Everyone needs some sort of DVD player in their lounge for watching movies late at night. Commonly, this device is now a multi-function device such as a games console but there is still a market for a standalone DVD player. I believe that this DVD player is perfect within this market!
The design of the DVD player is great. It is a deep, slightly reflective, black colour and incredibly thin and sleek. It doesn't take up the TV stand that we have it on and as our TV stand is the same black, it matches very well with the design of the lounge.
Setup is as simple as most DVD players, simply plug it into both the wall and the TV via the cables provided and change the source on the TV to get started.
One the DVD is in, you can either navigate through menus using the provided remote control or you can use the action buttons on the front of the player. As menus are often pretty simple, I usually just use the buttons on the player whilst I am putting the DVD in. As you would expect, these buttons are very responsive and do not have issues whereby you press them and nothing happens like can happen with some remote controls. Saying that, the remote control does not have any responsiveness issues. I have had a couple of DVD players which can be awful to use with a remote as nothing gets recognised unless you are right next to the player, but the range of this remote is great, I can even be in another room (but with a clear view of the player) and it will still work perfectly fine.
An advantage of this DVD player over cheaper ones is that it has the ability to play DivX coded content (known as DivX codec content). DivX codecs can only be read by certain players as it requires a special licence to use as it is a commercial codec owned by Sony - despite this, DivX is surprisingly common and having a DVD player without this licence can mean that many of your DVDs, especially those filmed with home camcorders, will not play.
When I was first contemplating getting a DVD player for my bedroom, I wasn't really after anything that was too up-to-date or overly stylish. I was just after a fairly cheap, easy to operate player that would serve the purpose of playing a variety of DVD's without too much bother.
As with most products, I shop around a fair bit, searching the internet for a good product at a good price before committing to anything. As it was finally decided that I would be getting a DVD player for Christmas, I gave my parents a list of players that appealed to me, all with one function that was essential. More on that in a little while.
So, roll onto the 25th of December and I was fairly happy when I got the Toshiba SD270E as a present. Although, I have to say, I was expecting a Philips player and my initial thoughts were that I would have preferred it; I have bought multiple products from Philips before and know that they are a company of very high standards and quality.
None the less, this particular Toshiba boasted many attractive features. Now, I'm not going to start naming all of them because many of them I don't know what they mean. I am by no means the most technologically advanced person alive but I'm definitely not stuck in the dark ages!
From my knowledge and experience with this particular player, it is very easy to use and to set up. Inside the box, the following items were included:
1) The DVD player
2) The remote control
3) Batteries for the remote control (two AAAs to be exact)
4) Instruction manuals
5) Jacks to plug in from the DVD player to the TV
6) Leads to connect to the electric socket
7) Lots and lots of cardboard and very secure packaging to keep it all safe!
It was at that point that I encountered my first - and hopefully my only - problem with this player; the jacks included were next to useless for me as there were no red, white or yellow holes on my TV. I have a little portable TV in my bedroom with a 15" screen at the very most. It's already a video player but obviously, as technology progressed, it isn't nearly enough for the amount of DVD's I now own and I am severely limited to what I can watch away from the watchful eyes of my parents (but nothing dodgy, I hasten to add!).
So, I trudged off to my local store and managed to pick up a scart lead for the measly price of 99p and managed to get my player up and running. Panic over!
Although I may not know all of the fancy names for different parts of players or even their functions, I have to admit that I'm not too terrible at setting anything up. After plugging it into the TV and at the wall, the button clearly marked as power on strikes up the screen and you are welcomed by a blue background with a Toshiba logo on it.
Finding the correct channel was very easy too. Although it says in the manual that you may have to search for a while to find which one it is, mine was 0 which is the same as the video and Playstation system.
As guided via the manual, it is a good idea to set up your TV to support the DVD player in the best way possible before deciding to play anything. One way of doing this is to make sure that the picture quality is as good as it could be, as sustained by the progressive scan feature that this player offers. This is very easy to do and all the information on how to is included in the booklet. This apparently is only meant to work on a TV which has progressive scan on it. However, despite the fact that my little telly doesn't, I still noticed quite a remarkable picture change with it becoming a lot clearer very quickly so it is worth doing anyway.
