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I bought this DVD player in Comet, partly due to a positive review on this site. If you're thinking of buying a player, and it seems thousands of us are, but can't be bothered delving into the technical specifications, then you may well be flumoxed by the choice. Price and aesthetics seem to be the only discriminators, and therefore it's useful to read opinions by those who do understand the technical issues. So I'll apologise right now in this review, because I don't understand the technical nitty gritty behind this Toshiba! All I know is it seemed relatively easy to set up, although you do have to buy a Scart cable in order to do this (mine cost £14). I also had to negotiate wiring together the DVD, a digital receiver box and a video through to the TV set, which was a bit like the Krypton Factor. Don't ever throw away old instruction manuals is all I can say! The Toshiba's instructions are simple to follow, and I soon had located the picture. The remote control is also easy to use, and I was watching my first DVD film relatively quickly. You cannot, however, watch a DVD while taping a satellite broadcast through your video, as both use the same channel on the TV. I'm not sure why this is, but it's a fact. Another thing I didn't know - and this was a bit of a blow - you can't video tape from a DVD! Even if you could wire one into another, it seems most DVD's are "write protected" to prevent copying. There's probably a way 'round this if you can be bothered finding out, but I was looking forward to building a home taped movie library. Now I'll have to buy them (best Internet seller seems to be Play247.com, with a vast range of films at reasonable prices.) The Toshiba will only play Region 2 (European) format films, so if you're into buying cheaper DVD's from the States then this isn't the player for you. The other thing about DVD's you need to know is that m
any of the disks are widescreen versions, which is fine if you have a trendy widescreen telly, but I don't. In order to watch widescreen DVD's, you adjust the picture setting on the Toshiba through the remote control. It's easy enough to do (once you realise you have to do it) and prevents the sensation of watching the movie through a letterbox, but even on the correct settings I have about an inch of black lines at the top and bottom of the picture. With regard to the player itself, the picture quality is pin sharp and crystal clear. The sound seems fine, but I don't have the cinema surround sound gizmos that will bring out the best in the DVD. Not yet, anyway, but I think if I make such an investment then I won't have to upgrade the Toshiba. All in all, I'm more than happy with the Toshiba, and I think most people will be. So if it's around your price range and matches your technological colour scheme, you're unlikely to be disappointed.
Before I start, let me give you a short explanation for why I got a DVD player. Otherwise skip down a little bit ... I love films in general. My favourite one being Fight Club. I have the book and the video, and my sister had the DVD. I had watched my video copy a million times (well perhaps not that many) and the quality was deteriorating. Some of the best scenes had an irritating line through the middle. Also, I had the non wide screen version. I don't have a wide screen TV so it seemed sensible, but having seen it in the cinema already I began to realise what I was missing. For example: There is one part of the film where Tyler jumps into a car and drives off. What you don't see on the video is that a man runs on from the left shouting "that's my car!". Not a big deal I know, but how much else had I missed? These are two reasons why you must own a DVD player. The clarity is amazing. Rich vibrant colours, no deterioration, perfect still frame... and of course films are presented how they were intended, often with extra scenes. The Fight CLub DVD also contains hours of extras. I spent three hours looking through the extras, and still haven't seen them all! Anyway, is this a review of Fight Club or a DVD player? //* TOSHIBA SD-110E *\\ So why this machine? Well to be honest it was a birthday present, but I probably would have gone for something similar. You can pick up a DVD player for under £100 now, but I can't imagine them being much good. In my opinion, when it comes to electrical stuff, you have to buy at least a mid range product, otherwise you need to upgrade by the end of the year. The 110E is certainly a mid range model in terms of price, but offers plenty of features to keep you occupied. It cost £150 (you'll have to shop around) for the standard region 2 (Europe) model but extra if you want to play American DVDs. For most people the
region 2 will be fine. It is described on the Toshiba web site as a DVD for "the home cinema enthusiast". //* THE FEATURES *\\ Like I already said, it's packed with them: - ON SCREEN DISPLAY Most players/TVs offer on screen display, but this player's display looks great. There are icons and menus that make setting your options incredibly simple. Little touches like this really are a sign of quality. There's nothing I hate more than ugly displays. You can even opt to have the bit rate displayed, to show how much information is coming from the DVD. I couldn't tell you why you'd want to know that though... - PICTURE QUALITY The picture quality is fantastic. Once you've watched this, you will probably moan like hell about how poor your television picture looks, and you'll never look at a VHS again! Whilst watching you have the option of perfect still frame, fast forward, rewind, and slow motion at amazing clarity. It even has a built in screen saver to save your TV. - ZOOM Apparantly unique to Toshiba, you can zoom up to 4 times into an image. This feature is impressive as it really shows the picture quality. Even at full zoom there is no picture distortion. It serves little purpose in the long run, but gadget fans like myself will find it a welcome addition. Also Basic Instinct fans might find it as a bonus ;) - SCREEN SELECTION You can alter the screen between Normal, Movie, Movie 2 and Animation. Mainly this only alters the brightness and contrast, but can help to bring out colours better. - AUDIO Audio is important to me, and Toshiba does not let me down. I do not have a home cinema kit, I only run the movies through my two speakers, although this player is Dolby surround compatible - whatever that means. It also supports DTS, which some DVDs use. DTS stands for Digital Theatre System, and i
s an alternative to Dolby surround. The advantage is that it is not compressed (kind of like mp3s) like Dolby is, and so offers a clearer sound quality. For those of us without the home cinema kits, do not be dissapointed. The 110E comes equipped with the latest 'Spatializer 3D N-2-2'. Confused? Wait until you've heard the official definition! "A variable phase delay creates an enhanced three dimensional audio image which adds depth and richness to a stereo soundtrack" What this basically means is it creates the illusion of surround sound from just two speakers. The argument is we only have two ears, so to have more speakers is a waste. I could go further into biology and explain how as humans we have a terrible ability of being able to pin point where sounds come from. The spatializer tricks the brain into believing sounds are behind, by means of adding delays and echoes. Or so I understand. It works to an extent but I don't feel that it quite lives up to what it promises. - ADDITIONAL FEATURES As far as I'm aware, these features come as standard on all modern players, but here they are anyway: Audio track select (eg different languages) Subtitle select Camera angle select Parental Lock Plays audio CDs //* CONCLUSION *\\ The bottom line is if you are into movies, you must own a DVD player - and you can't go far wrong with this one. It has everything (and more) that you could ask for, and all for a bargain price. If you want to know more, here are a few useful sites: http://www.home-entertainment.toshiba.co.uk http://www.spatializer.com http://www.dtsonline.com There you can find out more about the more confusing features.