Pros Stunning Picture Quality; Free TV Guide
Cons Remote Control; Free TV Guide
Summary After a month or so of use, I was all set to come and rate this product a 9/10. The picture quality is absolutely terrific (FAR better than the Motorola HD box I had been using previously), and a recorded HD program has no noticeable difference from a live broadcast HD program. The only drawback I could see at the time was that the remote control has no "Last" button (i.e., one cannot easily return to the last viewed channel... in fact it take 3 buttons to do this) and also that channel changing is extremely slow. Beyond that, the TV Guide system is easy to set up and FREE!!! What's better than free, right?
After several months of ownership, however, I have had an inordinate amount of difficulty with the TV Guide listings. After a couple of months, the unit simply "forgets" to retrieve TV Guide listings and then not only is Guide information not available, but also scheduled shows do not record because the unit believes they are not being aired. Talk about frustrating.
Also, the TV Guide feature is *extremely* difficult to customize. For instance, if you wish to simply view the channels in your lineup from lowest to highest, you have to go through and order EVERY. CHANNEL. INDIVIDUALLY. This takes upwards of an hour if you have 200+ channels to sort and a mathematical mind.
Finally, although it isn't Sony's fault, my cable company (Comcast) had no idea whatsoever how to get their cable card to work with their cable service. I had to have not one, not two, but three technicians out to my house before they finally fixed the problem in their headend and I was able to receive the channels I was paying for.
All in all, this is a fantastic-looking unit that excels in most categories. However, those categories that fall short fall VERY short, and at times make this unit unusable. Channel flipping should be made MUCH easier. For $499 it felt like a great deal, and I would only do it again if I knew that Sony could update the firmware on this machine to fix some of its major bugs. The TV Guide system is fantastic when it works and maddening when it doesn't.
Bottom line: if you buy this unit, be prepared to "maintain" it (by power cycling and waiting for Guide data to repopulate) every couple of months. When it's working, you'll absolutely love it.
Pros Easy setup. Highly configurable.
Cons Remote Control-- No mute - Not very universal
Summary After completing intial setup (wiring) and turning the unit on, a simple menu will guide you through the software (TV Guide) setup. This took about 5 or 10 minutes. After 24 hours your ready to search and record to your hearts' content.
The TV Guide menus and tool bar do involve a learning curve. This is not your typical dummy-proof DVR or Tivo. However, the Sony is a lot more configurable than the typical DVR.
The remote control does not have a mute button and it feels very flimsy. It would not control my wife's Norcent TV. Looking at the available codes in the manual, it appears the remote is not very universal.
The $799 street price will go down by next year (just like all new electronic toys). But considering the typical decent HD tuner is around $250-$500 this Sony is really a great deal for HD ready TVs (without tuners).
For a side note. My wife hates this unit. Again she wants a dummy proof Tivo box (Without HD recording-unless Dish network) paying $$$ a month or Cable DVR paying $$$ for digital plus DVR service. So I moved the box to another room to compliment my Sony TV and I love it.
Pros Ability to record high quality hd ota without going through cable and statellite signal compression, no overpriced subscription fees, no dvr fee. Free tv!
Cons None that I can think of.
Summary These units are well built and do what they are supposed to do. The tuner does a much better job than the Samsung sir-t451. Analog tv has been poor in the Pleasanton area, so when digital came along, I tried a quality rooftop antenna setup and discovered I get everything being broadcast
from SF.The Sony was really the only free ota dvr to choose from (the LG model was poor). Now Sony has discontinued these units for some unknown reason,(new model coming??)and unless someone comes out with a new one, their will be no free ota dvr's.
So anyway, when Bestbuy dropped their price to $499 + $25 gift card, I bought 2 and I cancelled my over $80 a month (and going up)
cable sub. I can live without CNN and the garden channel.
Pros Outstanding HD Recorder
Cons TV Guide On Screen
Summary Picked up the Sony from Best Buy on clearance after taking back the TIVO 80 hour recorder(dont get me started w/TIVO). I liked the tuner in the XBR and I thought I would take a chance...WOW... Used it for the Olympics and for 24 and it does an amazing job. The TV Guide system takes some time to get used to but overall it get's a 9 out of 10 from me. UNCELSONY
"Just Excellent"on by kylemax21
Pros HDTV that never misses a program
Cons None that I can think of
Summary This is the best dvr I ever owned.I had replaytv and tivo but at least this is totally free of paying a monthly fee.I have never missed a program and has never had a problem in th 2 years I have owned it.Great job again Sony!