Got this big sinking feeling when the UPS guy handed me the box, I wasn't really sure there was much of anything in it. There wasn't. SonyStyle generously double-boxes the player, it arrived in perfect condition, even the outer box (UPS). It seems lighter than the already-light 770. The remotes, as expected, are "almost" identical, the 780 drops the backlighting but those formerly backlit buttons are now of the "glo" variety (that fade well before a movie would be at intermission, I'd expect). The "theater" (picture) button has been replaced by a 3D button. I've not tried it for more than a few minutes but it seems to add some depth, more than the fake 3D mode of the TV itself does, and there are 3 levels of fakery.
The case seems more metallic (and of course wafer thin) but the good part about that is the right side of the machine doesn't seem to run as hot as the 770 did, perhaps the shiny black metallic case (not the plastic front of course) will do a better job as a heat sink. In spite of a reference to a fan somewhere other than the FAN error code, I don't believe there is one; there wasn't one in the 770. The holes on the back, where a miniature fan "could" go are referred to as "ventilation holes." I can't see them doing much, but there are vents on the right side of the unit, so that plus the metallic case seems to make for a cooler machine.
I saw a message that the remote wasn't responsive as it might be, but I can't concur with that; startup and drive functionality is almost (gadzooks) taking us back to DVD days! Almost.
Super bit mapping is in the menu now, I haven't messed around enough to know if it helps PQ, but my TV is probably too small (46") to show much effect. I have some of the same small library of 3D BD's everyone else probably has, but haven't tried it yet. Like the 770, the 780 has a menu item to choose screen size (automagically populated to the right size in my case, maybe because it's a Sony TV?) which seems to give the 770/780 a little more 3D effect. Trouble is I really really hate the Sony 3D glasses, especially since trying some from a Sharp, which were seemingly 1/3 the weight, very comfortable; the Sony makes everything dark and cloudy, clouds never seen on my set (HX909) otherwise. Lately I've noticed the plastic lenses by Sony have a bit of the circus mirror effect if you look at an object and track it as you move your head laterally. Lots of money paid, for low quality in these glasses.
I have tried an SACD and it sounded really great (Monty Alexander at the piano). I have it set for DSD output, whatever that means, and my receiver accepts it. I've had not one moment of HDMI "marginal errors" - no brief screen blackouts, nothing like that, and the 770 didn't do quite as well, and I haven't messed around enough but the 780 seems to have eliminated the start-up "missed first second or two" of sound the 770 seemed to, er, feature. I don't expect to see or hear any difference in SQ or PQ, but I've only played one BD, one SACD and one DVD so time will tell.
It wasn't indicated, but I went to the "update" function (connected by ethernet cable) and got an immediate firmware update. The SonyStyle site was telling me over the weekend the 780 is for sale in Canada only and wouldn't let me see what the update was for. Today, I didn't really care, I just updated the firmware over the internet, seems to be the thing to do; my Yamaha receiver also needed a firmware update (maybe that was the source of the sound clip at the beginning of a disc, but I've read of it happening with other receivers).
There are probably three zillion internet functions, I didn't try them and probably won't after reading the EULA. I'm a little old for online stuff and the web browser functionality looks to be very limited. It would be much easier to hook up the computer to the TV if I really wanted to, vid card outputs HDMI.
The EULA was probably the same for the 770. I want the machine to play BD's, DVD's and an occasional CD. I can get the other stuff in other ways; I guess if you connect a Skype compatible camera a menu item appears for use of Skype.
The 780 is fast to start, fast to use, and doesn't get as warm as the 770; so if it works for awhile (like the 770 didn't) I'll be happy! The looks are a little, er, less cool than the 770 with it's very rectangular monolith flat face, this one has a look more like the older 5xx models but it still looks fine, it's black so sitting on it's own glass shelf under the TV it doesn't call attention to itself. The flourescent display doesn't seem as bright as the 770, a tiny change if not all in my questionable memory.
Later tonight I'll throw on a couple 3D demo discs. Looks like a good player, even better for those who want lots of internet functionality (read the EULA first, everything is your fault, lawyers sure know how to insult buyers of Sony products). We've come a long way from the S1. I think that took a couple minutes just to power on and IIRC it didn't even play DVD's...
It's just really close to the 770, so far, seems a tiny bit faster to turn on and respond, and it responds to the same IR as the 770, the only change, for a universal learning remote, would be to "teach" the "movie" button to be a "3D" button with the learning function of the remote.