|Toshiba BDX2700 Blu-ray Player Review|
|Home Theater Video Players Blu-ray Players|
|Written by Thomas Spurlin|
|Wednesday, 20 October 2010|
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Setting up an Internet connection becomes as simple as hitting the red button on the remote, as Toshiba’s infrastructure easily takes the user through the process in a standard, easy-to-follow fashion. After initializing the hookup, it prompts for either a wired or wireless connection, as well as making a network test available to validate the status and strength of the current signal. Selecting “Wireless” leads into a menu for Network List (scan), WPS setup, Manual registry, and IP settings, while the scan ultimately shows the available connections as well as their B, G, N type of communication. When in the passkey entry menu following this, Toshiba implemented a nice afterthought in the form of two capitalization buttons – one for a single-time caps touch, and other for a full-on caps lock. Seconds later, the unit’s ready for BD-Live communication, and for a firmware update if it’s required.
Yet it does, undoubtedly, perform exceedingly well on a technical level, proven at first by Spears and Munsil’s Hand-Forged test disc. When prompted with the opportunity to project black level and sharpness tests, the richness of its contrast and the crisp lines remained very pleasing. Some very, very minor color clipping occurs at the highest red and blue points, but it’s to such a minuscule amount that it wouldn’t matter. Its ability to combat jagged lines and flow at varied pulldown cadences truly impresses, showcasing a fine capacity for both flavors of deinterlacing. Under the hood and evaluated with a magnifying glass, this player delivers a punch for the price.
In preparation for The Social Network’s release this month, as well as to get into the eerie adult-form of a Halloween mood, it felt like an opportune time to throw two of David Fincher’s films into the Toshiba BDX2700 – Warner Brothers’ recent release of Se7en, and Paramount’s disc for Zodiac. Both are framed at 2.35:1 in VC-1 and AVC encodes respectively, with rich contrast and fluctuating palettes that render both loud and subdued mannerisms in the cinematography. Toshiba’s player handled the soupy blacks and rich details with a level of sharpness that felt natural yet exceptionally crisp, harnessing the essence of these two mood pieces. Each one also tested the player’s capacity to push out aggressive DTS HD Master Audio tracks, both on musical fronts and quite a few intense sound effects, and the smoothness and buoyancy of the audio can take one aback. Exceptionally good.
Continuing with the mood of the season, I couldn’t resist tossing in Frank Darabont’s The Mist via The Weinstein Company’s double-disc set – the black and white version, mind you, though I also spot-checked the colored version for kicks and giggles. The 1.85:1 grayscape image, however, is really something to look at here, robustly attacking the textures of intense close-ups of the folks in the store and the intricate destruction of the boat house in the film’s beginning. It also shows the player’s grace in handling 24fps motion, since the camera rarely stops in the film, and it remains fluid from start to finish. And yes, the color version’s lush rendering of purple tentacles and an intense, blue-leaning spider fight also looks fantastic. Again, the audio – this time, in a TrueHD track – matches the visual rendering, thundering to the lower quadrants with some punchy sound effects and shrill vocals. Again, the Toshiba impresses with its rich HD punch.
To test out a more aggressive, difficult source, StudioCanal’s presentation of Delicatessen seemed like an opportune choice. The disc offers the film in as sublime a fashion as possible, with intentionally heavy grain, soupy yellow-and-green color timing, and ornate set design. The stylish look about the film holds up exquisitely in the BDX2700, preserving the unusual color and contrast to a high standard while also offering the few instances of crisp HD pop when the disc allows. Though, it is worth noting that the grain intermittently appeared a bit heavier than in comparison to playback in Sony’s PlayStation 3, but not to a displeasing degree. It also tested the player’s ability to render 2-channel Master Audio sound, which it did appropriately and with exquisitely-pitched highs and lows throughout the quirky horror-comedy hybrid.
BD-Live and BD-Java both operate exceptionally well with this Profile 2.0, WiFi-enabled player, with The Matrix’s BonusView content and Fox’s disc for The Last of the Mohicans as a live-content tester. This player, like most others, will not enable the audio during Picture-in-Picture without switching over to PCM sound instead of the HD track, but the live connection went without a hitch over their connection. Naturally, the Toshiba BDX2700 is a Region-A locked player, spitting out the RB error message with Fox’s UK copy of the Fountain. This player can, on the other hand, play PAL-encoded special features from region-free discs, as verified by popping in Tartan’s copy of I’m a Cyborg from the UK.
To give standard-definition content a go, episodes of Legend of the Seeker: The Complete Second Season, Lionsgate’s DVD of Princess Kaiulani, and some spot-checking through the two-disc DVD of Se7en were spun in Toshiba’s player. In comparison to the competition, the Toshiba stands out a bit more in the upscaling arena, rendering extremely tight detail contours that achieved some rather convinced head-nodding from this reviewer. The desaturated palette and finely-etched minutiae in Fincher’s film looks surprisingly crisp from New Line’s DVD, while the lavish coloring and stylish contrast in the now-ended Renaissance fantasy show looked exceptionally good. And, as an added point, the player also handles Pal-encoded, region-free discs, verified by a copy of A Bittersweet Life from the UK.