Pros Very nice when it's working.
Cons 1. Not enough connections on the CPU. 2. Windows MCE crashes and locks up alot. 3. Customer service is non-existent. 4. The DVD player's video quality is so-so and stutters. More below!
Summary Most of this review can be confirmed by going to the Sony Website and looking up this unit. You can bring up the back of the CPU and look at the connections I will speak about…..
First off, this system is only for certain home theater setups. Read carefully; if you intend on using anything but an antenna for an HDTV signal DO NOT BUY THIS! In other words, if you intend on passing through a decoded HDTV signal from any set top box, i.e. cable or satellite, the best video connection you can connect to the CPU portion of this unit is S-Video. S-Video does not pass through an HDTV signal!....
Look at the new HDTV receiver’s DirecTV is coming out with before you buy this also. You will NOT be able to use this with the new MPEG4 HDTV receivers they will be using very soon. These new receivers will have HDMI and DVI out for the best audio and video you can get with current technology and it will make this unit obsolete immediately!....
Inside my shipping box was a letter from Sony stating they had misstated the capabilities of this unit in their advertising. The Component video out does NOT support an HDTV signal. So, if you don't have HDMI or DVI on your TV then you have to connect with component or S-Video and you will NOT receive an HDTV signal. And as noted above, if you are using anything but a rooftop antenna for your HDTV signal it doesn’t matter what your TV has for hookups, you can’t get the signal through the CPU!....
Other problems. The DVD player is stated to be able to run programs, watch TV, edit video, etc. while it is ripping info from CD’s and DVD’s. It cannot do this without either slowing the system to a crawl or crashing. It did both several times while I was attempting to catalog my DVD library. The video from my DVD’s were OK at best from this unit. The DVD’s would occasionally stutter while playing, I think it was due to slow processing of the information…..
Windows MCE 2005 has problems also. I’m not 100% if it was due to the software Sony puts on the system to integrate the DVD player or if it’s Microsoft, but my system would lockup at times and crash several times. My wife gave up trying to use it and all but ordered me to “send this &%$@ back where you got it”. This unit is designed to make your home theater more enjoyable and user friendly, what we got was 5 days of utter frustration and me apologizing for subjecting my family to this torture…..
I gave this a 1 because of the lack of proper connections on the back of the CPU and the locking up and crashing of Windows; it made this unit almost unusable. The customer service from Sony is non-existent at this stage because “we have not been trained on that unit yet”. The best I got out of a level 2 technician was "yes, I agree with you about the connections. I'll bring this up when I go to training and hopefully we'll get this fixed on the next units". Enough said.
Pros Looks good and has 200 disk changer
Cons does not decode DTS and resolution issues
Summary Sometimes you gotta wonder who decides " Hey this is it lets ship"
Who actually tests these things ?
I've purchased one of these utits not really knowing how new of a product this is, I like to purchase when all bugs and issues are resolved. So i became a test pig.
connecting this system to my home theatre was not much different than hooking up my old Sony Vaio computer to my Sharp projector via vga port.
First off forget about tech support they know nothing at this point not to mension 5 different techs with 5 different answers.
It seems your playback resolution of dvd and desktop resolution are 2 different things. In my case component video out gave me my best desktop resolution 16:9 aspect ratio and 110 inches of 720p nice image, except when you go to play a movie the resolution is too high (playback not happening)dvd playback is 480p
Ok fine lets switch to HDMI, this output put me in a 4:3 aspect ratio whic there was no getting out and only 2 options for a so so desktop resolution so there we go, is Sony ready to enter the 2005 home theatre market i dont think so not with this 1980 piece of equiptment... oh buy the way did anyone at Sony ever hear of DTS or THX decoding
Pros This computer is absolutley beautiful, and powerful with a Pentium D Dual Core processor.
Cons No legal DVD ripping software to interface with media center, but SONY somewhat gets around this with the 200 Disc DVD Changer
Summary All of the up to 200 DVDs which can be inserted into the changer can be viewed in the "My DVDs" section of Windows Media Center. Just use your remote to click on the icon (with cover art) and you can play the DVD. This works especially well if you own Seasons of a TV show and want to easily find episodes. The up to 1TB of hard drive space avalible is pretty nice, although the VAIO Type X Living in Japan has up to 3 TB of storage (with optional networked storage/tv tuner box). The video output (HDMI) is sepurb, especially if you have a newer HTDV. Most media center PCs do not have this high quality output forcing you to use a lower quality DV output).
The bottom line is that this is as close to perfect as you could ask for for a living room media center. It, by far out classes all the competition from HP and other manufactures. The only thing which could be improved would be to fill the DVD changer (the larger box) with 500 GB hard drives and allow DRM DVD ripping onto them so you can view it within the Windows Media Center interface.
Pros Has nice features
Cons Very poor Sony support.
Summary Computer will not boot up. Support from Sony is non-existent. The Sony store where the unit was purchased is out of business....nice.
Pros Great concept
Cons Awful execution, absolutely zero support, no HD, poor mpeg encoder, abysmal software support...I could go on and on.
Summary I must say this has been the absolutely worst $1100 I have ever spent. I wanted to replace my old ReplayTV, and when I saw the deal on tigerdirect.com, I couldn't pass it up. PLEASE TAKE MY ADVICE, RUN...don't walk...away from this awful mishmash of technology.
Unless you want something that looks cool under your tv, nearly 90% of the features you really want are either hard to find or just won't work. I've had broken encoders, bad tuners, mis-matched drivers, weekly BSODs, and to top it off, the DVD-RW drive won't recognize DVD-RWs! So, after begging for someone to come take a look at it for 4 months...they sent out a tech that had never seen one of these before. He confirmed, "yep, it be broke". The Sony phone tech said "send it back, we'll warranty repair it". They sent a LAPTOP box to send it back in. Then, a month later, they call me and tell me that I need to spend $400 to repair it. AND IT NEVER WORKED!
And guess what? Who do you complain to at Sony? Exactly noooobody. I'm out $1100, and a lot of wasted hours on hold with Sony Tech support. Please DO NOT BUY this piece of dung.