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When shelling out £70 on a Blu-ray player, you really shouldn’t expect a cavalcade of cutting-edge features, and the BDX1100 is confirmation of that. For example, there’s no DLNA networking (just like Toshiba’s step-up BDX2100 and 3D-capable BDX3100), which leaves the SD card slot as the best way of playing back digital media.
There’s no access to any sort of Internet portal like Panasonic’s Viera Cast or Samsung’s new Smart Hub either, although encouragingly Toshiba recently unveiled a great-looking cloud-based Internet hub called Toshiba Places that could find its way onto the company’s players in the future.
As for media compatibility, the BDX1100 will play DivX, MP3 and JPEG files from SD card or disc, as well as AVCHD from disc. The player also handles SDHC cards, giving you more memory to play with. Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio can be passed to a receiver in bitstream form, but when converted to PCM the deck only outputs a stereo signal, which is of no use to those who don’t have HD audio decoding on their AV receiver.
Thankfully, the BDX110 is very easy to use. When you first boot it up an installation wizard guides you through all the key settings (such as aspect ratio, HDMI resolution etc), but if you need to make further tweaks an attractive, logical setup menu makes it an easy job. It’s a full-colour affair with bright, jazzy graphics, legible text and a level of responsiveness that lets you zip between options with ease.
What’s more, it houses one of the BDX1100’s most interesting features. We’re talking about a suite of picture adjustments, which come in two groups – first is the Video Processing menu, which offers a bunch of basic picture settings covering Brightness, Contrast, Hue and Saturation, alongside a separate option to change the Sharpness (High, Medium or Low).
The second group, called Motion Video Processing, features three picture presets – Standard, Vivid and Smooth. Whether or not we needed two separate menus is a moot point, but it does mean you have to use the tweaks wisely, as the changes made in one menu still apply when you tweak the other, and you could end up with horribly over-processed pictures if you’re not careful.
Even though the light, plasticky remote isn’t the most attractive or well-made zapper we’ve ever fondled, at least it makes the deck easy to control. Button placement is spot-on, and clear labelling makes it easy to find everything. One buttons is mysteriously labelled MC (anyone?) but other than that, operation is stress-free.
During playback you can also call up a handy little onscreen display (by pressing the OSC button) that shows you all the relevant information about the current disc, including audio format, video/audio bitrate and title/chapter info.
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