The deck’s upscaling is also sound. It may not look anything like real hi-def but with the HDMI output set to 1080p there’s loads of detail on display – in ”Amelie”, the brickwork of Parisian buildings and busy apartment interiors look crisp and punchy. Edges are well-defined and don’t suffer from significant stepping, although there are some occasional traces of mosquito noise near moving objects and the odd fleck of block noise on backgrounds.
During some of the movie’s darker scenes, such as Amelie walking through Metro stations or through apartment block hallways, the deck’s excellent contrast level ensures you can spot even the smallest details. Shadows and background objects are easy to discern, but if the picture doesn’t quite satisfy the needs of your display then the built-in picture adjustments could come in handy – although the increments aren’t accurate enough for proper calibration.
Sonically, the DVD-H1080 is exactly what we expected from a budget deck, by which we mean decent rather than mind-blowing. It’s at its best when piping 5.1-channel bitstreams via the HDMI or coaxial digital audio outputs – ”Amelie’s” DTS track is reproduced with plenty of detail and the surround channels are sharp and immersive. CD playback boasts a good balance across the frequency range, while MP3/WMA playback is perky.
Weighing up the price, performance and features, we can only conclude that the DVD-H1080 represents superb value for money, particularly when you compare it with the similarly priced but less exciting Toshiba SD-590E. For a little under £60, you get irresistible looks, solid 1080p picture quality, a USB port with wide-ranging format support and CD ripping, plus it’s generally easy to use. The only downside is the lack of SCART output, which could be a problem given the amount of people who will fancy pairing this with an HDMI-free TV in the bedroom. But if that doesn’t apply to you then we recommend giving it a whirl.
Score in detail