I must admit I do not know the ins and outs of the dvd players world but as a mother and a constant dvd watcher, I am impressed with the Wharfedale M5. Even my one and a half year old knows how to switch it on. It's a neat, silver, fairly compact little player and has not given us any problems and when we bought it fro Tesco's, it was the cheapest as well. So, what more can I say - it's a great item and I am very pleased with it.
Wharfedale M5 DVD Player Or Is It ???? I don't think theres many people out there who ever take the lid off of there Hi-Fi or DVD equipment etc when it just suddenly stops working. I was amazed when I took the lid off of my Wharfedale M5 DVD player,as for inside,they have used a standard DVD CD Rom drive from a late 1980's PC/Computer,which has all the same line connections,such as the power in supply/A ribbon cable marked with the red strip on the outer line & a soundcard lead to a very small soundcard motherboard. So what are you getting for your money here,a pc or a DVD player. On the main motherboard for this item,there sits a a green PC processor which looks like a old Cyrix 686 from a mid 90's PC ATX. I don,t think it would take much to repair one of these DVD players,especially if you have some PC building know how. If the main DVD drive ever went wrong,It could be easily replaced with a DVD drive from any computer shop etc & fitted in minutes. The DVD players quality is very good on the following:Picture/Sound & Controls. The casing is pretty fragile though,as it dents very easy & be very careful when cleaning it,as even home polish will remove the front fascia writing & motifs. I think in time this item will become a collectors item,like the old Philips CDi players. One more comment & abit of a down side is the jog wheel for picture frame speed advance "It Has A Mind Of Its Own"
I have the day off work today, so I have decided to spend the day on dooyoo, reading, rating and maybe writing a few opinions. But I am at a blank so I have decided to write about my most prized position, my DVD player, a wharfedale M5DVD. I spend ages going around stores such as, curry’s, comet, Argos etc, looking for a DVD player that would play mp3’s and vcd’s as well as DVD’s. Then I finally found what I was looking for, while I was doing my weekly shopping in tesco. It was a wharfedale M5DVD, which is a multi region player that plays vcd’s, and mp3’s as well. All for the bargain price of 169.99. Although I purchased this a year ago, some tesco store are still selling it, but the price has gone up a little since I bought mine. I am one of these people who don’t have a clue how to work electronic things, but when I got this home I was pleasantly surprised, it is so easy to use and the remote control is layed out so you can understand and access the things you want to very easily. It is also quite small and very stylish. And another bonus is the buttons don’t stick. The dvd player it self, looks very nice, it is metallic silver but it can also be brought in black, it is very small and compact so it is east to place it in a small confined place with out it looking to bulky. All of the features on the wharfedale are great, and as I said before so simple to use. This particular DVD player can also be changed to a multi region player; all you have to do is download a hack code from the Internet, which is also very easy to do. A great bonus for having a multi region play is, you can but really cheap DVD’s at a fraction of the price we are paying at the moment. www.play.com is a great site to but these cheap DVD’s. So I would recommend that you go and have a look, you wont be disappointed. So for just 169.99 this DVD player is a fabulous buy, and I
would defiantly recommend that you think about buying this model, if you are looking into buying a DVD player.
Based on the reviews on this site my partner and I decided on a Wharfedale M5 as our new dvd player. As no Tesco stores seemed to stock the item, we turned to Futuretronic, the manufacturer and only other distributor of the product. Once the player arrived we set it up - very easy and straightforward - to find that the picture was fuzzy and jittery even on the static Wharfedale welcome screen. Having tested the player on two different tvs, both with SCART sockets, we felt the problem was definitely with the dvd player rather than the televisions, which worked fine by themselves or with a VCR. We telephoned Futuretronic to ask their advice, and thinking we might give up that saturday afternoon to trek from south east Kent to north London to have the player checked or exchanged. However, having explained the problem, the immediate response of the man at Futuretronic was that their player was perfect and the fault could not lie with their equipment. He went so far as to suggest we must be using old tvs without SCART sockets although we had explained it was not so. Besides, should the player be jittery and fuzzy if it is connected by one of the other methods?? We tried hard to communicate with the company and got nowhere. Rather disullusioned, and fearing that the situation could become very problematic given the standards of customer service being demonstrated, we reluctantly decided to return the player and start again in finding one to buy. We duly sent the Wharfedale back by Parcel Force registered post, and the item was signed for at Futuretronic the next day. Despite enclosing a letter explaining the situation and requesting a refund (we returned the player well within seven days of receiving it so were entitled to a full refund under consumer law) we heard nothing. After two weeks I emailed the company, using the 'thank you for your order' customer service email address they had previously provided. I requested a ref
und within ten working days. Nothing happened: no reply and no refund. Over a month has elapsed since Futuretronic received the player and we have had to claim a refund of the cost from Barclaycard as the company is refusing to respond at all. Based on our experience, I would advise anyone thinking of buying this product to be very wary of Futuretronic. For people who live within easy reach of the store it may be possible to get problems ironed out by going to the store in person. For anyone who would be relying on delivery and return by mail I would recommend avoiding this company. We felt that even if player had not been faulty on arrival, had a problem developed later it seems likely it would be very difficult to get a helpful response from Futuretronic. In short, it may be a very good product - unfortunately we never got to find out! - but the manufacturer's customer service and support is appalling. We do not recommend purchasing from Futuretronic, but if you do, would strongly advise using a credit card so that you will be covered by the card company if Futuretronic hold onto your money.
