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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.
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on 3 September 2007
Propbably like most people I bought this type of DVD player as a cheap stop gap until the Blu-ray and HD-DVD war is concluded. I am a simple user and only wanted it for upscaling DVD's to my 1080p LCD TV. I was not concerned about DIVX, USB or MPEG4's and let me tell you I was not dissapointed!! My 3 year old was determined to watch Shrek first and I have to say once I got the settings right I was blown away by the picture and that really is all I care about. Once I got her out of the way I popped in Star Wars Episode 3 and the results were equally impressive. If this is the quality of upscaling I cannot wait to get a true HD player.

I do have two gripes and they are very annoying. The First it takes ages to start up from Standby. I have waited up to a minute for the tray to open. The second really does gripe with me. I have to set the player to upscale to 1080p almost everytime I use it. It seems to save the setting for about 12 hours in standby. After that it seems to revert back to the Auto setting, which doesn't seem to agree with my TV.

I give this 4 stars due to the great picture, which is after all why we by and upscaling DVD player. It lost a star due to the above annoying issues.
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on 28 June 2007
I bought this player for two reasons:

1. The upscaling. I have an HD TV and am not ready to purchase an HD player yet, since the format wars are still raging. Although my tv is quite a high-end one, I had read that its better to use an upscaling DVD player than let the TV do it. Sure enough, I find the quality of this player to be very good, better than a normal DVD player, but of course not as sharp as HD (but what do you expect for £60).

2. The USB / DivX support. This is where the player shines. Although the manual says that it only plays music & wma from USB, that's not the case. I've played DivX and Xvid formats from a USB stick with no problem, in fact with a very good picture. You just pop them on a stick, slot it in the player which sees it immediately and then select the file you want to play - easy and no CDs/DVDs to burn. It also plays WMA but I have not tried that out yet.

This will make an nice player until one of the new HD formats win and the players are cheap enough to buy.
0Comment|36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I've now had this DVD player for 6 weeks and thought I should get round to doing this review! My first impressions on taking the player out of the box were incredibly positive - it's a stunning DVD player - all black & chrome and matte & gloss mixed together and it's very slim. It was very easy to connect to my Sony television and I started using it straight away. The DVD player is VERY quiet and had it been noisy, I would have returned it straight away!!

The only downside to this player in my opinion is the remote control. Being female, I find it fits quite nicely into my hand and don't think the buttons are too small at all - the problem is that the touch-sensitivity is very very poor. I noticed this after a few days and it's been a constant annoyance since! I suppose the best thing to do is just get an all-in-one remote control!

That aside, the DVD player is fabulous - picture & sound quality are great and menu navigation is simple. The DVD player gets used every day and it's very reliable - no problems whatsoever! I highly recommend this for anyone who wants a quiet and easy to use player that looks really fabulous too! ...just be sure to order a separate remote control!
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on 3 October 2007
Bought this player about a month ago, since I can't quite afford a PS3 just yet! Overall, a truly outstanding DVD player compared with my old Toshiba DVD Home Cinema system. Pictures via RGB Scart on my old 32" Sony Trinitron Wide CRT are gobsmacking! Put Shooter on with Mark Wahlberg, and the snow scenes near the end of the movie, are breathtaking, strangely reminding me of the snow scenes in the Fellowship of the Ring. It's that sharp!

Currently hooked up via HDMI to my Toshiba 37x3030d 1080p LCD with mixed results however. Depending on the picture quality of the actual DVD, results definately vary. Blade 2 and Hellboy - Director's Cut look absolutely stunning. Pictures are given almost 3D depth and colours are bold and rich. The final fight scene between Blade and Womack reaches truly cinematic levels! My mate's jaw dropped when he saw it!

However, certain discs fair less well... The Alien Quadrilogy boxset, which has been given a thorough remastering in terms of picture and sound, look drab and washed out at times, although this could be a failure of my LCD as opposed to the player itself. T2: Ultimate Edition also suffers from the same problem, despite this being the second time the film has been THX remastered on DVD. The firmware update, available on Phillips' official site, fails to correct the problem.
Anime, however, like Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira, look gorgeous. Upscaled to 1080p, every shade of detail and chroma looks mint. It's so clear as a matter of fact, that it can expose and magnify the visual flaws in the film.

