Toshiba SD-480E DVD Player - Toshiba SD-480E

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Like any DVD player worth its salt the SD-480E supports a variety of audio and video formats, including DivX, MP3 and JPEG. For DivX playback, it supports all versions up to 6 as well as video-on-demand using the registration code in the setup menu, but you can only play files from CD-R/-RW. The lack of WMA or WMV support is a shame but not the end of the world. It also spins every recordable DVD format except DVD-RAM.

The rest of the feature list is hardly revolutionary but includes all the stuff you’d expect. You can search through DVDs at up to 100x normal speed, play them frame by frame or in slow motion, or play chapters, titles or tracks at random or in a specific order. There’s also a three-stage zoom mode for getting up close and personal with movie minutiae, and you can rotate or magnify JPEGs.

The deck lacks the extensive image and sound tweaks found on your average Pioneer or Denon, but the Enhanced Picture Mode (EPM) affords more versatility than you might expect. Hit the dedicated button on the remote and up pops a box that enables you to change the levels of brightness and contrast in the picture, but unlike many similarly-priced players that offer only a few steps, the levels can be set anywhere between 1 and 32. We achieved some impressive results after a quick fiddle with these settings. EPM is joined by EAM (yes you’ve guessed it – Enhanced Audio Mode) which adds a virtual surround effect when listening through two speakers. It works with audio from the analogue outputs or PCM from the coaxial port.

We can’t fault the deck from an ease of use perspective, as it’s quick to respond to any command and the menu structure is straightforward. Onscreen displays use an attractive blue colour scheme and are consistently legible, plus the disc status display includes a bitrate count to keep video geeks happy. The remote won’t win any prizes for its looks but proves useable enough, with good button placement and labelling.

Hamish Campbell

August 28, 2008, 12:10 pm

Anyone ever seen a comparison between DVD upscaling from a player, and just using the upscaling in the TV? Is there really a difference between a upscaling dvd player (which are pretty cheap) and a good HD tv (costs a fortune). I would have guessed they just utilise the same scaling engines (with price point differences of tech generations etc).

Ed

August 28, 2008, 12:42 pm

I can't say it's something I've seen but I do know what you mean. It seems logical that the result would be the same. As you say, though, the upscaling tech in TVs seems to demand quite a price premium so I'd be more inclined to go for a cheap upscaling player like this. That said, if I could afford it, a decent TV will ensure all you sources look good and generally give you better audio as well.

Rsaeire

August 28, 2008, 2:20 pm

Whereas upscaling DVD players', such as the Toshiba SD-480E, main purpose is upscaling, a TV has to handle a lot more than just upscaling content. This is evidenced by lacklustre cadence detection when 3:2 and 2:2 pulldown is not successfully detected and deinterlacing is non-existent resulting in visual errors such as jagged edges appearing in content.





If you wish to have lower resolution content upscaled then you would be best to invest in a decent upscaling DVD player or an expensive HDTV and not rely on the substandard processing of a lot of the HDTVs currently available.

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