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Category: Hardware Published on Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Sony BDP-S780: Big Surprises in a Little Package 

When we were first asked to look at the new Sony BDP-S780 Blu-Ray player ($240), I sort of rolled my eyes and muttered, "Here we go. Another 'new generation' piece of electronics with a few minor upgrades."

Boy, was I wrong! In fact, if you're embarrassed by people that gush over pieces of electronics equipment, you should probably stop reading.

The BDP-S780 blew us away!

Imagine not having to wait 13 seconds or longer for a disc to load. Most Blu-ray discs loaded in three seconds.

Imagine an HD sound processor that really takes advantage of a 7.1 surround sound system. The BDP-S780 delivered crisp, clear sound that took advantage of all of the features of my Yamaha sound system.

Imagine a library of apps rivaling many of the so-called "smart" TVs. There's not only the usual -- Pandora, Netflix, etc. -- but a few that we never heard of, including Crackle, which features old TV shows and movies (with commercials).

Imagine a quick and easy network setup. The built-in Wi-Fi receiver connected to my wireless network without a problem, even though the modem was two floors away.

Imagine being able to use a smartphone app instead of a remote control. The Sony Media app is designed to work with any Android phone, plus iPhones and iPads.

Imagine, being able to add a webcam and use Skype on your TV.

The list is endless.

The only thing we weren't able to test were the unit's 3D capabilities or its ability to stream music to Sony's wireless speakers, because we didn't have the right hardware.

Check out www.sonystyle.com for more information. Word of warning: There are a few negative comments posted on the BDP-S780's product page that may deter you from purchasing this product. My tests found that a simple firmware and software upgrade via the wireless network solved all of the problems.

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