Top positive review
219 people found this helpful
Excellent all round player
on 12 August 2007
I bought this player to go with my new Panasonic Viera TX-32LXD70. I wanted and upscaling DVD player capable of 1080p output using HDMI or component and playing movies off an external hard or flash drive.
Out of the box, two these strike you immediately. Firstly, the player is very thin, not very deep, but pretty wide. So, It doesn't really stack with other equipment very well. You might need to move some of your other AV equipment around to make it fit neatly. Secondly, the remote is rubbish. Personally, this doesn't bother me, as I use all all-in-one remote (URC-7555, which is excellent, if you're looking for something). It's light, flimsy, and a design disaster. It's too small. Some of the buttons are tiny and very thin and quite why Philips have chosen to cut corners here is a mystery. It doesn't even match the player, being a light beige and grey.
Setting up the player isn't quite as simple as it might be. I plugged in the HDMI cable, power and coax for audio out. As someone has suggested, if you plug in an HDMI cable, the other digital sound out options are switched off. A quick trip to the setup menu fixes this. If the HDMI cable is plugged in, HDMI sound is on and the digital outputs are greyed out and off in the setup menu. Switch off HDMI sound output and you can switch on coax and digital out. Switch on HDMI again and although the coax and digital options are greyed out again, they remain on. So, you can have all 3 on, if you wish.
The player also comes switched to Region 2 (Europe). To make it region free, it needs to be swicthed to Region 0. This is hidden is the setup menu, but can be accessed as follows:-
1.Turn on the unit
2. Open the loading tray, with no DVD inserted.
3. Press the "Setup" button on the remote
4. Navigate to the "Preferences" page, (using the right arrow key move to preferences)
5. Enter 138931
6. You will now see the current region code displayed (2)
7. Use the Up/Down arrow keys to select the region required or "0" for all regions
8. Press the "Play" button on the remote
9.Insert a DVD, press play again.
Once we're up and running, the picture quality is excellent from upscaled DVDs. I have been mightily impressed by newer releases (Superman Returns is stunning). Older DVDs (West Wing Series 1) are also dealt with very well. The sound output was also a great improvement over the old player and sounds exceptionally clear, with rich, deep sound. The only shortcoming on the DVD side is that DTS sound is not supported. That's a shame.
USB setup proved quirky, to say the least, but bottom line is that you can set up a large hard drive to play a variety of video formats - including AVIs you might have ripped / acquired. Getting round the quirks didn't prove too hard. Firstly, the player might not power your drive from its USB socket. My 80Gb Freecom drive would only work when plugged into the USB socket and had its 5V mains power supply plugged in. So, I would suggest getting a hard drive that does not rely solely on USB power. Even if it works with your PC, it might not with this DVD player. Next, the player will only work with drives that are formatted using FAT32 in a single partition. If I've lost you here, give up now. If the drive you have is less than 32Gb, you can do this in Windows (Windows won't format a drive greater than 32Gb in FAT32 format. It insists on using NTFS, which the payer cannot read). If not, then you will need to partition the drive using Windows, assign it a drive letter, but *not* format it. You can do this using the disk manager in Windows. Then, use a small utility called Fat32Format to format the drive to FAT32. If you make it this far, then you can plug the drive in, with power, and press the USB button on the remote and see you media files and play them. It seems the player is better at handling some codecs than others. I've watched a couple of films without incident, but sometimes it seems to struggle and the picture suddenly speeds up to catch up with the audio, as if it has slowed down in some way. This does not always happen. It must be said though that the format support seems excellet. I have not found a movie it will not play.
There are a few gripes with the player. These are all niggles rather than major problems that should put you off, but that just means these really should have been sorted by Philips and make them grate twice as much. The player itself takes ages to start up (I think it's slower than my old Sony). It plays from where you left off, but plays immediately, rather than pausing and waiting for you. This is annoying if you want to play USB files rather than resume the DVD. The build quality of the remote and the DVD Player are nowhere near my outgoing Sony. Very disappointing. Also, if this is capabable of 1080p output, why the hell do the setup menus look so awful? Come on, people, sort it out! Oh, and that remote. Again.
But, overall, a good upscaler and USB drive support is what I bought this machine for, and slight quirks and dodgy design moments aside, it delivers very, very well. The upscaling is impressive. The USB file support it comprehensive. It's played everything I've chucked at it. The niggles are only minor. If you watch great sound, upscaling DVD picture quality and comprehensive USB video file support, then you really should look no further. Once set up properly, this is an excellent bit of kit.