “4K output”. We don’t have many televisions that can handle this yet of course, but it’s the next big buzzword.
HD is popular now, most people love the quality that Blu-ray provides us with and love their HD enabled televisions but most don’t even realise that 4K is coming. For those that do though there are projectors, even bigger screen televisions and of course the Blu-ray players that are coming; the Sony BDP-S790 being of them. From the outside it’s quite a boring looking box, but inside it’s a beast waiting to get out and deliver those much promised 4K visuals, it just needs something to output it to.
Other than the 4K output options, the BDP-S790 features the usual Blu-ray, 3D and internet services ranging from iPlayer and Demand 5 to iPlayer, Dailymotion and Sony’s own rental service for movies. There are plenty of options to enjoy other than just Blu-rays. As usual the media file support is provided for both USB and across your home network. One nice addition to note is the IP Content Noise Reduction Pro technology that improves online viewing, which works to make your viewing all the much better.
There are two HDMI ports for your audio and television connection needs. Additional to this is the usual audio connections such as coaxial optical outputs, stereo connections an Ethernet connection (though Wi-Fi is built in) and two USB ports. The USB ports can be used for external media, extra memory and webcam access for Skype.
As is expected with Sony the user interface uses their XcrossMediaBar which is easy to use and will ease anybody familiar with Sony products into easily setting up and using the player. Problems do arise though when there are lots of options such as with the internet services which is quite a long list, of course this is a problem that is well known with this user interface, it’s just a shame Sony has not come up with a better option yet or don’t feel the need to change it.
Audio and Visual Performance
Now to the important part of the BDP-S790, just how good does it look? Especially with the much touted 4K output. The answer to this of course is that it probably looks amazing when you have the hardware to run it. The problem we have right now is that 4K is most definitely the future and most home environments just don’t have the space to cope with the high resolutions visuals and requirements of the new technology. This aside though the other features of the Blu-ray player do make the picture look amazing with its sharp visuals and up-scaling that does make the best out of the hardware you have got. If you have the ability to run 4K visuals too, then you are in for a treat.
On the sound side this is a strong contender and gives you everything that you come to expect from a good Blu-ray player. If you have the home entertainment system to match then you get excellent sound, but there are better systems out there so the audio capabilities are not going to be the big selling point of the BDP-S790, it’s always going to be about the visuals.
With a price of around £239/$248.00 this is a budget player, especially when it comes to the features. With solid 3D performance and an excellent image quality it provides everything expected from a Sony Blu-ray player really, but it is questionable just why the 4K upscaler is needed. As mentioned most homes can’t handle 4K yet and on a player in this price range it comes across as slightly gimmicky, it is nice though to see that this option is available and is being considered though as it arguably future proofs the player for what’s to come.