Video performance is solid as a rock. The BDV-E370 passes the Video Resolution and Film Resolution Loss tests on the Silicon Optix HQV disc with flying colours, converting the tricky cadences without any nagging artefacts. It masterfully reproduces the moving diagonal lines in the Jaggies test, keeping stepping and judder at bay. Superb.
Subjective testing reveals more terrific video reproduction. Hellboy II’s intricately detailed pictures are stunningly rendered over the HDMI connection, sending every last pixel to the screen without any distortion or break-up.
The BDV-E370’s sound isn’t as brash as recent systems from Samsung and Panasonic. It’s a little more laid back, which actually makes for a more enjoyable listen. And that’s not to say it lacks muscle – the system belts out Hellboy II’s DTS HD MA track with loud, gutsy fervour – but there seems to be more control and smoothness in the high-frequencies and greater midrange authority.
Hellboy’s scrap with the Elemental is a wonderfully sparky encounter through this system, with crisp effects scattering around the expansive soundstage and plenty of attack behind the constant crashes and smashes. It doesn’t neglect subtle details either, from the gentle tinkling of broken glass to the musical nuances of the score.
Its weak link is bass reproduction. The subwoofer falls into the same trap as many passive all-in-one system subs, sounding too boomy and overpowering the other speakers during energetic action scenes. During quieter passages it’s much more sympathetic, offering extra depth and atmosphere, but when the action hots up you’ll be tempted to turn it down.
However, the BDV-E370 is better with music than you might expect. There’s an openness and clarity to the sound of stereo CD playback that makes for a rewarding listen, and the sub suddenly seems more nimble and responsive. Our reference separates blow it out of the water, but by one-box system standards it’s an impressive effort.
Taking the BDV-E370’s features, performance and ease of use into consideration, you can’t fail to be impressed. There’s a style and slickness behind everything it does, and most pleasingly it delivers better sound quality than most of its similarly priced rivals.
On the downside, it’s lacklustre in the looks department, the subwoofer is flawed and the need to buy optional extras for some of the most appealing features bumps up the price nearer to that of the Samsung HT-C6930W, another 3D-capable system that offers the same features as standard. But if you can do without Wi-Fi and wireless rears then this is great value, particularly if you’re hoping to join the 3D revolution sometime in the near future.