Top positive review
145 people found this helpful
budget blu ray player
on December 3, 2011
First off I'll state I bought this player for use as a second unit for my bedroom hooked directly to my 23" Samsung HDTV so I wasn't expecting much. This is is a budget blu ray player and one of the cheapest I've seen out there at this low price point. Therefore, I wasn't expecting a lot of frills as I expected Toshiba would cut back on features. However, the picture quality is HD 1080p on an HDTV as expected from any blu ray player.
To give this unit a shakeout, I plugged it into my primary home theatre system which consists of a Pioneer 7.1 AV receiver (Elite vsx-94thx), high end Klipch speakers, and a Philips 52" HDTV. I also use an ethernet cable for Internet access so wireless is of no interest to me.
Pro: As mentioned, the video quality is as expected 1080p HD quality. It is adjustable to 1080i or 720p (or lower) if neccessary to match your monitor.
The Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA lossless audio tracks sound just as good as my high end Sony Blu Ray player. For some reason my AV receiver decoders could not recognize the bitstream (no sound) when the player audio is set for "Bitstream HD". Not sure if this is a fault of the player or my AV receiver. I just set the audio in the player to PCM 7.1 and use the player surround decoders and all is good, which is my preference anyway.
I don't use subscription services like Netflix or Blockbuster but these are nice apps to have for anyone who uses them. This was first time I streamed Pandora internet radio and I was suprised at the quality of the audio - very good!
Con: This player vibrates and can rattle with some audible noise when loading a disc. This part worries me as I tend to suspect units with significant vibration can break over time. This is my biggest complaint!
The manual could be better written! For a player this cheap I didn't expect a thick tome but some of the explanations could have been better and are somewhat missleading. For example, it gives a full diagram of how to connect to an AV receiver using a digital coaxial cable as if this is the preferred way instead of an HDMI cable. The lossless HD audio (Dolby TrueHD / DTS HD) do not work over a digital coaxial hookup so this should have been documented as a secondary option for this unit with emphasis on HDMI.
Video connectivity is limited to HDMI only. I realize Toshiba is cutting back on features to cut price but at the very least they should have included RCA composite jacks as a connectivity option. I wonder how many people bought this unit and found out later they could not connnect to TV's that don't have HDMI inputs. Not everyone has HDTV yet, still purchases DVD, and standalone DVD players are getting harder to find now. The manual talks about setting the video resolution to 480i if you have an SD TV (yes, blu ray players can work on standard definition TV) but a bit hard to do this without composite cables and that is all that will work for you.
Conclusion: A good buy for a budget Blu Ray player if basic features are all you need, as long as it is understood this is an HDMI centric player with limited connectivity and with no built in wireless internet access "out of the box" (separate adapter required and NOT cheap!). Throw in the extra streaming apps and it seems like a good deal.
My negatives are primarly on the units internal noise and vibrations. Perhaps this is because this player is so small in size! I'll follow up in 6 months if this has any negative impact on this player as far as breakage.
Update May 05/08/2012: Well, 6 months has gone by and this player is still working just fine. No complaints other than the "bang, whirrr, bang.." noise I still hear when a blu ray disc is loading. Once loaded and playing, the player does quiet down. Loading regular DVD discs doesn't produce such a noise when loading.
I am upgrading my review stars for this device from 3 stars to 4 for several reasons. For one, this blu Ray player has not broken down on me even after extensive use. Secondly, I care about the audio (I have since hooked this unit up permenently to an AV receiver for surround sound)and this player has the DTS HD Master Audio decoder built into it! Many manufacturers that sell low end blu ray players are eliminating the DTS HD internal decoders leaving just the Dolby TrueHD. Most blu ray discs I have bought, and I have over 300+ now, are encoded with DTS HD Master Audio, not Dolby TrueHD! This player has the DTS HD Master Audio decoder. My AV receiver cannot decode the DTS HD master audio when the player is set to bitstream. Therefore, to obtain the absolute best audio, I set this player to decode the DTS HD audio tracks found on most blu ray discs and stream it to my AV receiver via 5 or 7 channel PCM over HDMI, and it rocks!
I was critical about the lack of connections in the back. Though I still feel Toshiba should have included composite jacks in the back, I understand why they did not include component jacks. Blame the AACS organization (google it for more info)and its consortium (of which Toshiba is member) for enforcing what is called the analog sunset rule. All new blu ray players sold today, not just Toshiba, must limit the video output from component cables to Standard Definition 480i (not even progressive scan!). Therefore, the only way to obtain High Defintion video 720p and higher is through the HDMI with its copy protection scheme HDCP. Oh well...
Finally, like I mentioned in my original review, my Internet connection preference is ethernet cable. I did not and will not ding this player for not having Wi Fi built in. I knew it didn't have built in wireless capability out of the box when I bought it and didn't want it anyway! I'm fortunate to have a solid ethernet connection to my router, which should be preferred over wireless anyway. To those out there that expect or need a Wi Fi enabled Blu ray player that will work "out of the box" without an external adapter, then do not buy this player and look elsewhere.