Overall, I'm very pleased with it, just remember the upscaled quality depends very much on the disc. Just bought the R2 version of 300 and hopefully will look stunning in 1080p. It also plays anything that you throw at it!
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on 25 November 2007
It plays DVD's & CD's & MP3's.

The picture is great, the sound is great, it upscales to 1080P via HDMI. For £50 you would be very churlish to ask it to do more.

It is very slow to power up, but if you use DVD like I do to bung on a film and then just watch it, you can easily live with this. At this price, its not worth knocking any stars off for that, but if you think it will bother you maybe look elsewhere.

My only question is if you need the upscale - if you have a DVD with component output, your 1080P TV (or receiver even) will upscale that signal and do what the Philips is. I could not tell the difference between the HMDI picture and the component video picture. (If you scale to standard res on HDMI, you can see its inferior, so its not that I am not discerning) So if you are buying it JUST for the HMDI upscale like I did, you might be wasteing your money.

One review mentioned that you have to reset the scaling each time you power up - you don't if you choose auto. In that case it will scale as high as your TV will take. Perversely, it seems if you set it to 1080P, it reverts to a lower setting on power down, but if you set auto it stays on auto. Not a problem once you know.
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on 23 April 2008
After a lot of looking around I went for this DVP5980, very slim but was surprised how wide it is !!!!!!!!
One of the reasons was the USB connection and so far it has played all the AVI movies I have thrown at it, i do only use a 1gb memory stick ( formatted in FAT32 ) and i have tried MOV files on it and it does not like these, so as long as you have AVI files you should be OK.
Regarding the upscaling picture, i tried Spiderman and was very delighted with the sharpness of the picture and improved sound, I was never expected to be blown away ( after all this is not Blu-Ray ) but overall i was very happy with the upscaling.
The player itself is a nice looking machine but as stated eariler is a lot wider than i expected, i was after a player to match along side my Sky Plus box and this player is a good 4 or 5 inches wider than that !!!
The reason I have knocked it on the stars is because of the remote and menu, the menu is pretty poor and can be tricky to get around, also the remote is cheap looking and doubles up on a number of functions.
Overall if your looking for a bargain DVD player for upscaling and USB connection this a lovely player and you should get one...........
Just remember the width !!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 8 July 2008
Plugged in the DVD player to my Sharp LCD last night and was over the moon with the result. Connected through the HDMI lead the 1080i picture and sound are just brilliant. I am a very fussy guy when it comes to my picture quality but this just blew me away. I used the region hack which was spot on...slammed in Transformers and was amazed at the sharpness, colour and incredible look of the picture. I really didn't want to have to replace my DVD collection just yet with Blu-Ray and until I can afford such an extravagance this will do more than nicely for me...I would heartily recommend upscaling DVD technology. At this price it would rude not to!!!
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on 11 January 2008
If asked if I would buy this player again, the answer would be an emphatic yes. Upscaling support is good, although I have seen some stutter on panning shots, but more than acceptable for a player at this price range.

OSD is intuitive (there is a trick to send audio to both TV and digital out - see other reviews for this).

I love the divx playback and compatibility - this cannot be faulted.

My only concern is that this player takes an age to switch on, and the load tray is a bit flimsy for my liking.
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on 18 October 2007
Had this for a few weeks now and I'm vey pleased with it to date.

I have it connected via HDMI into a 37" LCD and the picture/sound are excellent, the unit is very quiet and the inclusion of the USB is a real bonus. Watching a film straight from a USB pen drive is a doddle and the picture, although not as good as DVD, is more than adequate.

On a downside I must admit I can't see a massive difference between the upscaling modes but I didn't spend too long on it, selected it to 1080 and it stays on there with pleasing resutls. The menu system seems a bit basic but your not going to spend long usnig it anyway.

For the money you can't go wrong, its a slim, smart looking unit with good connectivity both in and out and the picture/sound compliments LCD TV's perfectly.

4 stars because nothings perfect!
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