The Toshiba BDX3200’s no-frills status means star attractions like Wi-Fi, DLNA networking and access to internet content are firmly off the agenda. That leaves 3D playback the headline feature, allowing you to view the limited array of 3D discs on the market on a compatible TV. Unlike the latest players from Panasonic and Samsung, there’s no 2D-to-3D conversion to breathe new life into the rest of your movie collection, although given the mixed results we’ve seen so far its absence might not be that big a deal.
Another feature standout is the USB port on the front panel, which lets you plug in a storage device and play your digital media files. The list of supported formats is fairly healthy, and includes MKV, DivX HD, MP3 and JPEG. The BDX3200 is a Profile 2.0 player and can therefore pull bonus features from the web, but for it to work you’ll need to connect a 1GB memory drive to the USB port as it’s not built in. The player also decodes Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio, as well as sending them as a bitstream from the HDMI output.
Fire up the player and the first thing you see is a settings wizard, getting all that boring stuff out the way early so you can focus on watching movies as soon as possible. It runs through language, TV resolution and aspect ratio settings. All other tweaks are made in the well-presented setup menu, which uses the same design as previous Toshiba players. The layout is clear and instantly understandable, with crisp graphics and highly legible text - and the cursor moves around quickly. It’s not in the same user-friendliness league as the Panasonic DMP-BDT110 or Sony’s Xross Media Bar, but is undeniably pleasant to use.
Dig around in the menu and you’ll unearth the usual options, such as a choice of audio output options and network settings, but the most interesting part is the ‘Display Settings’ menu, which puts a surprisingly wide range of picture adjustments at your disposal. It’s split into two parts. The first, Video Processing, allows you to set your own brightness, contrast, hue and saturation settings and set different levels of sharpness (high, middle or low).
The second, Motion Video Processing, offers four picture presets (Standard, Vivid, Cinema and Custom) and three levels of noise reduction, plus you can adjust brightness, saturation and hue for each individual colour in the picture. Select the Custom preset and you get a further set of picture tweaks - brightness, saturation, hue, contrast, sharpness and CTI. This level of control over the quality of your pictures is to be applauded, but quite why there are two separate menus doing virtually the same job isn’t explained. Not only does it make things a little confusing, it also means you need to be careful when playing around with them, as what you do in one menu affects the other and it’s quite easy to mess up the picture.
The remote control is easy to use. It’s not over-cluttered, the buttons are a nice size and each one is clearly labelled. The multi-direction menu control pad is conveniently placed for the thumb, with all the other buttons neatly arranged around it. The player also loads discs fairly quickly, taking around 50 seconds to reach the Sony Pictures sting on Terminator Salvation, which is a little slower than some recent players but perfectly acceptable.