|V Inc. Bravo D2 DVD Player|
|Home Theater Video Players DVD Players|
|Written by Ben Shyman|
|Thursday, 01 July 2004|
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While DVD has been around for over five years, only recently, with the proliferation of digital displays (plasma, LCD, etc.), have home theater enthusiasts been able to appreciate the power of digital video. With the popular acceptance of a new industry digital video standard, Digital Visual Interface (DVI), it is now possible to watch DVDs while keeping the signal in the digital domain without ever having to convert the signal to analog. The conversion of digital video to analog video is undesirable for a digital display because the resulting picture usually contains annoying artifacts.
V, Inc. is a relatively new entrant into the consumer electronics marketplace. They are most famous for making products like low-cost plasmas for other name brands, yet they also sell a growing line of high-value, performance-oriented video products like plasmas, LCDs, DVD players and HD tuners under their own brand V, Inc. Their products are sold direct at vinc.com, as well as some wholesale retailers like Costco.
Two ideologies make V, Inc. the company and their products unique. First, the company makes products that are for practical consumers looking for the absolute most modern technologies without breaking the bank. Second, their products (with the exception of the 13-inch LCD display) are all DVI-enabled.
The build quality of the Bravo D2 is perfectly reasonable for a player at its modest $249 price point. The front panel is a snazzy polished silver and is extremely clean, bearing only the most necessary controls. The blue LCD is large and easy to read and complements the player’s silver font facade. The remote control is comfortable, uncluttered and provides for comprehensive control of the Bravo D2, containing all the usual functionality found on typical disc player remotes. The rear panel of the Bravo D2 is simple, with composite, S-video, component and DVI video outputs, and analog and digital optical and coaxial audio outputs.
Setting up the Bravo D2 was a snap. After unpacking the unit and reading the 30-page user guide (yes, even reviewers read user guides and you should, too), which is written in plain and simple language, I connected the unit directly to my Fujitsu 50-inch plasma, using Transparent DVI cable for video and to my Proceed AVP2 preamp, using coaxial digital audio cable. During the initial installation, it was necessary to make a one-time connection of the Bravo D2 to the display using composite video cable, since the player comes preconfigured to this output. Using composite is therefore the only way to visualize the onscreen display during first-time set-up.
While the Bravo D2 has the usual component, S-video and composite video outputs, the player, in my opinion, should mainly be used with the DVI output. V, Inc. offers high-quality digital video at this price because it is not investing big engineering and manufacturing dollars in high-end and expensive digital-to-analog technologies found in higher-priced disc players. Think of the Bravo D2 as a digital transport for your music and movies – outputting digital video via DVI and digital audio via either the optical or coaxial outputs. Hooking the Bravo D2 up this way provides the most bang for the buck and, because the digital-to-analog conversion is done outboard for audio and video stays in the digital domain right to your display, the Bravo D2 can be considered even for high-end theaters where $249 players are not commonplace.
The onscreen display of the Bravo D2, much like the user guide, cannot be any simpler to understand, which is a pleasure. When one boils it down, there are only three critical decisions in a proper set-up: video output and native rate, audio output and TV type. I configured the player to output video in DVI 720p to match the native rate of my Fujitsu Plasmavision display. The Bravo D2 can output digital video in the most common native rates, including 480p, 720p, 1080i, 852x480 (this last is DVI-only) plus a custom setting if the user knows the display's specific timing. I configured the player to output audio in “encoded digital” via the coaxial digital output. Lastly, I set the TV type to 16:9.
Calibration of a top performing video device is essential. My Fujitsu plasma was ISF calibrated for gray levels by a professional video expert for each of my inputs. As an additional and very cool new feature of the D2, you can adjust brightness, color, contrast and color levels through the DVI inputs. These tools allow you to get the top level of performance with your DVI device for those looking or needing the tools to take the player's performance to highest level.