|JVC XV-BP1 Blu-ray Player Review|
|Home Theater Video Players Blu-ray Players|
|Written by Thomas Spurlin|
|Wednesday, 24 February 2010|
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JVC’s XV-BP1 has a terribly bright light at the front of its unit, reminding one a bit of the flood lamps at the front of the spaceship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The brightness can potentially be off-putting, especially with close proximity to the viewing screen. It might seem a little unorthodox to mention something aesthetic like that in the first lines of a review, but there’s a reason; aside from that, and a strange “happy accident” anomaly that jumps disc playback straight to the start of the programming upon boot-up, this 1080/24p, Profile 2.0 player delivers an impressive, unproblematic punch with its capabilities. Though it might be quiet and flex quite a bit of audiovisual muscle, it’s the fact that the player is lightning fast that makes it a strong competitor against the standard onslaught of heavy-hitters surrounding its $300 list price.
When the unit’s powered on, the biggest gripe about the XV-BP1 very quickly comes into play. In a straight line right down the middle, and directly behind each of the circular buttons, a bright blue light emits. Emphasis is placed on the word bright here, because the light’s intensity is rather garish and, oftentimes, distracting. Sadly, the player doesn’t come with an internal dimmer for the light, so the bright, electric glow will have to be endured amid a dark screening room. If the player’s on a media rack away from the television panel, it shouldn’t glow enough to distract; however, if the unit finds its place directly underneath an LCD / Plasma panel, the light will take some optical conditioning to ignore it.
At the front, the player carries the standard button features – navigating Play/Pause/Fast-Forward as well as Eject and Power, while also carrying a fully-functional USB 2.0 port (more on that a little later) covered by a stable silicone cover that dangles when it’s not coating the input. To the rear, the JVC’s no-frills character continues; it comes with a very standard array of plug-and-play jacks, including a 1.3 HDMI port, component jacks, coaxial and toslink legacy audio outputs, an Ethernet port and 2-channel analog stereo jacks. No RS232C or IR remote inputs are available to the rear, nor are any multichannel analog jacks. Alongside the player itself, a remote, a standard manual, a set of composite cables, and a standard A/C power cable – circular on both sides to match the player’s power input -- have been included.
JVC’s remote may look (and feel) like standard fare, but it’s got a few tricks up its sleeve. It measures pretty close to six (6) inches and weighs very little, which makes it somewhat comfortable yet flimsy in the hand. The Play / Pause / FF-RW buttons are all in blue near the center of the unit, directly above the “circular” bezel navigation buttons at the center – though they’re more diamond-shaped that circular. Small blip buttons for Home / Disc Menu / Display / and Return adorn the corners of the remote, while the Audio, Subtitle, and Title/-Pop-Up menu button adorn the spaced directly underneath. Hitting the display button will show the type of audio file in-use, but it will not show the type of video codec for Blu-rays. For reference, the remote’s buttons are not iridescent (glow in the dark) or backlit, so nighttime / dark room use could be problematic.
At the very bottom portion of the remote, directly underneath the RGBY color buttons, a few notable additions have been included that add a bit of function to the remote’s blasé form. One of which is a Resolution toggle, where the output can be adjusted on the fly during a program. The other, one of the nicer selling points to this middle-tier player, is a Zoom feature that allows for zooming of standard-definition material – thus making non-anamorphic DVDs properly zoomed to an appropriate size for the screen. For those who still own a collection of non-16x9 DVDs, the prospect of an internal zoom device is a pleasant addition. Also, this remote can control channel changing, volume, and input properties on applicable JVC televisions.
If you’re looking for a player with wide adjustment capabilities and a deep user interface, then steer away from the XV-BP1; though, its limited tailoring is backed up by fine out-of-the-box performance. By pressing the Home Menu, or allowing the features to load for themselves if a disc isn’t present in the player, a simple menu with four options – Movie, Photo, Music, and Setup – loads on the screen against JVC’s attractive wallpaper options. Accessing the Setup Menu opens the option to adjust six different functions: Display, Language, Audio, Lock, Network, and Others. Each one merely offers the bare-bones in molding the player to the user’s home theater environment, such as setting resolution, screen shape, and electing whether to use 24hz output in the Display menu, and HDMI Pass-Through / Encoding, Sampling Frequency (up to 192kHz), and Dynamic Range Control under Audio.