|Philips BDP7200 Blu-ray Player|
|Home Theater Video Players Blu-ray Players|
|Written by Adrienne Maxwell|
|Sunday, 01 June 2008|
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Television and Movies
I began the review process by comparing the BDP7200’s start-up and load times with those of other players I’ve used, such as the $399 Sony BDP-S300 (Profile 1.0), $499 Panasonic DMP-BD30 (Profile 1.1), and $999 Pioneer BDP-95FD (Profile 1.0). From the instant I hit the power button, the BDP7200 took about 24 seconds to cue up the main menu – that’s several seconds quicker than the Panasonic player, which is the fastest model I’ve reviewed to date. If there’s already a disc in the tray when you power up the BDP7200, it will skip the main menu and cue up the disc automatically. As for its load times, the Philips wasn’t quite as fast as the Panasonic model, but was consistently quicker than the Profile 1.0 players when handling the densest interactive menus, such as those in Sunshine, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man’s Chest (Buena Vista Home Entertainment) and War (Lionsgate Home Entertainment). In each case, the Philips took a little over a minute to go from disc load to studio logo. Interestingly, the BDP7200 was actually a little slower than the Pioneer to cue up basic, non-animated Blu-ray menus, like those in Black Hawk Down (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) or Kingdom of Heaven. If you recall from my previous review, the Pioneer’s load times started off fairly slow but benefited from a firmware update; perhaps the same will be true of the Philips.
The BDP7200 had no trouble launching or playing the interactive games on the Dead Man’s Chest, War and Ratatouille (Buena Vista Home Entertainment) discs. It moved through the game experience without freezes, stutters, or excessive delays. All in all, I was impressed with the BDP7200’s stability: it never froze or exhibited other unreliable behavior during my time with it. The player responds fairly quickly to remote commands, although its chapter-skip functions are sluggish. I did appreciate how quickly the BDP7200 was able to resume playback with Blu-ray discs that allow this function.
To evaluate HDMI video quality, I moved through my favorite Blu-ray demo scenes from The Curse of the Black Pearl, Kingdom of Heaven, Ratatouille, The Prestige (Warner Home Video) and War. With 1080p/24 output enabled, the player did a nice job of reproducing each scene, exhibiting no major performance flaws to interfere with the disc quality. I did some direct A/B comparisons with the more expensive Pioneer player and could discern no significant difference in detail between the two. Color reproduction was good, and fine shadow details remained intact. For those who don’t have HDMI-equipped displays, you’ll be glad to know that the image quality held up very well when I switched to 1080i component.
The Philips continued to perform well with standard-definition DVDs – better than its performance with test discs had led me to believe it would. Through both the HDMI and component video outputs, the BDP7200 didn’t do a very good job with the test scenes on my HQV Benchmark DVD (Silicon Optix). It created a lot of jaggies in diagonals, was slow to detect the 3:2 sequence in film-based sources (the process of converting 24-frames-per-second film to 30-frames-per-second video) and failed all of the complex cadence tests. Yet, with my real-world torture tests from Gladiator (DreamWorks Home Entertainment) and The Bourne Identity (Universal Home Video), the player produced a generally clean, artifact-free image. At times, I noticed digital artifacts when I jumped quickly from scene to scene; however, when I simply sat back and let the two movies play, I saw very few jaggies or other artifacts. With my video-based Pilates DVD, the BDP7200 performed better than average, producing only minor jaggies in diagonals. Through HDMI, the BDP7200 does a good job up-converting 480i to 1080p, producing a nice level of detail.
To test the BDP7200’s HDMI audio, I mated it with Pioneer’s VSX-91TXH A/V receiver, which has internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD decoding. The two products communicated with one another without incident, and the player did indeed pass the high-resolution bitstream on the Kingdom of Heaven, Sunshine and Dave Matthews: Live at Radio City Music Hall (Sony BMG Music Entertainment) Blu-ray discs.
I also popped a few DVD-Rs that I burned with an older Pioneer/Tivo combo recorder, as well as several music CD-Rs and a DVD-R loaded with JPEGs. The Philips played them all without incident, and navigating discs via the onscreen menu is a fairly straightforward process.