Philips DVP5980 DVD Player - Philips DVP5980



Installing the player is a quick process thanks to the logically laid out setup menu that looks attractive and uses large legible text. Unlike some of Philips digital recorders there’s very little delay after pressing a button, giving the deck a pleasing slickness. Furthermore, the remote is very well designed, with a comfortable shape, clever button arrangement and fetching white styling – though the double-duty chapter skip/search keys are as annoying as ever.

It may not be packed with the sort of high-end electronics that you’d find inside a Denon, Arcam or OPPO, but the picture quality on offer from the HDMI output is still highly impressive. To start with we gave it a tricky test in the form of ”Pan’s Labyrinth” and the Philips copes admirably with the film’s gloomy underground sets and the intricate detail of Del Toro’s sinister-looking characters.

The 1080p upscaling is impressive, giving the picture a natural sharpness boost on a Full HD TV without introducing any unwanted artefacts like jagged edges or pixel noise. This in turn results in clean and, most importantly, cinematic looking pictures that look good on a large or small screen.

Colour reproduction is also impressive, although ”Pan’s Labyrinth” doesn’t give it a particularly dazzling palette to play with. What it does do, however, is show off the deck’s skill and subtlety when it comes to displaying restrained, nuanced hues like Capit├ín Vidal’s olive tinged skin or the greens and browns of the woods that surround his remote outpost. The lack of MPEG block noise also brings a smile to our face, as does the wide contrast range, which delivers deep blacks and crisp, bright whites.

We’re not just impressed by MPEG-2 video either; it’s also a dab hand with DivX files, which look detailed and fluid (though it does depend on the encoding quality), while HD JPEG playback is a real revelation, making hi-res photos look admirably sharp without the usual jagged edges and blurred detail that occurs when they’re downconverted.

The deck also plays a mean tune. Its 192kHz/24-bit audio DAC makes it no slouch in the audio department, and as a result CD playback from the stereo audio outputs is detailed and distortion-free, provided you play it through a half-decent system, and when channelled via the coaxial audio output, Dolby Digital and DTS movie soundtracks are enthralling.


Overall the DVP5980 is a great all-rounder that boasts solid 1080p picture quality and a healthy range of features for a reasonable price – but as a bonus it’s also beautifully designed and equipped to handle your growing collection of digital media files.


Score in detail

  • Performance 8
  • Features 8
  • Value 9
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