Otherwise the HD-EP35 offers 1080/24p video output and a LAN Internet connection, which allows you to download new content and firmware updates. Other connections include component video output and 5.1-channel analogue audio outputs (not found on the EP30), which will come in handy if you want to listen to HD audio soundtracks but your AV amplifier lacks HDMI input. Rounding up the socketry roster are composite video output, plus optical digital and analogue stereo audio outputs.
Those of you with large DVD collections can rest assured that the HD-EP35 will play them, and will also upscale them to 720p, 1080i or 1080p. However, the unit won’t play MP3, WMA or DivX so it might be worth hanging onto that DVD deck.
If you’ve got more than one HDMI-equipped component in your system then the inclusion of CEC control (dubbed Regza Link) will enable you to control all of them with one remote – we tried it out with the Toshiba 46XF355D TV and it works very well.
In fact, the whole deck works extremely well. The main setup menu is a treat to navigate thanks to its use of jazzy fonts and snazzy colours, while other onscreen displays (including the slick pop-up menus) are responsive and easy to follow. The remote eases operation even further with good button placement, though it’s not exactly exciting to look at.
Our only operational criticism is that the deck takes ages to load as per usual and there’s no quick start mode as found on Sharp’s Blu-ray deck.