There was a time when the idea of a Blu-ray player bearing the Toshiba badge seemed as far fetched as Steven Gerrard signing for Everton, due to the company’s die-hard dedication to its HD DVD format – which, in case you’ve been living on Saturn for the past five years, was the loser in the hi-def format war.
But things change, as they say, and here we are looking at the first results of Toshiba’s decision to turn over to the Blu side earlier this year, a grudging yet inevitable move given the format’s growing momentum.
The BDX2000 is a BD Live-enabled deck, which is light on the sort of frills we’ve enjoyed on the LG BD390 and OPPO BDP-831 but offers all the essentials for an eye-catching price, and provided there are no picture slip-ups this could be a decent Blu-ray baptism for the much-loved Japanese brand.
In the Blu-ray beauty pageant, the BDX2000 might not bag the tiara but certainly merits a sash and a bunch of flowers. It lacks the full-on wow factor of your Samsungs and Pioneers, but still possesses a glitzy charm that will look great underneath any TV. Toshiba has concealed all the clutter behind a beautiful ‘smoked mirrored’ drop-down front panel, which gently slopes forward to create a nice angular effect.
Behind it you’ll find four playback buttons, an LED display panel that’s a million times more useful than the one found on Toshiba’s DVD players, and an SD card slot. We hoped the latter was included purely for media playback purposes but sadly not – it’s also there to provide the required 1GB of memory for BD Live storage, which isn’t built-in.
Rear-panel connectivity doesn’t go beyond the basics – for video you get HDMI, component and composite outputs, and for audio you get analogue stereo and optical/coaxial digital outputs. But if you want to be transported to the hi-res promised land offered by Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, you’ll need an AV receiver equipped with HDMI inputs, as there are no multichannel analogue outs. The deck will kindly convert these formats to PCM if you wish (which is necessary when playing back BonusView picture-in-picture material) or if you do have an amp with HDMI v1.3 sockets and the relevant decoding, you can simply output the raw bitstream.
Next up is an Ethernet port, which is vital if you want to download or stream BD Live content, but this is an inconvenient and clumsy method of connecting to the web. LG’s BD390 leads the way in terms of Internet connectivity with its built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi module, and sadly the Toshiba feels archaic in comparison.
The same can be said about the BDX2000’s media format support. It’ll play MP3, WMA, JPEG and AVCHD from SD cards (8MB – 2GB), SDHC cards (up to 8GB) or disc, but that pales in comparison to the exhaustive list offered by the LG. It won’t support DivX HD, MKV or AAC, which might not be of great importance to you but it does illustrate how some players are willing to go the extra mile to earn your hard-earned cash.