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CNET First Look
Sony BDV-E500WThe Sony BDV-E500W is an attractive home theater system with built-in Blu-ray and wireless rear speakers, but it's too expensive and lacks streaming media services such as Netflix or Pandora found on cheaper competing systems.
[ music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Hi, I'm Matthew Moskovciak, Senior Associate Editor from CNET.com. We're here with the Sony BDV-E500W. This is a 5.1 home theater system with built in Blu-ray. And with a list price of $800 it's one of the more expensive home theater in a box systems we've reviewed. Now there's a couple of reasons for the premium price tag. One it comes with front tall-boy speakers. And it has a little bit more of a stylish appearance than some of the other systems we have. They have a glossy black finish, which is also shared by the much smaller surround speakers, center channel, and sub-woofer. Now another reason the system is so expensive is that it's one of the few home theater in a box units we've seen with wireless rear speakers out of the box. There's a wireless receiver that you place in the back of your living room, and then you run a couple of wires to the surround speakers. So it's not truly wireless, but at least you don't have to run wires from the from your home theater all the way to the back. You will also note that Sonny includes an iPods dock with the system, which is a nice touch. But we do prefer the integrated iPod dock on the Panasonic and LG units we reviewed, because you have to deal with a little bit more wire clutter on the Sony. Now while it does have Blu-ray and it is BD-Live compatible, the Sony doesn't include any streaming media features, such as Netflix or Amazon Video on Demand that we've seen on virtually all the other Blu-ray HD IB's we've reviewed. At this price we felt that it should at least have Netflix or Amazon Video on Demand. If you look around back another disadvantage is that the Sony doesn't have any video inputs. That means if you're connecting a game console or a cable box, you're gonna need to make a separate connection to your TV and the system, and you'll have to fumble with remotes every time you switch inputs. For about the same price or less you can get systems from Samsung and LG that have 2 HDMI inputs, which is a little bit nicer design. Now even with these shortcomings we could have looked past them if the Sony blew us away with the sound quality, but in fact we've found that the sound quality was just about average. So all together while we really like the Sony's style, and it does offer a great Blu-ray experience, out of the box we didn't feel that the sound quality or the features that it had really justified the high price tag. I'm Matthew Moskovciak, Senior Associate Editor at CNET.com. And this is the Sony BDV-E500W. ^E00:02:25