The BDP7600 loads Terminator Salvation in 40 seconds flat, which is pretty much the standard these days but fast nonetheless. Inception loaded in around half the time, and once the film gets underway you get an immediate sense of how good the Philips’ picture quality is. The opening scenes inside the Japanese palace look as rich and opulent as the building itself, with luscious colours and pin-sharp detail covering every inch of the screen. The image is deep, cinematic and generally free from artefacts, although during the Paris scenes we did spot shimmering amid the vertical lines of the shop windows behind Ariadne.
During dark scenes, like the chemist’s basement in Mombasa, the BDP7600 never loses track of the objects and detail lurking in the shadows. The deck also keeps skin tones and pale colours looking natural, and blends colours without any banding. Motion is smooth and edges are rendered without any stepping or ghosting. This is an admirable 2D performance, which should keep hi-def movie lovers very happy indeed – particularly with a range of useful image adjustments on hand to enhance the pictures even further.
They’re found inside the setup menu or in the ‘quick’ menu during playback, which means you can tweak them as the film plays. They include a range of picture presets – Normal, Vivid, Enhanced, Dynamic and User. The User setting lets you adjust brightness, contrast saturation, artefact reduction, ACE (which we presume stands for Automatic Contrast Enhancement) and Detail Enhancement. These settings, particularly the last three, are very useful for fine-tuning the picture to taste. Detail Enhancement gets the image looking even sharper than usual and judicious use can be really beneficial, but set it too high and pictures start to look unnatural. As for 3D we really can’t fault the quality of the BDP7600’s pictures. The depth and separation of the various layers and objects is spot on, ensuring a clean, sharp and absorbing picture. The 3D Blu-ray versions of Avatar, Monsters Vs Aliens and the Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole all looked spectacular through the BDP7600 and our LG test TV and you can’t ask for much more than that.
Finally we checked the deck’s performance with the Silicon Optix disc and it aced most of the tests. The edges of the jaggies test’s moving bars look as clean as a whistle and the Video Resolution Loss test is stable as they come. Only the Film Resolution Loss test presented a problem – the quick strobing inside the vertically striped boxes reveals a minor flaw in its motion processing.
The BDP7600 deserves a place on your shortlist for several reasons – its elegant design, satisfying build quality, dazzling 2D and 3D pictures, busy feature list and simple operating system. Feature highlights include built-in Wi-Fi, Net TV, the longevity of which is boosted by full internet browsing, and media streaming from PCs, while the wide format support, detailed picture tweaks and smartphone control are also welcome. Overall we’d probably still choose the DMP-BDT310 or BDT210 by virtue of their slightly better picture quality, extra 3D features and slicker menu system, but anyone who goes for the cheaper Philips won’t be disappointed.