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Sony BDV-E300 Blu-ray Home Cinema System review



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Buying an all-in-one Blu-ray system is often the easiest and the cheapest way to upgrade your disc player and sound system at the same time. Build and sound quality aren’t always as impressive as carefully matched separates, but for some people the added convenience is worth the compromise.

There are, however, certain manufacturers who invest a little more time and effort in the performance of their all-in-one systems, giving you a better price-to-sound quality ratio – Pioneer and Sony are two that spring to mind.

Which brings us neatly to the BDV-E300, one of Sony’s current Blu-ray-in-a-box solutions. Although it’s due to be replaced in the spring when Sony launches its first batch of 3D-capable systems (albeit with a firmware upgrade), the BDV-E300 still boasts all the Blu-ray essentials, and because it’s not brand new you should be able to find it for a decent price online.

The BDV-E300 is a straightforward proposition. The main unit is a combined Blu-ray/DVD player and 5.1-channel amplifier, offering 1,000W of power, and it’s joined in the box by front and rear speakers, a thin centre speaker and a passive subwoofer.

The main unit is unashamedly thick and chunky like the home cinema systems of yesteryear, and although Sony hasn’t exactly pushed the boat out the black finish makes it easy on the eye. But more importantly, build quality is excellent.

The LED display panel is large and prominent, while the gloss-black panel above the fascia plays host to a row of buttons (sadly not touch-sensitive). There’s no USB port on the front, which is a real shame if you’ve got a wealth of digital music, videos and photos that you want to enjoy in the living room. Instead, Sony cunningly ties you into the proprietary Digital Media Port on the back. A variety of adapters are available as optional extras, including devices for Bluetooth and wireless network audio, but thankfully you get the TDM-iP20 iPod dock in the box.

The back panel is a busy place. The large covered slot you see toward the top right corner is for an EZW-100 wireless transmitter, which is part of Sony’s S-Air system. It enables wireless audio transmission between compatible products, and in this case it means you can zap an extra pair of surround channels to an amplifier at the back of the room, giving you a full 7.1-channel system. This wireless upgrade kit (WAHT-SA1) is optional, and we found it online for around £150.

The BDV-E300 supports BD-Live, but because the required memory isn’t built-in there’s a USB port for adding a flash drive, which can’t be used for digital media playback. You also get HDMI, component and composite outputs, optical and coaxial digital audio inputs and two pairs of analogue stereo inputs.

This selection is perfectly serviceable, but we’d have liked some HDMI inputs for people who want to switch between their various hi-def sources. Being a budget system, the lack of Wi-Fi comes as no surprise but does mean you’ll need to hook up the system up to your router using the less convenient Ethernet port.

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February 23, 2010, 3:12 pm

I've said it before, and I'm going to keep on saying it until you give in...

Please can you run an tutorial article on Home Cinema and surround sound?!

Other commenters, join the chorus...


February 23, 2010, 4:59 pm

And so say I


February 23, 2010, 5:11 pm

What do you want to know? I'm sure you could probably ask on the forums.


February 23, 2010, 8:28 pm

passive sub=no thanks.

Jon Williamson

February 23, 2010, 9:00 pm

I agree - it would be great to see an introduction to AV - I am sure I am not alone in having collected a decent audio set up over the last 20 years, and am now confused as to how to integrate/ develop it into an AV set-up - questions such as:

- how does sound qualiy compare to decent hi-fi separates?

- can one share speakers between hi fi and AV?

- should one go from two channel to 2:1 to 5:1 to 7:1 or go make the jump all in one go?

- or should I just run my telly through my hi-fi amp?

There is a whole philosphical approach here that I just can't get my head round!


February 24, 2010, 12:54 am

@mistrip - The Forums always seem to be temporarily closed when I check on them.


