The DAV-F200 comes equipped with the obligatory virtual surround mode, S-Force Front Surround, while inside the powered subwoofer the S-Master digital amplifier generates a mighty 405W of audio power (135W per channel). Other audio features include a range of decoding modes, including 2ch Stereo, Wide Stage, and Portable Audio which enhances the sound when playing back MP3s via USB or DMPORT.
It’s also pleasing to see that the DAV-F200 plays DivX files from DVD or CD, and supplies a registration code for video-on-demand content bought online. And, if the idea of having more than one remote chills you to your very core, then you’ll be thrilled to hear that BRAVIA Sync lets you control a Sony TV and this system using one remote.
With so few components involved, setting up the system is a piece of cake. The main unit connects to the subwoofer using a single cable, while the speakers also connect to sturdy plug terminals on the underside of the sub. The main unit also features a useful cable tidy system to maintain the minimal aesthetic.
Power up the unit and you’re greeted by a stylish Sony splashscreen. Hit Display and it presents a choice of Quick and Custom setup menus, the former detailing only the key tweaks while the latter lets you configure the whole shebang. You can set the HDMI resolution to Auto (which will select 1080p output if your TV supports it) or force it to output in 1080i, 720p or 576p, and unusually you can select whether JPEGs are displayed in SD or HD. With only three speakers to worry about, the audio setup options are sparse, only allowing you to set the levels of each speaker from -6dB up to +6dB, but the fact that you can’t set them as the disc is playing means there’s an element of guesswork involved.
On the whole the unit’s operating system is superb – speedy, logically laid out and easy on the eye. The remote is also intelligently designed, although it’s on the large side and crammed with buttons, plus the multiple ‘Menu’ keys get a little misleading when trying to locate the setup screen.
As for its audio performance, Sony says that the DAV-F200 has been tuned by the same team behind its high-end AV receivers, so we were expecting great things from this compact system, and it does not disappoint. To test its mettle, we slipped the quintessential Arnie action-fest ”Predator” into the disc slot, selected the awesome DTS track and were immediately pinned in our seat by the sheer power produced by the impressive S-Master amp.