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on April 24, 2005
I'd give it zero stars, if I could. Stay well away. It's a flawed design. The tray itself was skimped on -- it's got about half the lip of a normal DVD tray, the tolerances are all bad -- it's the single worst piece of consumer equipment I've ever seen.

I had to jiggle the tray to get a test DVD in it, then turn it over and physically shake it to get the DVD out.

I have been pleased with Toshiba players in the past, so the lack of quality in this one completely blindsided me.
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on June 27, 2005
Toshiba's SD-3980 is surprisingly slim and compact...probably TOO slim and compact for its own good. I'm not sure what the advantage is to having a DVD player this small, unless maybe you want to put it on top of a small TV or something. The disc tray is also uncomfortably slim (and flimsy), so you must exercise extreme caution when inserting and removing discs. Size aside, the real problem I have with my SD-3980 is its tendency to freeze and/or pixelate once or twice during almost every movie I play on it. Just like my old Toshiba SD-2300, the 3980 occasionally likes to pause itself for a few seconds before resuming normal playback. It also likes to break the picture up into little square bits for a second or two every once in a while (just like my old SD-2300). These incidents happen completely at random and for no apparent reason. The SD-3980 also seems to have trouble returning to a DVD's menu after play is started. If you're watching a disc and you stop it and press MENU, nothing happens. You need to eject the disc and sit through those annoying FBI warnings all over again just to get back to the main menu. These problems are not so terrible or so frequent that they render the player unusable; but they are bothersome as they keep you constantly checking your discs wondering, "Is this DVD scratched or is it just my Toshiba acting up again?" Furthermore, the 3980's display window shows only the current chapter number, not the elapsed time; and you can't capture a screenshot to use as a wallpaper/background image like you could with the SD-2300. On the plus side, this player is silver and silver is GROOVY.

UPDATE: This thing DIED for no reason less than 1 year after purchase. My 7-year-old Toshiba SD2109 is still going strong. Go figure.
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on May 2, 2005
I bought SD-3960 and it died within 3 months' warranty period. Called Toshiba and they replaced it with a SD-3980. It has a very shallow tray comparing to other DVD players, which doesn't bother me too much. However, it keep frozen during the DVD play back. I have to unplug the power to reset the software according to Toshiba's technical support.

