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Into The Blu
Since Blu-Ray has become the standard for high definition optical media the prices of the players
has been quite rapidly declining. It's now possible to get a decent Blu-Ray player at sub £100 prices.
I had been resisting Blu-Ray for quite a while but now the prices have come down I have taken the plunge. I looked at a number of players and decided on the Toshiba as it had all the features I was looking for and goes nicely with my Toshiba TV.
The Toshiba BDX2100 could be seen as a budget player. The design of the box is very nice and it fits in very nicely under my TV. It's a nice size too and relatively thin. The LCD display on the front looks a little old fashioned when playing discs but to be honest I don't really notice that anymore and it's not visible when turned off or on stand by.
The picture quality and sound quality when playing Blu-Rays is excellent. With a well encoded Blu-Ray you can really see the difference to standard DVD. There are a few settings for the way Blu-Rays are displayed, I tend the prefer the default setting.
I have had no problems in playing back any disks at all, including one disk that I imported from America that says it's not region encoded. However, it's probably best to stick to region B (Europe) if possible as the manual states only region B disks are compatible.
The remote control is a nice size and fits in my hand well. The buttons are nicely layed out, although a number of them serve no purpose so I presume they are also supplied with more expensive models. The player responds to the controls well although sometimes it takes a few presses to wake it up from stand by.
The USB port allows you to play most formats, there's very few that have failed to play. It will play HD
files. It also supports the MKV format which is very handy as this is now commonly used. The Media player on the machine is very good, the menus are well laid out and the colour scheme and fonts used make everything easy to read and professional looking. File names that are longer than can be displayed are scrolled when highlighted. I am very happy with the USB functionality of the player.
As this is a budget player there are is no support for on demand services that other players supply, such as iPlayer, 4OD etc. If this is important to you then look elsewhere. The only internet service supported is Blu-Ray Live, and to be honest I've not even bothered to connect it up to the internet as I don't have any interest in the standard extra features let alone online ones. If you do want it though it is there and it supports the latest version. There is no wifi built in so you'll have to connect with a cable or wireless bridge.
My biggest problem with the player is the noise the mechanism makes, it's fine when just playing but when you first turn it on or move around the disk it makes some very loud mechanical noises that does make me a little concerned about the build quality. So far it's been fine, but I can't see it lasting as long as my old Sony DVD player that's about ten years old now and still going strong. At the price however I can't complain about a little clunkyness.
For the price I paid I can't really fault this player, blu-rays play very well and it does a very good job of upscaling standard DVDs.
The picture and sound quality of blu-rays is excellent. The USB functionality is better than I was expecting. The lack of internet features doesn't bother me but could be a deal breaker if you don't have other methods of accessing them. Now the price of the Blu-Rays themselves have
come down now is a good time to invest.