* Prices may differ from that shown
We decided to buy a new blu ray player to complement our new television set in our bedroom We have an all singing all dancing Samsung player in the front room so we were not looking for one with as many comprehensive features as our main one, however we did want to get the most out of our money. I'd probably describe this Philips blu ray player as a budget player as it only cost us £60.00 online. For the money, though this blu ray player is fantastic quality and I was surprised at how sharp the images are. Although it is quite light on the specification sheet and it doesn't do anything fancy; (for example, there is no no network media streaming) the image quality is just as good as our expensive Samsung player.
*A shiny black box*
The look of this box is very sexy and glossy, making it look a lot more expensive than £60.00. It has a front loading disc tray that is sturdy and the whole player as the appearance that it is made to last and is good quality. It weighs 3 kg so is quite heavy compared with other models on the market.
The machine measures 43.5 cm x 22.7 cm x 6 cm so it is a little longer than other players but it fits on the glass shelving unit without any problems.
What's in the box:
* The blu ray player
* 1 x A/V cable
* 1 x power cable
The button display on the front of the machine is easy to understand four including a power button. At the side of the buttons is a USB slot. It is great to have a blu ray player with a USB slot as it means that I can download films straight from the internet and watch them straight on the player. It is also very useful to have the USB slot at the front of the machine and means that there is no fiddling around the back of the machine.
On the back, there is a small number of sockets; there is another USB port which allows you to keep a 1GB of USB storage attached to the player to make up for the fact that there is no internal memory for BD live downloads. There is an ethernet jack for the BD live options but disappointingly there is no built in wifi. There are component, coaxial and composite video outputs (which we don't use and as the quality of composite is not very good as you are limited to 1080i.) I use the HDMI output (full 1080p) as I want to get the best out of my machine; however the cable is not supplied and is about £4.99 from Amazon.
There is also a 7.1 analogue audio out for connection to an AV receiver; this means you should get fantastic surround-sound experience with almost any AV receiver. The machine can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA and send them out through the analogue audio or the HDMI socket. The audio I receive through my HDMI socket is fantastic and is very impressive.
*Set up and playing*
I found the player really easy to set up for playing films. The menu has just three large options: "Play Disc", "Browse USB" and "Setup." It is really quick to load and does not take longer than 40 seconds to start up, with no loud humming or buzzing noises.
The player can convert 21:9 aspect ratio movie to 16:9. This feature is easy to find on the set up option. This means that you do not have to watch films with those annoying black bands at the top and bottom of the screen, you can have your film in widescreen and use the full size of the television.
Connecting the blu ray player to the internet means that BD-Live opens up. Using this option is interesting as there is exclusive downloadable content, live events, live chats and gaming. To be honest, I find this a bit pointless and I'm not too impressed with the all the ads. We recently bought series 5 of Lost and the BD live content has loads of extras that are not on the blu ray disc. There is a fictitious university that you can enrol in, take quizzes and partake in classes. It is quite good fun and my boyfriend who is a complete Lost fan was really impressed with it. I've not really had much other experience with this feature though and if I didn't have this feature, I would not miss it.
I was really impressed with the quality of the images on the screen. We watched Avatar and it was incredible. Motion is played at 24 frames per second and it is relatively seamless and judder free.
The player is supposed to feature full HD 1080P upscaling so all your old DVDs should look refreshed and more vivid. However they are not 1080p HD and still look flat and soft. The edges are not as crisp. My Samsung player in the front room makes an excellent job of upscalling our DVDs and this blu ray player is really disappointing.
The image quality for blu ray discs is surprisingly good, however the upscalling of DVDs really lets it down. However, for the price, I would fully recommend this player. It is good quality, sturdy and easy to use and offers good value for money.