I bought sony and APEX DVD players from amazon before and they are always trouble free.
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on November 26, 2005
Note: See updates.
I'm not quite sure why so many people are bashing Toshiba DVD players. I was reluctant to get one because of this. But then I heard that they have unusually good sound quality. And a big boxer had them on sale dirt cheap. Also, they have WMA play capability. So decided to give it a try I did.
I don't see anything wrong with it. The remote is well organized and seems loaded with features, including some I don't have on my other DVD players. I hooked it up with SVHS and am getting a very clear picture, including in zoom mode. And finally I am getting a DTS signal to my amp, unlike another brand that claimed to have DTS.
The sound quality on CDs and DVDs through the analog out is excellent, as is the digital out through the coax cable (no optical - so what). In fact, on one particularly challenging recording, Respighi's Church Windows, I found the Toshiba's analog out seems significantly better - clearer, smoother and more detailed - than the digital out to my Marantz receiver. We are talking exceptionally good sound here (although I am not sure which is more accurate). I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that it be hooked up to a hifi to play music CDs.
WMA playback is good, but some people might be disappointed; it is hard to tell what is accurate frequency response with WMA; some portables seem to artificially reconstruct the high frequencies. With classical WMAs the sound is clean and accurate, with loads of bass. But compared to the excellent CD sound section, the limitations of compressed music files are obvious. However, I find the sound more naturl with the digital signal processed through the Marantz DAC. Needless to say, you will need the tv display to navigate the WMAs. But the setup is great for non-stop background music.
I have had no problems with it freezing on any discs, including DVD-R, DVD+R and DVD+RW, and music CDs. I tried a CDR with a skipping problem on most of my players due to a bad burn and it played fine, except for two brief silent skips, but no freezing or pausing.
A plus is that it has all the basic controls on the player.
A minus is that the display is minimal.
A minus is that there is no resume.
A plus is that it seems you can get out of the copyright warning early with the skip button.
As to the fast forward, it can scan up to 100x. And it can do several steps of slow scan - 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 - with very clean motion.
It gives you the option of a wide variety of information on screen, including the bit rate, a feature I haven't seen since Sony's first DVD player. And you can customize the picture settings for output.
I tried using the remote pointing away from the unit and it worked, pointed 90 degrees away to a wall, 90 degrees to a window, and even 180 degrees to a wall! All I did was put in some fresh, but cheap non-alkaline, batteries. What's the problem?
I found that it plays MPEGs, but not reliably; perhaps it depends on the bitrate or something. But then it doesn't claim to play them at all.
The player is small, but it does not seem to be heating up significantly. I use the button to load the DVD, rather than pushing the tray. I also make sure it is on a level surface, and not on top of a heat source, like a television.
Of course, the test will be with time. I left it running on repeat for 48 hours with various media, no problem. But will it keep working?
I can't help wonder whether this issue has been overblown, as so many of the other criticisms don't hold up. I will let you know if it dies.
Dec. 11 -- it's still working....
Dec. 16 -- it stopped working. Won't read CDRs or CDs. A shame.
Dec. 17 -- it's working again.
Dec. 18 -- not working today.
Dec. 20 -- definitely not working.
Dec. 23 -- not reading CDs of DVDs. I think it may be kaput.
Dec. 31 -- going back in box for long goodbye.
I can't help wondering if these Toshiba DVD players are made in the same factory as the Apex players that had a history of dying after a couple of months.
I cannot understand why a company would put out a product that is otherwise excellent that they know is likely to die prematurely. Don't they know that this is going to do to their future sales. I have already crossed several brands off my list because although the specs look great are actually defective junk. Rio / iRiver is one such outfit, and I see that Rio has folded. This is why: bad reputation. I love my Toshiba laptop, but the Toshiba DVD division is a different animal.
ps, right before I boxed the player for its return I plugged it in. It worked, as if pleading for its life and second chance. I didn't fall for it. But I can just see some rushed person at the store's repairs dept saying that it works and putting it out for sale as open box. Some poor sucker then buys it, brings it home, and it works for one or two days, at most.
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on March 7, 2006
By now, I guess that you already read a several reviews about this product and learned that once you buy this product it's doomed to show that 'bAd' message as a final breath of death.

It happened to me too after ~4 months.

So do the math and just don't buy it.

BUT, for all of you who experienced exactly what I have and only after it died on you, you decided to check in Amazon, there's still hope!

I called Toshiba's customer service and they were very nice (really). After a short explanation of the problem, which of course they were aware of, they asked me to ship them the product with some details and a photo copy of my receipt and said that I'll get a new 2006 model instead within 7-10 days.

Although the 90 days of warranty have passed, that's exactly what happened.

I got today the SD-3990 DVD player - kind of the next incarnation of the bAd-old SD-3980.

Well, so far it works...for how long? who knows?

So even if your warranty is out of date, I think it's worth the ~$15 of shipment to get a new DVD.

Try it...
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on September 17, 2005
I'm a loyal Toshiba fan, having purchased several Toshiba televisions that have worked flawless for years. I bought this as a companion to my bedroom set. Tested out a brand new unit with my favorite movie, and it played only 30 second and froze, permanently. Tried to get other disks to play, but would only say "loading", only to eventually say "wrong disk". Absolutely worthless...
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on January 12, 2006
I bought it on thanksgiving sale and it is already dead. Was trying to play a DVD, made some idiotic noise and collapsed.

No matter what DVD u put in, it says its BAD. I wish i had the could meet the manufacturers of this DVD player, would have hit the samething on there head !!
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on January 4, 2006
All the reviews are correct. It's junk.

That's the last time I buy anything without reading the Amazon reviews first.
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on September 22, 2005
I bought a Toshiba DVD player a couple years ago and it's been working out great so I bought this new, slim, and inexpensive player figuring I'ld have the same luck. Playback is nice when it works but I keep having problems with the player not responding to the remote control. The new remote and the old one work with the older player but don't work with this new player. Well, some times it decides to work but mostly it doesn't. Maybe it will work with a Universal remote but this has been a headache for us lately and disappointing compared to the solid older Toshiba player.
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on November 24, 2005
I bought it two months ago. It is completly dead now. I can't load any DVD at all. I watch just a few movies a week. I donno how could this happen to a brand new item.
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