Review Price £499.95
The UD7006’s main ‘feature’ is its universal status, which allows you to spin any type of disc including Blu-ray (2D and 3D), DVD, CD, DVD-Audio and SACD. And from USB sticks you can additionally play MP3, WMA, AAC, LPCM, JPEG, JPEG, DivX HD, MKV, WMV and AVI.
Thankfully you don’t need a memory device or discs to enjoy your content as this DLNA 1.5 and uPnP-certified deck can stream files over your home network. Compatible files include MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, H.264, AVCHD and WMV.
This is joined by YouTube access, which lets you stream the site’s vast range of videos through a dedicated portal in the Home menu. Sure, it’s no match for Smart Hub or Viera Connect, but its presence is an unexpected bonus on a high-end player from a brand that usually prioritises performance over tricks.
Where the UD7006 steals a march on cheaper players is the choice of electronics. There’s an Anchor Bay ABT2015 chip for 10-bit video processing, ELNA capacitors in the output stage and high-grade audio components. What’s more, the Direct Mechanical Ground Construction transmits vibration from the centrally placed disc mechanism through the base, while separated audio and video circuit blocks minimise interference between them.
Another thing that marks this out as a deck for cinephiles is the array of picture adjustments, allowing you to fine tune images to suit your screen. Simply hit the dedicated button on the remote and the menu offers a choice of noise reduction settings (3D, block and mosquito) and a detailed list of adjustable settings including contrast, brightness, black level and gamma. Settings can be stored in five memory presets.
Of course the UD7006 also does the bread and butter Blu-ray stuff like playing discs at 1080/24p, decoding HD audio tracks or outputting them as raw bitstreams and upscaling DVDs to 1080p.
Using the deck is a piece of cake. The Home menu is your first port of call, offering clearly marked icons for Setup, Media Player and YouTube. The setup menu and folder-based media playback menus are helpfully structured and overall presentation is attractive, with bright colours giving it a welcoming feel.
However, there were no signs of life from the DLNA or YouTube functions at first. After carrying out a firmware update that, at times, felt like pulling teeth, YouTube appeared and proved easy to use, with a stripped down ‘banner’ interface that allows you to search for content or browse recommended videos by genres. It’s effective but a little slow to navigate.
We have no major complaints about the remote though, which sports an attractive silver/brushed black colour scheme and well-organised, glow-in-the-dark buttons. Some of these are a little small for their own good and it’s a bit cluttered at the bottom but on the whole it’s a decent effort. You can also use it to control a Marantz amp.