More evidence of cost-cutting is found in the list of supported audio formats. The BDP3000 can decode 7.1-channel Dolby TrueHD soundtracks and output them as PCM from the HDMI output, but it can’t do the same with DTS HD Master Audio. But all is not lost because you can still transfer the raw DTS HD MA bitstream to your receiver.
If you’re upgrading to Blu-ray from a DVD player, don’t sling out your standard-def collection just yet – the BDP3000 upscales DVDs to 720p, 1080i or 1080p, which theoretically makes movies look sharper on an HD TV.
While the BDP3000 might not boast the same meticulous picture adjustments as the Pioneer BDP-LX52, there is a range of presets (Vivid, Cool, Action and Animation) plus an enhanced black level setting.
We were enamoured by the BDP7300’s user interface and we’re glad to see that Philips has used the same design on this cheaper model. Power it up and you’re greeted by the Home menu; a bright, colourful screen that makes things nice and simple by limiting your options to ‘Play Disc’ or ‘Settings’.
Hit Settings and the subsequent menu is superb – large text fills the screen, eye-catching icons signpost the options and the cursor zips around quickly. And when playing back a disc, large white playback icons pop up then fade away, which is a nice touch.
Controlling the Philips with the supplied remote couldn’t be easier thanks to its carefully arranged buttons. The controls are instinctive, particularly the menu and playback controls which are helpfully grouped next to each other.
As per usual we loaded up our trusty ”Spider-Man 3” Blu-ray disc to test the deck’s loading speed and we were pleased to see it clock in at 33 seconds, pretty much the same as the BDP7300.
Next in the tray was the Silicon Optix HQV disc, and the BDP3000 isn’t phased by any of its tricky torture tests. The Video Resolution Loss pattern has absolutely no strobing to speak of and the bar rotates smoothly.
Next up are the Jaggies tests and the deck’s performance is stunning – the rotating bars boast edges so sharp you could almost cut your finger on them, and they spin with effortless fluidity. Finally the Film Resolution stadium shot is ably handled, some moiré noise in the upper tier of seats being the only weakness.