Sony has thought of pretty much everything with the BDV-N590. Style and substance combine with some clever usability features to make a staggeringly compelling product for the money.
Style-wise it takes more than a leaf out of the PS3's book, with a sound-mounted disc slot, a series of touch-sensitive buttons and a recessed display. The inverted-ice-cream-cone design speakers require that you run the cables through the stands, which can be a bit of a fiddle, but on the flip side these stands can be cleverly twisted for easy wall mounting.
What to watch?
Round the back of the unit you'll find two HDMI inputs, a USB connection for the bundled iPod dock and analogue and digital audio inputs. There's also plenty of content on offer, from the likes of iPlayer and Netflix to Sony's own Music and Video Unlimited services. Sony's Xross Media Bar also remains a doddle to navigate.
Picture and sound quality
None of this would mean much if the picture and sound quality weren't any cop. Fortunately, they're superb. Pictures are clean and detailed, sound is clear and loud. And unlike with rivals, you can jack the volume without losing composure. All told, this is one fantastic system.
The new BDV-N590 isn't just good - we'd predict there won't be a more complete, better-value home cinema system released this year. It's more stylish than its forebears with its PS3-emulating curves. It's also exceptionally well equipped for its price, with twin HDMI inputs, a USB-in for an iPod dock and analogue and digital ins. Picture and sound quality are excellent, whether you're playing a 3D Blu-ray or streaming from the array of built-in services, including Sony's own on-demand offerings.
Massive spec, yet micro-priced: the Sony is quite simply the biggest bargain in home cinema