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My wife bought me the Philips BDP3000 Blu-ray player for me a few Christmas's ago from Sainsburys using a combination of her vast collection of Nectar points and cash. It was originally selling for around £120 and Sue had bought it at a point when it had dropped by about 1/3 of its original selling price as newer models were appearing in store. It is quite wide (about 20 inches) and comes in black. Blu-ray machines are still relatively new on the market and offer at least 4 times the image quality detail of a standard DVD, and Sue bought it because she had heard positive reviews online and because it was a good make at what was at the time a reasonable price - I will however mention that we have bought a couple of Technika Blu-ray players for other family members for half the price offering at least the same quality. It was only a matter of months after first using the Philips product that we began to have problems with it. Blu-ray discs have in fact developed over recent years and many include additional content in a new file format that the BDP3000 did not support. From memory this was either evident on my Blu-ray Star Trek or The Day After Tomorrow which I bought from Sainburys and returned for replacement the same day thinking the disc was faulty because it wouldn't play. When the second one didn't work either we decided to investigate only to find that in fact the Blu-ray player which was supposed to be new was in fact out of date and needed a firmware update that we had to do using a USB memory stick with downloaded content that we had found off the internet, and it was a real relief when the DVD ran without any further problems. We do not use the player much and so it came as a shock when we bought the Disney DVD Bolt for our 8 year old to watch on our main TV only to find that rather than playing the film as you would expect it decided instead to skip and play the ending half way through and the middle - you've guessed it, at the end. Again, we thought that it was a DVD fault until we found that it worked perfectly on our other daughter's Playstation 2 that we borrowed to check it out. Experience of this machine is that it really isn't worth the money and recently when family members have tried using it, had found other faults including a new one - a blank screen. I can only assume that we have just been unlucky with this particular unit. The machine has USB and LAN ports as well as HDMI and surround sound connections. It also has a few buttons on the device itself although it is 99% controlled using a reasonably sized remote control. It does have additional features which I could mention, but as my experience is not good of its basic ones it would be inappropriate. I would not recommend this player.
As my DVD player in the bedroom broke a few months ago I was desperate to get it replaced, not only with another DVD player, but with a fancy new BLU-RAY player! The main reason behind upgrading to a BLU-RAY player is because with a far superior picture quality it greatly enhances my enjoyment when watching a movie. I find when watching old movies which have been re-mastered into the BLU-RAY format I notice a lot more detail in scenes and characters, and I appreciate new movies more like a piece of art work than ever before. I knew I wanted a 2.0 profile player however I didn't want to spend too much money so price was the main concern when I was choosing which player would suit me best. There a few options on the market if you're shopping with price in mind, mainly combo-packed player (e.i you got the BLU-RAY player and either 3 or 6 movies in the box), these seemed to be priced around £130 and although seemed good value for money the movies included just didn't appeal to me. Instead I bought this Phillips BDP3000 player for £90 and bought 3 BLU-RAYS which I wanted rounding it up to £130. I bought mine at a HMV store but this can all be bought online slightly cheaper, especially since the BLU-RAY player has dropped in price since my purchase a few months ago. The player was well packaged with the standard amount of protection to secure it from damage. In the box was the player, remote, batteries for the remote, instructions, power cord and manual. Please note that a HDMI cable is not included in the box, this seems to be standard across most BLU-RAY players, and need to be purchased for around £5 to £20 (price depending on cord length, quality etc.) in order to see a difference in picture quality, you can use a scart lead to connect to the TV but this renders the high definition useless as a scart lead simply cannot send a good enough signal the TV to appreciate the HD. Also obviously you will need a HD ready TV to use a BLU-RAY player too. With everything I needed to set the player up, I got about it. This was all rather uneventful and uncomplicated, taking around 5 minutes of plugging in the cables and power lead. Of course once ready the first thing I wanted to do was play one of my BLU-RAY disks to see how it looked. A few hours later, after Toy Story has finished, I had formed a few opinions on my new TV companion. Firstly the disks seemed quite slow to load up, (believe it or not BLU-RAY player actually have a loading screen whilst they load which ever Blu-ray you want to play), and this seemed almost double the length of time that the other Blu-ray player(a different make and model) takes that I own. Also you could hear the player reading the disk throughout the entire movie, this wasn't so loud and during dialog or music in the film you couldn't hear it at all, but during the silent moments there was a constant whirring buzzing noise which slightly got on my nerves. Apart from this I was pleased with the player. Once loaded the menus where quick to respond and the remote intuitive and easy to use. One of my favourite aspects of Blu-ray over DVD is that you can have the menu on screen whilst the movie is playing, it just pops up as a little tool bar, this is especially useful as you can navigate between different scenes or special features all very quickly without having to return to the route menu each and every time. This is a 2.0 profile player which means it functions with BD live. BD Live is an online thing, which means you can stream more special features and bonuses from the internet with certain Blu-ray disks. For this to work you need to connect it to the internet, either through a separately purchased wireless adapter or wired up. I chose to wire mine to the router; this meant I could access more special features online through my Blu-ray player without spending more money on accessories. So far most of the BD live content has consisted of interviews and trailers, not much to shout home about, but I can see the potential here for where it might go in the future. The picture quality it top notch and identical to my more expensive Blu-ray player downstairs but picture quality will also depend on your TV setup. Blu-ray disks are encrypted with 7.1 sound so if you had surround sound speaker this will make the most of it as you can hear everything happening in all different directions and this player does this as well as any other as it is a standardise thing. Appearance wise, there isn't much to say. Black. Rectangular. Plastic shine front which annoying picks up every single possible finger print. It isn't going to win any style awards, but nor could it be called ugly - essentially it is functional and will blend in well with most TV systems. For anyone considering getting a Blu-ray player I certainly recommend them, they greatly increase viewing pleasure and the difference in picture quality is highly noticeable. However I wouldn't recommend this particular player as it isn't the nicest design, being a bit boxy, and is noisy in comparison to other. If you can pick this up cheaper than anything else then go for it as long as you don't mind waiting that little bit longer for the disks to load, but ultimately I wish I had spent an extra £10 or £20 pound to get something a little sleeker in appearance and quieter overall.