The BDX2100 is the second Blu-ray player launched by Toshiba since the well-publicised demise of HD DVD. It’s the successor to the BDX2000, a decent budget deck that we reviewed towards the end of last year and continues in the range. The BDX2100 is actually a stripped down version of its predecessor, reflected by a cheaper launch price that dips down to under £100 online – the sort of outlay that might make procrastinating buyers finally bite the Blu-ray bullet.
Once again Toshiba decorates the deck’s fascia with jutting angles and a deeply sexy gloss black finish. The wafer-thin disc tray, sparse buttonry and tiny LED display keep the front panel looking clean and minimal. Look towards the bottom right-hand corner and you’ll spot a USB port, which replaces the SD card slot found on the BDX2000 – a wise decision too, as it allows you to connect a wider range of devices.
However, there are fewer connections on the back than you’ll find on the BDX2000, leaving only a basic selection. You get HDMI v1.3, composite, coaxial digital and analogue stereo outputs, as well as an Ethernet port. The BDX2000 additionally features component video and optical digital audio output, but with HDMI handling the crucial AV duties their absence is no great loss. The lack of multichannel analogue outputs might leave you in the lurch if your AV receiver lacks HDMI inputs, but it’s hardly surprising at this price.
More disappointing is that the Ethernet port’s talents are limited to downloading BD Live content from the Internet. Toshiba has introduced a media streaming feature into its latest TV range and it would have been great to see a similar feature included here. Most of Toshiba’s big-name Blu-ray rivals boast DLNA PC streaming functionality (Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG), although admittedly these companies have had longer to develop their players and most of them are more expensive than the BDX2100.
Toshiba’s unashamedly no frills approach also means there’s no 3D compatibility (hence the HDMI 1.3 port over the new v1.4), no access to web services like Panasonic’s Viera Cast and no Wi-Fi support, either built-in or using a USB dongle. In fact, there isn’t even any built-in memory for BD Live downloads, which means you need to connect a USB storage device of at least 1GB – and with only one USB port on the front, you can’t hide it away discreetly.
All of this would be perfectly acceptable if the BDX2100 was considerably cheaper than its peers, but search online and you’ll find Sony’s BDP-S370 selling for a similar sub-£100 price tag, a player equipped with BRAVIA Internet Video, DLNA networking and support for an optional wireless LAN adapter.
However, the BDX2100 isn’t completely devoid of features. The USB port on the front lets you play digital media from storage devices and the list of supported formats includes DivX, MP3, WMA, JPEG, M4A and MKV, plus AVCHD from Blu-ray discs. That’s not a bad list for the money and it’s particularly nice to see Toshiba adding MKV to the list.