As a starting point for high-definition home cinema, the E190 is a good one. Features and looks all seem impressive from first glance, and as we look further, it’s more than skin deep too.
Entry level system, with top end looks
Although it shares the same styling cues as the Sony BDP-S390 Blu-ray player, the BDV-E190 looks more substantial. The increased width helps, with the system being a full 430mm wide, but the well designed front panel also gives it a higher quality impression.
With only the power button on the left hand side, most of the other buttons are positioned to the far left, and in 2 separate clusters. The top of the main unit has the main playback buttons and the eject button, and underneath on the front panel next to the display we have the previous/next and function buttons. To the right of these we have a USB port for connecting a drive or MP3 player, hidden beneath a neat cover.
As we’ve noted before, the new curved top design is definitely supposed to take centre stage in your home entertainment set up as you’re not going to be able to stack much on top. For most this won’t we a problem, but if you have other set-top boxes then do consider how you’re going to position them all.
The rear of the machine is fairly standard – we’ve got the 6 proprietary colour coded speaker plug connections, as well as an optical, composite video, phono socket and a single HDMI socket. There is also a LAN terminal for connecting to your home network, but no rear USB socket.
The front and rear speakers are quite narrow at only 91mm wide by 148mm high and the weight holds no surprises at a fairly lightweight 380 grams. The centre speaker is a similar size, and the model we saw came without a badge – a feature we’d like more manufacturers to copy. The subwoofer is 177mm wide by 280mm high and a depth of 245mm and is predictably heavier at 2.7kg. All together, the speakers pump out a respectable 300w – not a volume that’s going to fill larger rooms, but for bedrooms, or more compact lounges, it will be perfectly adequate.
Good online content, but no built-in Wi-Fi to get it
As with most players, to get online you’ve either got to run a cable from your broadband router to the system, or use Wi-Fi instead which requires a wireless dongle in the form of the UWA-BR100. The dongle is unfortunately an additional cost option and will add an extra £60 to £70 to the price.
As mentioned above, the system does not have a rear USB socket so you’re going to have to use the front socket for this which will definitely spoil the sleek lines a little. You could be better off trying to run a very long network cable if you can and route it straight to the back for a better finish.
What to consider…
It’s clear that to get to this price point Sony have had to hold back on the specification somewhat. Some of the things we’re used to seeing included such as iPod docks and built-in Wi-Fi are missing and could be a show stopper for some.
Why you should buy the Sony BDV-E190
Overall the Sony BDV-E190 is a good entry-level home cinema system, and despite it’s shortcomings will make a very good addition to the smaller lounge or bedroom. It certainly has the looks and as long as you’re not looking for a mass of features, it should do very nicely indeed. Rating: /5
Read more about the E190 over on the Sony UK website.