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There was a time when 1080p upscaling was only found on expensive high-end DVD players, but now it's as common as progressive scan or MP3 playback. Upscaling players are getting cheaper all the time, which is great news considering the growing number of Full HD flat-panel TV sets on the market, as it means you can prolong the life of your DVD collection without having to pay through the nose.
The DVP3980/05 is a perfect example of how ubiquitous the feature has become. The player, which sits between the DVP5980 and DVP3120/05 in the company's range, costs around £50 but can upscale DVDs to 720p, 1080i and 1080p and offers a decent range of other features that could make it a real bargain if performance is up to scratch.
After pulling the player out of the box, the most striking aspect is just how light and compact it is. The case measures just 36cm wide and 3.7cm high, which means it'll slip into your AV cabinet virtually unnoticed, and makes it a prime candidate for kitchen or bedroom use. Despite not having much to work with, Philips has fashioned an attractive unit with an all black finish and minimal fascia that includes just four buttons, plus a basic four-digit display panel. One notable absentee from the front panel is a USB port, which limits its multimedia potential to CDs and DVDs, but if you want this connection it can be found on the step-up DVP5980.
As for rear connections, flat-panel TV owners should head straight for the HDMI output, which delivers upscaled pictures and can also be used to pass Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams to an AV receiver. The socket also supports Easy Link, Philips' HDMI CEC application that lets you control the player using the remote from a compatible Philips TV or other HDMI-equipped device.
For those unable to use HDMI, the deck provides analogue alternatives in the shape of component video output and an RGB-capable SCART. On the audio side, there's a coaxial digital audio output and stereo audio output.