“ Toshiba SD 370E-K-TE - DVD player - Upscaling - black „
I have owned this product for a few years now. I bought this dvd player based on its ability to play many formats. I find it useful to burn 5 avi movies onto one dvd disc and watch them using this player. The only problem I find is that they don't always play all the way through. Sometimes they stop playing half way through. Now I have stopped burning dvds and just connect my laptop to the TV. This player has no problem playing most DVD discs although some discs wont play all the way through. One major disadvantage with this player is it wont play mp4 movies which is a real pain as I have to convert them to avi and that takes ages. Picture quality is ok, with HD coming through pin sharp. I think the future is moving away from disc players and moving towards usb pens and hard drive media. There are just too many problems associated with burning discs. It is much easier to store movies onto usb drives then plug that into your tv
INTRODUCTION Toshiba is a name synonymous with quality household electronics, and the SD370 is the latest entry-level candidate in their long line of DVD players. Not limited to the usual mix of DVDs and MP3 media, the SD370 has the capability of playing feature-rich DivX, allowing you to watch downloadable movie clips and feature films in AVI format. What's more, the player comes with upscaling features for improved playback on high definition television sets. WHAT'S INCLUDED? Most evident is the black, slim-line player, featuring bright metallic trim currently all the rage with home appliances. Also included are quick start and setup manuals, a remote control (batteries included) and a basic RCA cable. On the whole, it's what you'd expect from an entry-level, 'tabletop' player, although including an RGB SCART cable rather than an old phono lead would have been far more practical. In terms of packaging, everything is better than expected. Sharing the player's form factor, the box is both slim and sturdy. The polystyrene packing material is minimal to ensure unnecessary waste, covering only the four corners of the player, however the plastic wrapping consumes the unit where it plainly isn't required. Overall, it's a good effort, but far from perfect. CONSTRUCTION QUALITY Overall build quality seems most reasonable considering it's one of thousands of mass produced units imported from the Far East. The remote control is disappointing however; nowhere near the quality I've experienced from Toshiba's players in the past, being bland and 'plasticy' to the touch. Nonetheless, everything remains functional, and a good track record from the brand ensures that you're unlikely to experience a high failure rate with the player or its accessories. CONNECTION OPTIONS The video connectivity of the player is better than most budget models. Along with the usual SCART and composite connectors for those with standard definition televisions, component outputs and an HDMI slot are also included. These connections are capable of outputting footage in 720p, 1080i or progressive scan, depending on the selected option. In terms of digital audio, things aren't quite as good; whilst a digital coaxial connector is included, there's no optical TOSLINK output - a real shock considering Toshiba originally formed the standard! AUDIO/VIDEO QUALITY I tested several connection setups with the player and, generally speaking, the SD370 performed admirably. Picture quality performed adequately using the standard definition inputs, but definitely seemed far more vibrant and lustrous using HDMI and high resolution output. NTSC and PAL both performed as expected, with the PAL material looking a little better on the whole. DivX output, understandably, varied dramatically depending on bitrate and source material; well encoded videos (such as those taken from the official DivX website) looked remarkable and comparable to the quality produced by DVD. Low bitrates gave large areas of macroblocking, artefacting and line delineation, although never presenting a level I'd consider offensively unacceptable. As such, the SD370 proves to be 'on the money' for an entry-level player in terms of visual quality. As I previously stated, the audio connectivity is limited, however the output was as expected, happily streaming both Dolby Digital and DTS sound to my AV decoding equipment via digital coaxial cable. FORMAT COMPATIBILITY The SD370 accepted all discs I could throw at it with various degrees of success. DVD-R, DVD+R and CD-R material worked without complaint, even on unstable dyes from discs mastered nearly a decade ago. DVD-R(W)s and CD-R(W)s worked after several minutes of 'thinking' time, having presented a rather large challenge to the drive mechanism. In terms of DivX, materials encoded with versions three through six all worked perfectly, as did the limited XviD material I had to hand. Success was similarly forthcoming with MPEG material, but a couple of non-compliant files refused to load which is frustrating but understandable. Whilst the player is HDTV compatible, please note it isn't capable of playing High Definition encoded material; the installed decoder chip isn't powerful enough to display all the extra resolution. Attempting to play these files will merely result in a compatibility error message. RELIABILITY Generally speaking, the SD370 is a strong performer with few playback issues. On several occasions the player has frozen momentarily, however this seems to be a self-correcting, intermittent issue that is no worse than the pause experienced during a DVD layer-transition. Dirty and scratched discs, a common occurrence from rental stores, presented little challenge for the Toshiba, and baring a slightly noisy drive, played without fault. REGION PLAYBACK The player is Region 2 out of the box, but is multi-region capable with a firmware upgrade. The update is available for download from various websites around the internet, free of charge. Once burnt onto a CD-R, the update process only takes a few minutes and will make playback of multi-region material possible. It's an annoyance having to waste a CD to upgrade the player, but the procedure is relatively simple and worth the effort for those who have a large number of imported DVDs in their collection. OVERALL The SD370 is far from the most exciting player I've ever used, mixing above average performance with above average functionality. It's a disappointment that extras offered by other brands, such as USB inputs and optical connectors, weren't offered by this player. That said, it's hard to pass fault with the Toshiba player, even if it lacks some of the bells and whistles offered by reasonably priced competitors. Worth a 'look-in' for a cheap replacement player whilst waiting for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray to enter the mainstream; but know that other, better equipped players are available for roughly the same price.
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