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Philips BDP7500 Blu-ray player
India takes time to catch up with the new trends in technology, but already the niche early adopters, call them videophiles in this case, have started developing keen interest in Blu-ray discs and the high definition movie format. Blu-ray players are soon going to pick up in our country; after all each and every TV manufacturer is riding the Full HD bandwagon today. We have a new player model by Philips, called the BDP7500. Philips have had a reputable past with us reviewers, thus we are pretty keen on seeing what this one can deliver.
Design and Features
This piece of gear is one swanky looker, filled with oodles of style and high tech sparkle. The chassis is finished in an impressive brushed aluminum surface, with the front panel being made up of reflective dark glass. The tray is ubiquitously placed bang on center, and happens to be the only item in the area, no buttons or logos anywhere except a small round power button at the left extremity, and a Blu-ray logo at the opposite end. The icing on the cake in terms of aesthetics is a slight indent at the center of the bottom edge, which houses a flat blue LED. When turned on, this LED glows and reflects off a diffused blue glow from the surface; it looks really good.
The back houses connectors, that add up to the regular requirement in a Blu-ray player: we have a single HDMI 1.3 out, a component video, optical audio and analog 7.1 audio output. Besides there is also a coaxial audio out and Ethernet port. This player also has a USB 2.0 slot in the front, for all your DivX and MP3 files. The player comes up to date with file format support and features: we have BD Video, BD-R/RE 2.0, DVD, DVD-Video, DVD-R/-RW, DVD+R/+RW, DivX, Video CD, CD, CD-R/CD-RW, and in terms of codecs, we have H.264, VC-1, MPEG2, DivX Ultra, AVCHD, WMV, XviD.
The AVCHD is useful for HD camcorder owners, which is getting pretty common these days, as one can easily share and display their HD shot footage. The player supports BD Live, and onboard decodes DTS-HD Master Audio Essential, Dolby True HD and the older ones like Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby Digital Plus. An interesting point to note is the new aspect ratio this player supports, which is 21:9, this is besides regular 16:9 and 4:3. This is probably because Philips has released an interesting looking 21:9 TV (watch this space for a review, it's already in our lab). There are a few features that are unavailable, like some GB of storage space, which is offered by others. This helps when downloading and storing content with BD Live.
The player takes about 7 seconds to load from disc insert to welcome screen, which is decently fast. The UI is a very well designed, nontacky looking affair, with mainly different shades of blue and white making up its color scheme. There are user presets like Animation, Action, Standard, and Vivid, out of which “Action” was pretty interesting looking.
One has to set the output to 1080p/24 Hz when watching Blu-ray, or else even for USB and DVD movie the upscaling level has to be chosen according to your TV's native res. The Audio output also can be set here to Bitstream, if you want your AV receiver to do the decoding. But, as mentioned in the features section, this player supports the legacy formats of DTS and Dolby, thus we allowed it to take the entire load.
We checked out DVE test disc, Ratatouille and The last Samurai Blu-ray discs on the BDP7500, and were quite impressed by the cutting edge clarity. In both static and moving images we hardly saw any traces of noise and jaggie line artifacts, but it was not purely absent. After motion, we gauged straight up color performance, which was visually very vivid, and contained a level of saturation that really pleased the eye. The colors still remain in the realm of naturalness, for example the green in the vast plains depicted in the Last Samurai did not look even a bit exaggerated, also there was hardly any moiring in those gradients.
The BDP7500's MRP is Rs. 25,990, while the MOP Rs. 24,990. I know the PS3 is cheaper, and blah blah, but small things make a difference, like this standalone player power consumption at 22 watts is about 1/6th a PS3. But still, this player is a bit expensive no doubt. The performance is really superb, with good GUI, fast loading times etc. Since it’s a Philips, I can give them one benefit of doubt that they have always been a reliable brand, but I feel a little price reduction would make this player a hit.