February 24, 2010, 1:41 am

@jonwill i am sure part of the decision relies on your wallet,if money is no object then go with a receiver,active sub and an 8 speaker bipolar set.

i myself would never reccomed a system such as this being reviewed due to the passive sub and "usually" all round loose sounding system.

for music a 2.1 system is almost always better as that is how stereo is set up,personally myself i think surround sound is one of the worst inventions of the era(too much of the audio is directed through one centre channel),so i spend more on a top of the range 2.1 system for the price of a mediocre 7.1.

its been a while scince i was into top end hifi but i do remember b&w kevlar and kef made some great systems but your talking over a £1,000.

i myself use a logitech z2300 which i bought from ebuyer for £80 about 3 years ago great sound plus thx approved,it isnt surround but then again my ears face mostly to the front anyway.


February 24, 2010, 4:37 am


I'm not sure if you've had a rubbish experience in the past but for gaming and movies, 5.1 is a must imho. Take for example Lord of the Rings or an action movie like 300. In surround sound, assuming you have even a half-decent setup, you can hear the sound of objects flying across you as you're watching it on the screen...I'm sure in LOTR somewhere an orc is chucked across the screen by one of the trees or an explosion or something and I almost burst out laughing at the combination of the sight and sound. Similarly with gaming you can hear a sniper round whizz across your face and ping off the wall near you...I'm more of a casual 2-3 hours a week gamer but I still love the immersion of surround sound.

I will agree that for music 2.1 is better...however I just switch my kit to 2.1 mode and make do...sure its not as good as if you have a £200 amp and £100+ speakers but can you really expect it to? If you think the centre channel is too heavy most decent set-ups will let you adjust the balance, just as you can with bass and treble.

Not to get too personal but I would be quite surprised if your ears did face mostly forwards...that isn't the usual shape of the things! Anyway the distinction of front/back/left/right etc is all done in the brain...where your ears are actually pointing shouln't make too much of a difference.

In summary, surround sound is awesome...we originally had an off-the-shelf system then my dad got fed up of tinkering with the various settings and splashed out on a bose system...quite pricey for the sound quality but for him the ease-of-use more than offset the cost. Also please do a surround sound article, I like my TR education :)


February 24, 2010, 1:59 pm

@Pbryanw Yes, i noticed after i typed that comment that the forums were closed? Does anyone know when they will be back up.

Failing that AVforums is worth a look. A surround sound tutorial would probably be good though.

As for Passive vs Active sub thing, i think for cheaper all in one systems like thiss passive is perfectly ok. The sub in kits like this tends to be tailored to suit the rest of the system so it's not a major flaw.

Obviously if you have cash to splash around then go for separates.

As for the surround vs 2.1 debate, i'd go with surround sound every time, especial,ly for movies and games. I think you miss out on too much otherwise. For music just switch the rears off or use the direct mode if you amp has it (and you have full range speakers).

Jon Williamson

February 24, 2010, 3:18 pm

@betelgeuse - budget is obviously a consideration, but there mut be an establised upgrade path - the £500 2 channel speakers I have (whilst 15 years old) are almost definteiy better than the primary speakers in this set up - but how to use them? Similarly, my claass A amp is very nice for two channel sound, but how to make sure I don't lose music play back quality ...

I am currently pursuing this on AVforums, but it would be nice to have n impartial Trustedreviews view on this ...


February 25, 2010, 12:12 am

i had a similar system but from panasonic the sub wasn't so much a punch in the chest more like a fart in a bath.

no i dont think centres are to heavy it just the dialogue from a film is coming through one speaker with "to me" mostly incidental sounds from the other speakers.

a family member of mine is mad into surround and amps think he spent £10,000 on his system so i have experienced both sides.

incidentally i cant ever recall a time walking out of a cinema and saying wow the surround was great on that film.

ray blevins

May 16, 2010, 9:15 pm

Will it play CD's

Geoff Richards

May 17, 2010, 12:57 am

@ray blevins - yes it does. Every system like this does.


May 20, 2010, 12:34 pm

its great but I carn't seem to get the network to work on it anyone got any ideas???


August 1, 2014, 4:38 pm

Even a fart would make me proud, but this is a toot. I don't understand how they make these home audio systems with no means of adjusting the bass or treble. I have a dynamic bass button that's on the remote simply for show. Oh, and my Sony's disc tray has decided to stop opening. I can use it for audio, but that's all. And the audio aint that great...

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