Big Test: Sony Home Theater

Posted on: 03/27 by Elijah Mendoza

Here it is, tech fans: the home-theater review that's only possible with enough space, time, and balls to handle a collection that's worth almost as much as a brand-new Chery.

For this test, we got ahold of Sony's BDP-S350 Blu-ray player (P39,990), HT-SF2300 home-theater speakers (P30,990), and BRAVIA KLV-40Z450A LCD TV (P229,990).

 

Titanic TV

We'll start with the biggest item on the menu, the jumbo-licious KLV-40Z450A. There's no disputing that this is a larger-than-average set for the typical Pinoy, and true enough, it could pass off as an extra wall in our humble test lab.

The 40Z450A is nice to look at and is very classy. A soft-glowing Sony logo mesmerizes you while in the dark as you watch HD videos on the screen. The sheer size alone makes you want to break even your old DVDs out just to see how they look like on this 40-incher.

Videos, although generally above par, show significant weakness with blue hues and dark scenes. There's more than noticeable banding with the former and irritating graininess with the latter -- both are visible even with a high-end source like the BDP-S350 playing a Blu-ray disc of Superman. Tweaking with the settings helps, but not as much because you tend to sacrifice brightness and color detail when you turn down brightness.

A bit of good news, though: This TV boasts the best built-in speakers we've ever tested, even better than the LG Scarlet's. We plugged in our PS3 directly to the TV, and the built-in woofer made all the difference in the world.

Press play

Next, we have the BDP-S350. At almost 40 grand, it's still inexplicably expensive even though it's been around for a while. It looks like a serious piece of HT equipment, but it's easily trumped by the relatively more playful PS3 in terms of functionality.

The XMB interface is the same as that in all of Sony's products, but the one in the S350 is a little tedious to use given the sluggish response time. Execution lags are common, and above all, the player takes quite a while to "boot up," too. It's like the Windows Vista of Blu-ray players.

To make the S350 work with the whole BRAVIA theater setup, it just needs to be connected to the HT-SF2300 via an HDMI cable. The control console of the SF2300 takes care of the rest.

Sound speakers

That being said, let's move on to the speaker system. The SF2300 is very affordable by Sony's standards. The speakers, though tall, are not imposing like Jamo's, but they do look sleek and modern. Unfortunately, the stands aren't kid-proof -- they topple easily.

Watching scenes with orchestra music such as the opening credits of Superman and Back to the Future is an experience to behold. The speakers work very well for music, but when it comes to dialog and spoken words, it turns muddy and a little ngongo, to put it bluntly.

 

Bravo BRAVIA Sync

Of course, every piece of equipment gets its own remote and each features unique buttons that let you tweak options specific to the component it came with.

On all three remotes, however, the most notable of the buttons is the One Touch Theater Sync, which automatically optimizes the whole rig to the best possible setting. One press and your notice the screen dims down to theater-grade levels and the audio beefs up.

The verdict

In general, the setup is a great way to usher one's self into the world of home-theater systems. It's far from the most cost-effective solution, but considering you get the ease-of-use Bravia Sync, you get an idiot-proof experience that's more than welcome especially when dealing with these types of specialized equipment.

Tip: When purchasing your first-ever home-theater set, it's good to stick with one brand. Physically, setting it up won't be easier, but you'll spare yourself from the headache of having components that don't "talk" to each other.

Click on the product to check the full specs in the buyers guide:

 

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COMMENTS


  1. wenks: hmm naturally it is very expensive... hmmm can u have an article about how to *ssemble home theatre in affordable price ^_^
    July 28, 2020 at 6:08 pm

  2. Mon: Hello! Your price figure is way off the scale! Your SONY KLV40Z450A price as per your page is whopping Php229,990.90 kindly check this website for another pricing http://www.sony.com.ph/product/klv-40z450a. Im sorry but i failed to understand the logic and reasoning behind posting wrong information. I strongly suggest you review your contents before posting so as not to mislead innocent consumers. And by the way I doubt the other items as well.
    January 12, 2020 at 2:19 am

  3. Mommy Techie: Hi, Mon! Please check the date. This article was uploaded March of last year (way before we went live). The Sony product was still P200k+ then. We're in the process of updating our Buyer's Guide.
    January 12, 2020 at 9:05 am

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