The Toshiba SD220 DVD player is the successor to the award winning SD210. This new model has improved looks thanks to the stylish angled fascia, which carries the bulk of the controls. The unit measures 430x225x69mm. However, it's not just good looks that set this player apart from the competition. Superb image and sound quality was a trademark of the SD210 and this replacement model doesn't disappoint in this department, thanks to the high quality 10-bit video DAC and 24-bit audio processor. The SD220 has a good array of connections on the back, including SCART socket, composite, component and S-VHS video connections, plus analogue audio and Co-axial and optical digital audio connections. While the latter digital connections can pass Dolby Digital and DTS streams to suitable surround sound decoding equipment, the player also includes Spatialiser technology, to create a virtual surround sound from stereo speakers. While this doesn't compare to a full 5.1 solution, it is one of the better virtual surround systems available.
The Toshiba SD220 is a well specified and attractive DVD player that is sure to win many fans. Building on the successes of the award-winning SD210 this new model adds good looks and a host of neat touches that establish the SD220 as a benchmark that other DVD players will need to work hard to match.
The SD220 has an interesting footprint. From the front it looks like a standard size, measuring 430x69 mm. However, a shallow depth of just 222 mm differentiates this from many competing models. The Toshiba is well constructed and has a good weighty feel to it at around two and a half kilos. The angled front fascia provides an aesthetic appeal, as well as being home to most of the player's basic controls. Advanced controls can be accessed from the supplied remote which is compact, comfortable and efficient, without being overstated. Connectivity is generally very good. A single RGB SCART socket is complemented by S-Video, composite and even component video (Y/Pb/Pr) outputs. There are analogue, digital co-axial and digital optical outputs for audio. It would have been nice to see an additional SCART socket, but is otherwise hard to fault. At its most basic, you simply need to connect the SCART socket to your TV to be up and running.
Various other connectivity options are possible, depending on your other AV equipment, but the manual provides clear guides to cover most eventualities. The Toshiba SD220 has an elegant on screen menu system that is a joy to use. Whether you are looking to change the subtitle language, or delving into advanced settings, the system remains intuitive to navigate. There are various features, which while not essential to making a good DVD player do add an extra touch of class. You can access parts of films by entering the time into the disc that you want to access. Disc resume is also supported. You can dim, or even switch off the LCD display.
The video and audio quality is superb and can even be tailored to suit your viewing preferences. Enhanced Picture Mode gives you five settings, covering Light, Normal, Movie 1, Movie 2 and Animation. There are three choices for sound, covering Normal, a virtual 3-D "Spatialiser" and a special dialogue setting. The player supports a variety of disc types, including DVD video, Video CD, Audio CD, MP3 CD and CD-R.
The Toshiba SD220 has a lot in its favour and very little to criticise. Despite this it manages to come at a competitive price, which will surely see it emulate the success of its predecessor. --Jason Weston