First Run

When powered on for the first time, the NSZ-GT1 requires a relatively straightforward setup process including a step to pair the remote with the device (which, had I known, would have saved significant time and unnecessary battery swapping when I tried to power it on using the remote), overscan configuration, selecting a standby mode, network configuration, providing/creating a Google account, STB and cable/satellite service selection as well as TV and [optionally] AVR setup. All told, the process took about 15-20 minutes to complete only complicated by locating the IR sensor on the STB.

Detailed Settings

I found the NSZ-GT1’s settings placement in the various submenus to be somewhat unintuitive, so it is fortunate that many users will find the default values acceptable with only one exception—and even that is only essential to enable network based features found in Profile 2.0 Blu-ray discs. That said, there are several options worth detailed discussion.

During the initial setup process, I configured the NSZ-GT1 with a wired Ethernet connection, but given the device's file playback limitations (discussed in more detail later) there is no need for more bandwidth than WiFi can provide so it is a perfectly viable option. The device contains a dual-band (2.4/5 GHz) radio with support for 802.11 a/b/g/n as well as WPS. So, connecting to the access point was very easy; even preferring the 5GHz SSID on the dual-band D-Link DIR-825 used in testing.

By default, the NSZ-GT1 decodes HD audio (Dolby TrueHD/DTS-MA) to PCM during playback. The main benefit of this feature on most players is that commentary audio tracks can be mixed with the primary audio during the movie. Navigation sounds on the menus are also enabled. Generally, I prefer to let the AVR decode audio. Disabling the HD audio decode feature enables HD audio bit streaming initially. However, it does not consistently restart the stream after using a transport control (pause, fast forward, etc.) on DTS-MA titles; only one of the five discs tested functioned properly with audio available afterwards. While it was possible to restart audio playback by cycling through audio tracks, that workaround is less than ideal. Until Sony fixes this issue, it is better to leave this setting alone (HD audio decoded to LPCM).

As noted earlier in the remote discussion, if your display and AVR support CEC the experience is much better with it enabled. Most vendors prefer to brand CEC, and Sony is no exception in this case opting for “Control for HDMI” (Panasonic calls it “Viera Link” where Denon goes with “HDMI Control”).

Most HDTVs will work perfectly with the “Auto” default setting for colorspace, which outputs 8-bit YCbCr 4:4:4 to the TC-P58VT25. It is great that this level of color control is presented to the user should there be any issues with what is automatically set (I assume it is based on EDID), but for those with downstream hardware that prefer YCbCr 4:2:2 (i.e. some dedicated external video processors) an additional option would be optimal.

One of the frustrating (and limiting) aspects of the device is how focused it is on enabling a single GTV user. We will discuss this in more detail later, but nowhere is it more obvious then when trying to add an additional Twitter account.

Unboxing Impressions User Interface and Apps
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  • vshah - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    is it nsx-gt1, or nsz-gt1? it varies in the title/article. Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Editorial mistake :) Fixed, thanks! Reply
  • piroroadkill - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    I'm not entirely sure who this is aimed at: the setup process looked pretty long-winded for most people who sit infront of a TV, being spoonfed content while drooling. I mean, seriously, a question whether you want the thing to boot slowly or quickly? It should make the best guess for defaults in the majority of cases, and give you the option to fuck with it later: look at how the Windows installation process has been streamlined over the years.

    Then the tech savvy guys? They already have an htpc and are more than willing to play around to get it right, using xbmc or some such...
    Reply
  • bji - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Sony consistently makes the worst remote controls of any major consumer electronics manufacturer. It's likey they don't employ even a single user interface person to help design these devices, they just either rely on out-of-touch engineers or dumb marketing people to design their remotes.

    The ultimate example was the Playstation 2 remote. It was a grid of buttons with the DVD controls (ffwd, play, rewind, etc) placed fairly randomly and with no tactile distinction whatsoever between the keys. So totally lame.

    Ever since the Playstation 2 remote I've been paying attention to Sony's designs and every time I see a Sony remote I am reminded that they still have the suckiest remote designers.
    Reply
  • nutmac - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    I would love expand HQV 2.0 benchmark comparison against popular players, such as PS3. Reply
  • babgvant - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    That's a great point; I've never seen a media centric review of the PS3. As hard as it gets pushed as the ultimate BD player, it would be really interesting to actually test that. Reply
  • Voldenuit - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    Andrew,

    while I found your review well-written and informative, I can't help but feel that you were a little too lenient with it in your final thoughts.

    A google device that has no universal search? Fail.
    A media streamer that has no worthwhile codec and container support? Fail.
    A remote that is unusable by anyone without an IT degree? Fail.
    A consumer device that you have to press Ctrl-Alt-Del to reboot when it hangs? WTF?

    At the $300 asking price with the level of functionality and robustness out-of-the-box, the NSZGT1 deserves to be publicly lambasted, if not downright ridiculed.

    Even Apple's RDF wouldn't be able to disguise this Thanksgiving turkey.

    Also, any chance AT will revisit the Boxee Box with the revised firmware?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    Andy will respond to your comments on his leniency towards the NSZ-GT1 :)

    We will take a look at Boxee Box again as soon as TrueHD bitstreaming is enabled or December 15th, whichever is earlier.
    Reply
  • babgvant - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    GTV is a CE device targeted at mainstream users, so the abysmal container support is forgivable; otherwise, those are all valid points. That said, I think the platform's potential outweighs the teething issues; so while the current implementation is clearly unfinished, and I worry that Google doesn't understand the difference b/w the TV and mobile user experience, it is still too early to get out the pitchforks and torches. Six months from now will be another story.

    IMO the current MSRP for this player is too high (Sony even dropped the price $100 a few days ago, so they must also recognize this); it's crazy that we can buy a better BD player (faster, quieter, more power efficient and has 3D) from Sony for $140 less. Between us, unless the apps platform gets exponentially better real soon I think they will need to knock another $100 off the top to be competitive in the mainstream. I could have made that clearer in the FT.
    Reply
  • Aloonatic - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    Grrr, lost my comment with FireFox crashing, so my reply in brief...

    Re: $300 - This is a BluRay player too, let's not forget.

    Then the rest of my rambling comment was mostly a complaint about Sony controllers, when they will invest in people to sort out this problem? They haven't produced a good controller/remote since the original PS controller, and that was a less than subtle copy of the SNES controller (and they are just copying Nintendo again with Move) which was OK at the time, but now is very old and tired but still they persist with it with the PS3?!?! Sort it out Sony! It's not like you are a corner/cost cutting budget brand for Jebus' sake!
    Reply

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