After perusing the myriad new Blu-ray players at last year’s IFA in Berlin, this deck from Philips was one of the few to leave a lasting impression. Not so much because of its feature list (which looks pretty impressive) but more because of its strikingly unusual appearance, which could set a new aesthetic benchmark for the budget-to-midrange market. And after finally getting our hands on a sample, it looks every bit as delectable as it did back then.
Although it doesn’t stray too far from the conventional set-top box shape, the BDP7500 still looks unlike anything we’ve seen before. The use of a slightly sloping mirrored fascia, gorgeous glinting silver highlights and a raised ‘lip’ at the bottom edge give it real star quality, but there’s more – a strategically-placed blue light below the lip adds extra hi-tech allure, and the icing on the cake is the row of illuminated touch-sensitive controls built into the mirrored front panel.
Not only is it pretty, but the BDP7500 also boasts the sort of build quality you expect to find on a high-end player. The casing is crafted from rigid, vibration resistant aluminium and it feels a lot more robust that most players at this price point. And our fascination with its looks isn’t as superficial as you might think – with so many budget players now offering similar levels of performance and the same features, looks could be a deciding factor for many buyers.
But enough drooling for now; let’s get on with the more mundane business of sockets. On that front the Philips won’t leave you wanting, with a selection that includes HDMI, component and composite video outputs, as well as a full house of audio outputs – optical/coaxial digital audio, analogue stereo and a set of 7.1-channel analogue outputs. The latter is useful for channelling hi-res audio to an AV receiver without any HDMI inputs. As mandated by the Profile 2.0 spec to which this deck adheres, there’s an Ethernet port on the back for all your BD Live downloading needs.
On the subject of BD Live, Philips hasn’t built Wi-Fi access into this player as LG has with the BD390. The wired connection is your only way of hooking the BDP7500 up to the web, which isn’t the end of the world but we still can’t see that many people bothering with BD Live unless their player can connect to the web wirelessly.