I jumped on the Blu Ray bandwagon quite early on when the films and players started to become readily available, sure they were expensive and the films were probably overpriced for what are essentially DVDs with better clarity but I was converted from the start and appreciated the advancement in technology and where possible I would always favour Blu Ray's over DVDs when it came to watching a film at home. As with all technology these days things don't stay new for very long and the introduction of 3D not so long ago once again brought an advancement in home cinema and it was only matter of time before I had to try this out for myself. Taking advantage of a Post-Christmas sale on Tesco's website recently saw me ordering a brand new 3D 42" HD television and included in the offer was a 3D Blu Ray player, specifically the Philips BDP3282 and the focus of this review.
What is it?
The BD3282 is a multi-functional Blu Ray/DVD player which supports and plays 3D Blu Ray discs, if you are unfamiliar with 3D Blu Rays then I'll quickly explain that these are the only media that display 'true' 3D films and features and are the same as what you're likely to see at the cinema should you choose to watch a 3D film. To be able to view in 3D you need a TV which supports this function along with either 'passive' or 'active' 3D glasses (active glasses are battery run whereas passive ones are the type found in cinemas - the BD3282 is a passive player and as such only needs the passive glasses of which 8 pairs are supplied) I don't know that much about the technology behind 3D so won't even attempt to explain it here and fortunately for me the set up for the player was as simple as connecting a HDMI cable from the back of the player into the back of my television and it was good to go.
The player itself is sleek in design, predominately black with a sliver contrasting front fascia. It looks like any other DVD player that you might have owned in the past with a series of small buttons running across the front which control the various play, eject, stop functions etc. There is a USB input allowing you to watch films or television shows from a portable USB drive and the player can be connected to an internet router via an Ethernet cable to experience online content from YouTube.
Using the player
Blu Ray discs are converted into High Definition format so that they are clearer than DVD's, the difference is usually noticeable but is dependant on what you are watching and there really is little point in owning a Blu Ray player if you don't have a HD television as the effects will be wasted. With the right television to display a HD film on the clarity can be amazing, colours are sharper and brighter, blacks have depth to them without the shadowing and graininess that often appear on DVDs and the sound quality is often a lot better and clearer. 3D films are the next step in home cinema and on Blu Ray they can be absolutely flawless so you need to have a decent player that can support their playback and all in all the BD3282 is an all round good choice even if it's not without its faults.
Positively speaking the player is good, it looks nice and has a clean finish, Philips is a good brand name in my opinion and their reputation as a market leader in technology is well deserved. The player is easy to set up as already explained, it only needs connecting to a TV by a HDMI cable which does come supplied in the box. Once switched on you are taken to an onscreen menu which gives you various options, here you can select to play a film either via a disc or from the USB port, access You Tube if your player is connected to the Internet, change the set up of your player or visit 'Picasa' the online photograph and image organiser (again you need to be connected to the internet to access this function). The onscreen menu is controlled by the remote control and is easy to navigate with only a minimal amount of lag between pressing the button and the player responding, similarly the start up operation is quick with hardly any lagging and overall I would say that this is a responsive player that is easy to set up and operate. You do get 8 pairs of 3D glasses supplied with the player which is handy if you have friends or family who want to watch a 3D film with you and these all come in their own seperate boxes complete with a carrying pouch and dust wipe, a nice addition from Philips and good of them to be so generous, I think. Its sound system is Dolby True HD which is obviously once again dependant on your television or speaker set up whether you get to experience its full capabilities and overall I do think you get plenty for your money with this player.
I mainly use my player for watching films, it can of course play any Blu Ray disc's (they don't have to be 3D ones) and it will upscale DVD's to a 1080p, near Blu Ray quality. I do have a couple of concerns with the playback features of the machine and the remote control though and the first one is in the size of the onscreen graphics when you come to pause, rewind or fast-forward. To say these are huge would be an understatement I don't like these I have to admit as I think they look a bit cheap and tacky and would have personally preferred them to be a lot smaller. This is only a minor niggle I agree but worth mentioning as everytime I come to pause or stop a film they always catch my eye and it's just a feature I don't personally like. The other concern of mine is a big one I'm afraid and the only really negative point about this player as a whole but it's one of the most important things about owning any type of Blu Ray or DVD player and that is it's remote control.
Simply put, the remote control is awful , it's made from what looks like cheap plastic and has buttons that are too fiddly to be of much use. It feels too small when its held in a hand and I absolutely loathe it in all honesty, for a player that retailed for £149.99 before it went on offer it's a shameful piece of kit and Philips should be lamented for their design in this area. The battery cover of mine broke as soon as I took it off to insert the batteries and it has always felt far too light and much too flimsy. I emailed Tesco the day mine was delivered to complain about the remote and asked for a replacement but as this is apparently not covered in the warranty for the player instead I've had to settle for a partial refund which I have to admit is not very satisfactory and it's because of the remote control that I have difficulties in giving this player a full, glowing recommendation. This is my second Blu Ray player from Philips and my other one has an excellent remote control so I really can't understand why the one supplied with the BD3282 is as bad as it is when this machine is a much higher specified player than my other one. The only good thing about the remote as far as I can see is that it works but I really don't like it at all.
For a machine that plays anything you're likely to throw at it then there's little to complain about with the BD3282 and had it not been for the terrible remote control I would have awarded a five star rating here. I got mine as part of a package deal with my new television and before Christmas this player was available to buy by itself for £149.99, it has since come down in price and can now be bought for £89.99 which I think is a reasonable price given the fact that it does support 3D technology. I've played everything from DVDs to standard Blu Ray's to 3D ones on mine and its playback has been flawless every time, the player itself is responsive and quick and the menu is easy to navigate around. Philips do generously give you 8 pairs of 3D glasses with the player which I think is very generous of them but I don't care for the oversized graphics myself though and hate the remote control so my 3 star rating here takes everything into consideration. It is a recommended player overall but I do think for the money it could have been a lot better.
Thanks for reading my review.