While Blu-ray is still in its infancy, DVD continues its dominance over movie disc formats. Steady decline in prices of both movie discs and players, and you know why DVD players are not going out of fashion any time soon.
Toshiba XD-E500 makes the DVD systems look interesting again. Toshiba has given the player a very sleek look and a sprinkling of basic front-panel controls. Better still, instead of introducing its new technology with a higher-end system that only few adopters can afford, the XD-E500 sells for a just around Rs 7,000.
The Toshiba XD-E500 has a new technology, XDE (or Extended Definition Enhancement), which essentially works in three modes — Sharp, Color, and Contrast. In the Sharp mode, the system automatically boosts the edge details of the picture where needed. This way it doesn’t introduce video noise like other sharpness controls. The Color setting gives richer blues and greens — an ideal setting for movies with lots of outdoor scenes. Now, you will be able to see deep blue skies and lush vegetation. And finally, the Contrast mode enhances dark portions of an image to deliver shadow detail without making the picture look too bright or washed out. Unfortunately, you can’t tweak the degree of enhancement provided. The XD-E500 also lacks multichannel analogue outputs completely, which could be a drawback for home theatre users.
Since CD-only players are becoming a rare commodity in the mass market, it was a happy surprise to discover a very good CD playback quality in the XD-E500. What we didn’t like about the XD-E500 was the remote control that has very small buttons and no backlight. It will probably not produce pictures as good as a Blu-ray player with true, high definition content, but overall, the XD-E500 is a solid upconverting DVD player.
Sony DVP-NS710 H/B
The budget DVD market is very competitive, and there are just too many players. Yet, Sony DVP-NS710 H/B stands out due to crisp and clean picture delivery that will make you want to revisit some favourites from your DVD library. To start off, like all of Sony’s DVD players, the NS710 too comes with an error correction circuitry that improves the playback of warped discs, making the player a smart choice if you rent a lot of DVDs. Simply put, the images are very faithful to the source — whether film or video — because special algorithms handle the different image pixel behaviour.
Thus, you will see sharper pictures and moving images that are virtually free from any pixel noise. If you own a HDMI TV then the DVD player reads the data on a standard DVD disc at 480P and maximises the video resolution to best fit your TV. The unit can play music CDs, including home-burned CD-Rs and CD-RWs. You can also pop in any old MP3 CD to enjoy hours of your favourite tunes or a digital picture disc.
The versatile NS710 playr supports high resolution playback of JPEG images that can be rotated in 90 degrees and zoomed to twice or four times their original size. This DVD player is also equipped with Sony Bravia Sync which gives you one-remote access and control of your DVD player and other Bravia Sync-compatible devices.
In short, the player works perfectly with a Sony compatible devices but for others, it would need some manual set-ups. Some of the cool features which we discovered includes the ability of NS710 to store the point where you stopped the disc (for up to 6 discs) and resume playback from the stored location when you insert the same disc. Another reason for customers to go wild about this DVD player is its unbelievably low price of approximately Rs 5,000.