The language and audio set up is just as easy as the progressive scan feature. At the top of the screen, there are a lot of drop down menus which can be accessed very easily just by using the remote control and the number buttons with the arrows. From this point too you can select the appropriate subtitle settings and if they are not available, then it will simply be a case of it being whatever the selected disk is. This player would be good for first time buyers as it is extremely easy to use as long as you follow the simple instruction information and, if you do slip up, don't worry; just turn the TV and player off a start again.
Playing a DVD is just as simple as the original set up. All you do essentially is open the tray and wait for it to load. One of the features that I do find very handy about the Toshiba SD270E is that it has an LCD screen display, so that you know exactly where you got to upon your last play of the DVD through the digital time display. It was a feature that lacked on our other DVD player but one that if we did get another one, I would seriously want to be included.
The player itself can activate a number of different formats. Obviously, the only one I was really concerned about was the DVD function upon its purchase but others that can be played include:
*Recordable or Rewritable DVDs.
*Super Video CDs
*DivX videos (ones that you have made yourself)
As you can tell from the extensive list above, this is a very versatile DVD player, perfect as an appliance in a teenager's bedroom or even just as a replacement for one that is on the blink sometimes.
The one thing that I really wanted out of a DVD player was the ability to play multi-regional DVD's. Strictly, I probably shouldn't be advertising this fact as you aren't meant to do this. However, from the place of purchase, it was specifically advertised as a DVD player that does allow the customer to change the region to '0', so that you can play a wider variety of DVDs from different countries and continents and as the specific code for doing so has been up on the internet for well over a year now, I think that if Toshiba had too much of an issue with this then they would have requested for it to be taken down. Due to the fact that they haven't, I can only presume that they don't mind it being advertised like this as it is a function that many people are becoming more aware of and do want from a DVD player, so it's probably a case of it's better to sell some players rather than none.
The fact that I can play multi-regional DVD's is a huge advantage to me; I have one DVD from Australia and another from Canada and there is only so many times you can keep switching the region codes on your computers DVD player before it stops changing altogether. Again, it's a feature I shouldn't perhaps advertise but one that was honestly essential to my buying decision and one that I personally really like about this product.
The picture I found was very good on all of the DVD's that I have played so far. I have played a TV drama (Life on Mars), a wrestling pay per view (Royal Rumble 2004) and various concerts from it as well as a computer animated movie and for the most part, the picture has been of a very good quality. At times it could be a little pixelated but these moments were very few and far between.
The sound quality has been fairly good too; on one of the music DVD's I was playing, the sound was very vivid and the strobe lighting of the picture made the concert seem very realistic. The playback quality I have also found to be very good. People have reported on various places where you can buy this product from that if you press the stop button, a programme won't always start up again when you press the play button. I have never experienced this problem so I can't possibly comment.
One of he other advantages of this player was the very good price. It can be obtained for £28.99 from Amazon.co.uk and Comet.co.uk for £34.99. Although on the surface this DVD player may seem to be just about perfect, there are a few faults.
One thing is that it doesn't have on board memory. This is a little bit of a problem as when I am trying to find the last point I got to when watching a DVD, it's not always as easy as finding the chapter. Yet, the LCD display does make up for this fault quite substantially.
One other minor issue is that the buttons on the front of the DVD player are a bit unresponsive. I often find that I have to press the buttons several times before it reacts but that might be just because it is a new player. You also can't be that far away from the front of the DVD player or the remote might not be as effective otherwise.
Overall, I am really impressed with this little player. I like the black and silver colour of it as it looks sleek and stylish. Although there are some features that do need a little bit of improvement such as the button responses, I am very happy that I have managed to find a DVD player to play all of my DVD's on!
(Note: If anyone perhaps thinks that the multi-region portion of this review should not be included, please let me know before rating and then I'll change it. Thank you!)
(This review was previously written and displayed by myself, MizzMolko, on Ciao.)