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After spending years in the Blu-ray wilderness, Philips has launched a full-scale assault on the market with a trio of feature-packed BD Live players. The new BDP9100 heads the range and we've already cast our verdict on the marvellous midrange BDP7300, but here we turn our attention to the baby of the bunch, the BDP3000.
Listed on Philips' online shop for £180 but considerably lower if you shop around, the BDP3000 comes with a budget price tag. Inevitably, some features have been sacrificed to reach it, but if this deck does the basics well we could have a bargain on our hands.
You certainly wouldn't guess it's a budget deck from its design, which has all the sophisticated allure of a much pricier player. The flat front panel is sparsely adorned with just four buttons and a large display window, plus the curved corners and glossy black finish are pure eye candy.
The only thing missing is the front USB port found on the BDP7300, the first casualty of the low price. However, build quality hasn't taken a hit - the strong metallic casing makes it feel a lot more substantial than expected.
Philips hasn't gone overboard on rear connections but provides the essentials. There's an HDMI output for piping hi-def video and audio to your TV and receiver, and like any good Blu-ray player it outputs 1080/24p as well as HD audio bitstreams.
You also get an Ethernet port for hooking up to the web and making BD Live downloads. Although we'd prefer a nice clean Wi-Fi connection instead of this cumbersome method, it's perhaps unreasonable to expect wireless connectivity at this price point. The built-in memory isn't big enough to store downloads either, so you'll have to keep a USB flash drive plugged into the port on the back.
Frustratingly, this USB port can't be used to play back digital media, so any MP3, WMA, DivX or JPEG files you want to play have to be burned onto DVD or CD first. Interestingly the deck can also play hi-def WMV files but with limited success - we got a gorgeous hi-def picture but no sound, and with certain files playback is very jerky.
The socket line-up is completed by component, composite, coaxial digital and analogue stereo outputs. Unsurprisingly there are no multichannel analogue outputs like the BDP7300, which will only be a problem if your receiver lacks HDMI inputs and you want to enjoy hi-res soundtracks.
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