Wharfedale is a name I trust in the audio market, and, given the specs on this machine when I decided to get a DVD this was the one to get... gold connectors, 6 audio output for dolby 5.1, plays VCD and MP3... the specs are impressive, and for the price unbeatable. The look of the things is equally brilliant. We all know the cosmetic sheen of the thing shouldn't matter that much, but of course it does. No worries here; the machine is sleek, minimalist and attractive. It's silver finish will fit well into most modern HiFi set ups. Indeed, the box is so well set up, so well designed, and of such high a spec, that it's prompted me to upgrade to an AV Receiver to get the most out of it. Using your existing amp and speakers is certainly great, but I don't think you can beat a surround sound system now can you. I've chosen to get the Sony STRDE375, which has on board Digital Radio, and which Richer sounds are doing for only £119.95. The controls are easy and neatly to hand - no complex meaningless buttons here, you'll know the full set up of this machine within 10 seconds of glancing at the remote. Multi-regioning it is equally easy with a code you can find on the internet (don't get hoodwinked into paying extra for it - or for multi-regioning any DVD. Practically the only DVD maker who has to be chipped is Sony, everyone else needs a simple hack - try www.dvdregionhacks.com). I bought it at auction via www.dabs.com. This got me it about a tenner cheaper than Tesco were offering, and I would urge anyone to seek out this nifty piece of kit.
I read write-ups about the Wharfedale M5 in various Home Cinema magazines before buying it. They all gave it a great recommendation. Excellent performance and great value for money. You can buy the M5 from a couple of sources. The usual outlet is Tescos, who sell it for £149. Alternatively you can buy it from Futuretronic in Park Royal, North London for £199. We bought it from them. Strange choice you may feel. Why would you pay extra for the same machine? Well, of course, it isn't exactly the same version. It's the same basic machine but for the higher price you also get Macrovision disabled, which enables you to copy DVDs (for you own personal use of course!!!). The machine is also Multi-region enabled so you can play DVDs from anywhere in the world. Actually, Futuretronic are the originators and designers of this player. Wharfedale have a very well-known name in Hi-fi circles. They have been manufacturing speakers for years. I have a pair myself. DVD players are not their area of expertise so they arranged to sell Futuretronic players badged with the Wharfedale brandname. Clearly, with a reputation to maintain they would have made sure that they equipment did justice to their name. The machine is not just a DVD player. It is also capable of playing CDs, both the regular kind you buy through retail outlets and also CDs cut on CD writers. It will also play CDs containing MP3 encoded tracks. It has its own built-in MP3 decoder so you don't need a separate one. It will also play the less familiar Video CDs and Super Video CDs as well as the rarer CVD format disks. The only format that it doesn't handle is the very new SACD (Super Audio CD) format but then there aren't many players that do, really only Sony at this time. There is a comprehensive set of outputs. First the video. You can connect using an RGB cable that carries the three colour information signals in separate l
eads. You can also connect using either a composite coaxial video cable or an S-video lead. For the audio, there is the standard stereo right/left sound output. In addition, the player contains its own Dolby AC-3 5.1 decoder that delivers front and rear right/left signals plus a front centre and a sub-woofer output. These outputs can be connected to a simple 6 channel amplifier designed for home theatre systems. Alternatively the sound can be output in the emerging DTS format. If you wish to the use the decoders of an audio/video receiver instead of the built in ones then you can connect digitally to that sort of processor either with an optical link or else an appropriate coaxial