With the Silicon Optix Benchmark DVD the Toshiba delivers the sort of performance you’d expect from a more expensive player. The fine lines on the Colour Bars test are sharply defined and the colour swatch has no banding; it renders the rotating bars on the jaggies tests and the flapping flag stripes with absolutely no stepping whatsoever; fine detail on the sides of the buildings is sharply reproduced (if a little shaky at first) and it locks on to the 2:2 Telecine A cadence without any artefacts. However, with Telecine B there’s noticeable flickering and noise reduction could be better.
Rounding off this impressive performance is clear and punchy CD playback, which is a little lightweight by audiophile standards but should do the trick for less discerning tastes.
Although the SD-490E offers nothing new or original, it gets it right in the most important area – performance. This is a much more competent DVD player than you’d expect for the money and as such deserves more than bedroom-bound anonymity – its video processing is slick enough to cope with the demands of a bigger system. OK, build quality is puny and it lacks features like DivX HD/WMA playback and a USB port but if you overlook these the SD-490E is a top choice.
Score in detail
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.