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Samsung DVD-F1080 DVD Player - Samsung DVD-F1080
For such an affordable and unassuming player, the DVD-F1080 produces very pleasing pictures that look great on a big or small screen. When playing The Fellowship of the Ring from the component video output for instance, the warmth and purity of the deck's colour reproduction is the first thing that jumps out, making the glorious greens and browns of the Shire look realistic and absorbing. It's also good to see very little banding and block noise within large areas of colour.
The DVD-F1080 musters some surprisingly deep and punchy blacks, which makes movies appear forceful and filmic and helps eke out the kind of fine detail that can really bring a DVD picture to life. And when using the HDMI output with the upscaling set to 1080p, its ability to draw out this movie's minutiae gets even better, making everything from Gandalf and Saruman's weathered faces to the beautifully rendered CG shots of Rivendell look pin-sharp and focused.
It's not perfect however - some darker scenes, such as the shots of Gandalf on top of the tower at Eisengard, reveal some wispy, pulsing noise in the surrounding skies, plus the deck also judders slightly and loses focus during camera pans.
When listening to downmixed Dolby Digital soundtracks through the stereo audio outputs, the sound on offer is clear and dynamic, allowing the important parts of the audio such as speech and music to be heard without having to crank up the volume to ridiculous levels. But the best sound quality is achieved by channelling the digital audio output through a suitable sound system, offering up a sensational surround soundstage.
The budget price and lack of videophile features means that Samsung's DVD-F1080 isn't designed to be the centrepiece for a serious home cinema system - it's simply a fun, stylish upscaling deck that'll look great in the living room or bedroom. Its impressive picture quality is an added bonus and partially makes up for the sluggish operating system and lack of USB port. Overall a great value player.
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