connector. However, most users, such as ourselves, will probably use the standard SCART connector, which carries both video and sound signals in one (thick) cable. The comprehensive on-screen menu enables the customisation of just about every option you can imagine. It is very simple to use, either via the buttons on the from of the player or with the hand remote control. We found that the defaults set up as supplied with the machine were appropriate. The remote control also enable access to all the expected functions such as fast-forward, fast-rewind, fast play, pause and so on. So far we have played DVDs, CDs and a CD containing hundreds of MP3s. It has handled them all, but only after three attempts! From this you will gather that all was not as it should be. The player was a present from my wife. (Heavy hints were involved!). On plugging it in, all the expected lights came on, the LCD panel on the front said what was expected but the disc tray simply wouldn't open! I tried the Helpline number shown on the back of the Instruction Manual. You would assume that it would be the Wharfedale helpline. Wrong! It turns out that this is the Tescos Helpline. Not a lot of use if you didn't buy your from T
escos! There was no alternative, the player had to go back. Fortunately for me, Park Royal is only about 45 minutes away from my home so I phoned Futuretronic and arranged to take it back myself. They checked the player externally but could find nothing wrong. However, on opening up the machine they discovered that the ribbon cable connecting the DVD drive to the motherboard was completely detached. No explanation was obvious other than it may have been due to rough handling by the couriers who delivered the player to our house. The unit was, however, well packed with plenty of shock-dampening plastic foam so it is disturbing to find this sort of ?damage? no matter what the cause. The unit was fully checked, at least so far as to ensure that all the expected functions were working. I took it home to try again. Everything seemed to be working. I sat down to watch "The Mummy Returns", another present. 17 minutes into the film the picture started hesitating and finally froze. I tried it again with exactly the same result at exactly the same place. I examined the disc but there was nothing obviously wrong with it, no scratches, no fingerprints. I tried another disc, this time "Chocolat". This played correctly or, at least, it did for 40 minutes, then exactly the same thing happened. By now it was too late to take it back again but I did phone them to let them know I would be back the following day. I took the player back along with one of the DVDs. You can probably guess what happened, nothing, or at least, nothing untoward. The DVD played just as it should! However, the guys at Futuretronic offered to replace the player anyway, an offer I accepted. They did the Macrovision modification on a brand new player, checked it out with all the usual tests, including playing by problematical DVD. All seemed in order so I took it home. So far there have been no furthe
r problems. So, what about the results? Well, the picture quality is excellent. The sound quality is as good as you would expect played simply through the standard speakers of the TV; ours is a Hitachi 28" Widescreen. This is true of both video (DVD) and sound (CD, MP3...) discs. To judge the full sound quality will require a home theatre surround sound system. I'm saving up. So, the final verdict? Despite the initial problems, this is a very good player. It fully lives up to expectations and at the price is outstanding value for money. I will give Futuretronic the benefit of the doubt about the problems. It is entirely possible that the original player was damaged in transit and the fact that the replacement works faultlessly only adds strength to the suspicion. I also cannot complain about the treatment I received from Futuretronic. Clearly they are very proud of their product and despite being unable to identify a cause for the problem the second time I returned the player to them, they offered a replacement without me having to demand it.
