Philips DVP5980 DVD Player - Philips DVP5980

Score

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Installing the player is a quick process thanks to the logically laid out setup menu that looks attractive and uses large legible text. Unlike some of Philips digital recorders there’s very little delay after pressing a button, giving the deck a pleasing slickness. Furthermore, the remote is very well designed, with a comfortable shape, clever button arrangement and fetching white styling – though the double-duty chapter skip/search keys are as annoying as ever.

It may not be packed with the sort of high-end electronics that you’d find inside a Denon, Arcam or OPPO, but the picture quality on offer from the HDMI output is still highly impressive. To start with we gave it a tricky test in the form of ”Pan’s Labyrinth” and the Philips copes admirably with the film’s gloomy underground sets and the intricate detail of Del Toro’s sinister-looking characters.


The 1080p upscaling is impressive, giving the picture a natural sharpness boost on a Full HD TV without introducing any unwanted artefacts like jagged edges or pixel noise. This in turn results in clean and, most importantly, cinematic looking pictures that look good on a large or small screen.


Colour reproduction is also impressive, although ”Pan’s Labyrinth” doesn’t give it a particularly dazzling palette to play with. What it does do, however, is show off the deck’s skill and subtlety when it comes to displaying restrained, nuanced hues like Capitán Vidal’s olive tinged skin or the greens and browns of the woods that surround his remote outpost. The lack of MPEG block noise also brings a smile to our face, as does the wide contrast range, which delivers deep blacks and crisp, bright whites.


We’re not just impressed by MPEG-2 video either; it’s also a dab hand with DivX files, which look detailed and fluid (though it does depend on the encoding quality), while HD JPEG playback is a real revelation, making hi-res photos look admirably sharp without the usual jagged edges and blurred detail that occurs when they’re downconverted.


The deck also plays a mean tune. Its 192kHz/24-bit audio DAC makes it no slouch in the audio department, and as a result CD playback from the stereo audio outputs is detailed and distortion-free, provided you play it through a half-decent system, and when channelled via the coaxial audio output, Dolby Digital and DTS movie soundtracks are enthralling.


”’Verdict”’


Overall the DVP5980 is a great all-rounder that boasts solid 1080p picture quality and a healthy range of features for a reasonable price – but as a bonus it’s also beautifully designed and equipped to handle your growing collection of digital media files.

Score in detail

  • Performance 8
  • Features 8
  • Value 9
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