One of the biggest barriers to Blu-ray take up is the wallet-busting cost of players which in many cases can come in 10-12 times higher than a DVD player.
Over the past few weeks we’ve been having a play with the Philips BDP3000/05 which is currently retailing from around £97, a big reduction on the £170 many stores were asking for the same player just a couple of months ago. If you’ve been considering buying a Blu-ray player this is probably the ideal time to grab yourself one of these units.
The player looks and feels well-built, boasting a black, curved cornered casing with an easy to read display. If you’re one of those people who really care about the aesthetics of your TV equipment you can relax – there’s nothing about the player’s appearance that says ‘budget purchase’ and it’ll look great next to or under your HD Television.
The picture quality is excellent both on Blu-ray and upscaled DVDs (which it upscales to 1080p resolution) and is comparable to some higher-priced units we’ve used and colours are vibrant and consistent. Sound-wise the player supports Dolby True HD, DTS 2.0 + Digital out, DTS and Dolby Digital.
Connectivity-wise the rear of the player offers HDMI, component and composite video, analogue stereo phono, coaxial digital output, Ethernet and USB ports. The last two of these allow access to interactive BD-Live content however the low-cost of the unit is revealed in the need for the USB port as it’s needed only because the player lacks any system storage. This means the the user must to insert a memory stick with at least 1GB of space in order to access the BD-Live content. Whether this is an issue depends on whether you’re likely to access the web-based content but with memory sticks costing just a few quid it’s probably not enough to justify spending much more on a player with built-in memory.
The Ethernet connection also allows updating of the player’s firmware. If this sounds scary to you don’t worry. The player will check on request and if an update is available will ask if you wish to proceed. Once it’s downloaded the update the player will display a ‘completed’ message and then power off. Once the machine is restarted the player will be operating with the updated firmware.
The remote is simple with clearly and logically laid out buttons and we were quickly able to control the player without looking down. If you have a EasyLink compatible TV the controller will also operate that for you.
The player is quick and responsive, remote control button presses are immediately actioned and there’s no annoying lag when the pause and play buttons are pressed. Both disc and system menus are equally snappy and the whole device feels pretty snappy. From disc insertion to playback takes around 30 seconds, again comparable with many other Blu-ray players.
All round this is a great player if you’re looking to take your first step into the world of Blu-ray, looking for an additional player for a second TV or are just looking at replacing an DVD player the Philips BDP3000/05 is an ideal option.
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