Setup and operation is a cinch. The speaker cables connect to colour-coded terminals on the back, and once up and running you don’t need to worry about fine-tuning the speaker performance as there’s an automatic calibration mode that does it all for you – although you can adjust the distances and levels yourself within the setup menu.
The onscreen Home menu uses the same Xross Media Bar we’ve been surfing for years, and thankfully familiarity isn’t yet breeding contempt. Here it’s as slick as ever, with all the options represented by stylised icons, laid out along two intersecting axes. It’s intuitive in the extreme, but the growing amount of content – particularly video sites – means the vertical lists are quite long and laborious to scroll down.
The Home Menu also houses the setup menu, which again poses few obstacles, plus if you’re hooked up to the web the Sony searches its Gracenote database and shows title and cover art for the loaded disc. Input selection can be carried out using the Home menu Input list, or toggling through them with the remote’s Function button.
Hit the Options button during movie playback and a menu slides in from the right-hand-side showing often-used functions – including a Video Settings menu, which lets you add noise reduction and select from a few picture presets.
The remote is nicely sized, ergonomic and thoughtfully laid out, particularly the crucial menu control and playback buttons. It’s a little too busy and some of the keys are tiny, but on the whole we got on with it like a house on fire.