* Prices may differ from that shown
The BDX2100 is the second Blu-ray player launched by Toshiba since the well-publicised demise of HD DVD. It’s the successor to the BDX2000, a decent budget deck that we reviewed towards the end of last year and continues in the range. The BDX2100 is actually a stripped down version of its predecessor, reflected by a cheaper launch price that dips down to under £100 online – the sort of outlay that might make procrastinating buyers finally bite the Blu-ray bullet.
Once again Toshiba decorates the deck’s fascia with jutting angles and a deeply sexy gloss black finish. The wafer-thin disc tray, sparse buttonry and tiny LED display keep the front panel looking clean and minimal. Look towards the bottom right-hand corner and you’ll spot a USB port, which replaces the SD card slot found on the BDX2000 – a wise decision too, as it allows you to connect a wider range of devices.
However, there are fewer connections on the back than you’ll find on the BDX2000, leaving only a basic selection. You get HDMI v1.3, composite, coaxial digital and analogue stereo outputs, as well as an Ethernet port. The BDX2000 additionally features component video and optical digital audio output, but with HDMI handling the crucial AV duties their absence is no great loss. The lack of multichannel analogue outputs might leave you in the lurch if your AV receiver lacks HDMI inputs, but it’s hardly surprising at this price.
More disappointing is that the Ethernet port’s talents are limited to downloading BD Live content from the Internet. Toshiba has introduced a media streaming feature into its latest TV range and it would have been great to see a similar feature included here. Most of Toshiba’s big-name Blu-ray rivals boast DLNA PC streaming functionality (Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG), although admittedly these companies have had longer to develop their players and most of them are more expensive than the BDX2100.
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.