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Reviews placed here are based on our experiences with the units described. Faults & advantages of the various models are listed as we have encountered them.

Sony DSTHD100

It's taken Sony some time to get to market with their Set Top Box offering & like some of the other big name brands, they appear to be content currently to offer only a High Definition model.

As with most High Definition models available, Sony have come up with a fairly conventional full-width style of component. The front is reasonably attractive, though the in the flesh appearance of the unit brings out the silver buttons on the front just a little too much. This doesn't make any difference to the operation of the unit though.

Sony lose a couple of points owing to what seems to be a minor bug in the firmware, as single autoscanned channels on both ABC & SBS in at least 3 different locations were locked out with a PIN number for child protection. We are unable to verify at this stage whether this is common to all units as yet. The remainder of these units we have seen have not exhibited this problem, so perhaps it is confined to a small number of the model.

The back panel is rather stark as well, with video provided in component, S-video & composite, with audio being provided in analogue stereo & optical for digital audio. For AV systems with more than a couple of components, the lack of coax digital may prove a problem if you only have a single optical connector on your AV receiver.

The DSTHD100 does recover those points though as the signal hold in fringe reception areas seems very good & is among the best of the High Definition models seen thus far.

The remote control seems very responsive, though channel changing is a little bit hit & miss on a few rare occasions. This particular problem only seems to affect the channel up & down buttons at this stage though. Direct number selection seems fault free.

The Verdict: Sony's first foray into the set top box market is fairly good. While a couple of relatively minor glitches might cause a little irritation, the quality of the signal hold on the units is excellent & a big plus for the model. The lack of a coaxial digital audio is bit limiting for connectivity in packed home entertainment systems, but this is something of a shortcoming on a unit in this price range. Although a little on the expensive side in the current market, we find the DSTHD100 a good choice & should be on your short-list.

IT & AV Services rating - 90%

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