I’d been thinking of buying a DVD player for a while, but didn’t want to spend a lot, on what is usually with me, a passing phase for another gadget. This somewhat narrows down the choices that you have available, and also the features that each unit contains. As my budget was relatively small in DVD terms, but I wanted to be able to do nigh on anything, it was obviously a case for trying to get the most for the least. This is where the DVD M5 steps in – or rather smashes the door down and kicks its way in. I had heard of the Wharfedale name, and also read the reviews on the 750, which is a fine model in it’s own right. Only upon visiting Tesco, the exclusive distributors, did I find out that this model had been superseded by the M5. As I write this, the info on the M5 is still not on the web site. So what does it look like? As seems to be the vogue at the moment, the M5 is a nice shiny silver colour, complete with silver coloured buttons and a nice green/blue display. It terms of size, it’s around a couple of inches longer & wider than a video player is, and maybe half an inch higher. It doesn’t look obtrusive at all. In fact, mine sits underneath a silver OnDigital box and blends in quite well. The Features It might come as a shock to some that a £180 player contains so much, but here goes. It’s multi-region. Converted by a code inserted from the handset, the player can be set to any region that you wish, although the favourite regional setting is “all”. It can obviously play DVD’s, but in addition it will play VCD, Super VCD, CVD & audio CD’s. It can be controlled either from a comprehensive handset or directly from the unit. The main buttons needed to function are provided on the unit itself. They are solid and give a positive click when pressed. I do have trouble trying to use the wheel to
fast forward / rewind, but that’s probably as I only used it to see what it was like. The handset is like so many others out there, neither excitingly brilliant nor irritatingly bad. There seems to have been some thought in it’s design, with the main controls that you will use set at the top, above the numbered keypad. Everything is clearly labelled and easy to read. It has built in Dolby Digital 5.1and DTS Digital Surround Sound decoders. This eliminates the need for an external decoder, and lets you reap the full aural benefits of a DVD disc. There is also a high quality 96KHz/24Bit D/A Audio Converter for sound enhancement (so it says, but I haven’t a clue) Auto NTSC & PAL disc conversion The unit can play back both types of disc, and will automatically convert the signal to match the output of your TV. If your TV is not the latest in design, it doesn’t matter, nor will you even know that a conversion has taken place. Gold Scart connections For optimum picture quality. Ordinary co-ax and S-video connectors are also fitted, but the scart is the favoured method. The scart lead is also provided in the box – Free! Up to 30 speed rewind / fast forward. Enabling (very) fast selection of your favourite chapters. Slow motion The slow-mo has three settings, ranging from half speed down to an eighth, with no loss in quality. Zoom The player has a 2x and 4x zoom setting. On 2x, the picture still remains as sharp as anything, but 4x does present you with a blocky image. Additional Features Where do I start? To keep it brief, the player supports Multi Angle Playback, where it is provided on the disc, enabling you to choose your own picture angle. There is a Bookmark facility, to mark your favourite point of the disc. Up to 5 slots are provided for this. I have to say though, that as yet I don’t think I’ve mastered this bit, as I lose the ma
rk when I turn off. There is a random playback and repeated playback function, which is ideal for music CD’s. There is also an in-built Equalizer, enabling you to choose different or personal sound settings. Full on screen display, either for menu or playback functions. Saving the best to last, it will also play MP3’s. Yes, that’s right, MP3. All the music that you may have obtained in MP3 format can be burnt onto a single disc and played through the M5. Performance The set up procedure couldn’t be much simpler, with the accompanying manual talking you through the two or three stages needed. The on screen menu is nice and clear and easy to follow. If you have connected via the scart, turning the unit on immediately transfers you to the AV channel on your TV. I have to say I’m very impressed, with the output from my Sony Widescreen second to none. There is no blurring anywhere, and the picture quality remains sharp throughout. The player takes only a couple of seconds to recognise the disc and present the opening shot. Unlike some players that I have seen, there isn’t any noise at all during playback, even when on a 30x fast forward. Response to the remote control is instant, with no delay either in returning to the menu or accessing any function. As regards sound quality, this remains sharp and crystal clear, whether the volume is set really low or eardrum bustingly high. This is from my normal TV speakers, which do offer a “Virtual Dolby” setting, and must be amazing with a full set up. When playing any kind of audio, you are obviously dependent on your speaker set up. Having said that, I have no complaints at all on the playback quality either from commercial or home made CD’s. Whilst the CD is playing, you also have a Wharfedale background to look at, and after a couple of minutes, a screensaver! It’s only a little basic thing, with the DVD logo bouncing around the
screen, changing colour as it hits the sides. I know it’s nothing, but it beats the Hell out of a black TV screen! Buy It! NOW!! It goes with out saying that I would recommend this player to anyone. For the price of £179.99 it is an absolute bargain. Consider the features against any other player, and you’re looking to at least double the price. Still not sure? Well how about this – until the end of July 2001, Tesco are selling this VAT free at £153!!! This is the only problem that you may have. The player is only available at selected Tesco stores. These are the larger stores which I think go under the name of Extra. I am lucky in that I pass one just off the M42 on a regular basis, and I have seen their stocks go from 20 odd, when I bought mine, down to four in the last few days. Hurry! Put your coat on now – most of them are open 24 hours!!