The range of available services on Net TV is plentiful and there are some familiar names on there like YouTube, Dailymotion, and Picasa. You’ll also find Cartoon Network and HiT Entertainment, both of which require a subscription, while Box Office 365 offers TV shows and movies on demand from £2.99 a month.
Elsewhere it’s padded out with less appealing links like Volkswagen, France 24 and MeteoConsult, but what sets Net TV apart from rival services is that you can browse any site on the Internet. This is a frustrating experience, as entering web addresses and other text is a cumbersome process using the remote and the player doesn’t support Flash, which means you won’t be chucking out your laptop any time soon. It does, however, load pages quickly and the cursor moves from link to link with pleasing speed.
The USB port on the front panel allows you to connect flash drives, USB card readers or external HDDs (FAT only) and playback DivX Plus HD, MKV, AVCHD, MP3, WMA, AAC and JPEG files – a superb selection. When browsing for files to play, it can get frustrating not being able to search by keyword or scroll down the list of tracks more quickly, particularly if you have hundreds of songs stored on your hard drive.
That aside, the deck’s onscreen menus are terrific. There’s a clean, stylised simplicity to their design that’ll play well with anyone coming to Blu-ray for the first time. The Home menu labels its options by activity (‘play disc’, ‘browse USB’ and so on), each one denoted by a large, instantly recognisable icon.
The Setup menu is clearly laid out, using chunky text and a logical submenu arrangement. It even displays descriptions of each option when you hover on it for a few seconds. Here you can choose the aspect ratio, which includes a 21:9 setting for Philips’ Cinema 21:9 TVs; pick from a bunch of picture presets (Vivid, Cool, Action, Animation) and select Neo:6 processing to turn stereo sound into virtual surround. All of the network settings and setup wizards are easy to find and to follow, while 3D settings amount to a selection of ‘Auto’ or ‘Off’. The deck will also output at 1080/24p and output HD audio formats in PCM or as a raw bitstream.
Controlling these menus with the remote is easy. This comfortably-sized zapper features a logical arrangement of rubbery buttons, which benefit from clear labelling, while the silver finish makes it attractive as well as practical.
The BDP7500 takes just a few seconds to boot up and disc loading is fast. ”Terminator Salvation” loaded up in around 45 seconds, while some other discs took closer to 35. Excellent work.