Earlier on, it seems the Sony 780 was bought primarily by Canadians who were not interested in posting about it to AVS
. Those who did post here and elsewhere were the ones who had problems with the 780, not the buyers who were happy with it. The 780 is one of those devices where you see the defects immediately: its not one of those "it got wonky three months after I bought it" deals. The problems reported appear right out of the box and mostly concern connection to HDTV displays, either the video is tinted green or there are compatibility problems with the HDMI and/or component connection. If you buy a Sony 780 and do not
see these symptoms then your recorder is probably fine and equal to similar Pioneers.
At this point beggars can't be choosers, all the remaining Pioneers floating around lately got snapped up by panic buyers, so the Sony 780 is the only "bargain" option if you want a new "Pioneer" recorder. Odds are you will NOT get a defective unit, if you do it can be fixed by Sony under warranty. Compared to the recent Pioneer 550 and 560 models, the Sony 780 is very similar and operates the same way. Minor differences in setting up for HDTV displays and setting a remote code (if you have more than one Pioneer recorder). The Sony cannot record to DVD-RAM, and uses the older Pioneer 640 10-bit video encoder vs the newer Pioneer 550/560 12-bit encoder. If you're extremely
picky you might find the Sony (or the 640) slightly inferior in video performance compared to a Pioneer 550 or 560 series, but the difference should be hard to notice in normal use.
Personally given the current inflated Sony pricing I would probably opt instead for a global-model Pioneer 560 or 660, selling new for about $419-449 US. But if the extra $100 breaks your budget, the Sony 780 should be 90% comparable. We're starting to see a trickle of "satisfied" reports here on AVS now that the 780 is finally selling in significant numbers: more owners should be chiming in over the next couple months. The 780 should remain repairable for quite some time, since the same basic design underpins all Pioneers since 2006 and all current Sony models worldwide (globally there are a half-dozen 780 variants with different digital tuners and hard drive sizes.) Assuming Sony sticks it out in Canada a few more years, we may finally see an "ATSC Pioneer DVD/HDD" in the form of a Sony. If so, there'll be a lot more border crossings by Americans! (Assuming Sonys DVD/HDD models don't have the same awful protection sensitivities found in their USA DVD/VHS ATSC combos.)