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Konka KD-1800U DVD Player Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 March 2000
ImageThe KD-1800U is a DVD player that has broken the $200.00 price barrier. The unit lists for an extremely affordable $199.00. That's right: just $199.00. And wait, there's more. The KD-1800U contains many of the features found on higher priced players.

All kidding aside, for those of you who are not familiar with Konka, the company is a global consumer electronics company based in China and was established in 1980. The company touts products that have been recognized as the "National Best Selling Products" in China and has been granted "The Most Famous Brand of China" while holding 25% of the Chinese TV market. The United States subsidiary is Konka USA, Ltd.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming: I've seen the Konka brand from time to time but have shied away from products on account that I didn't believe that the performance would hold-up. Well, the KD-1800U has turned me around. Some of the features were unexpected at this price point.

This unit includes composite and S-video output. The audio section contains AC-3 bitstream LPCM optical, coaxial outputs and left and right analog outputs. Additional features include: Multi-angle, multi-language/subtitle, multi-layer displays, (software dependant), Multi-screen aspect ratio 16:9 and 4:3 letterbox, and 4:3pan-screen, Pause, still/stop, Chapter/title/track time search, repeat, a full-functional remote control and even non-stop Karaoke play. Whew, a lot of bang for your buck. Cosmetically, both the front and back panels are neatly layed-out. The front panel slopes forward at a slight rounded angle, which is quite attractive.
Hooking-up the KD-1800U is a snap. For reference I utilized my Sherwood Newcastle R-775 receiver to drive the Energy e:XL28P mains, the Vantas DPA-P87 for Dolby Digital processing and to power the Energy e:XL-C center channel and Mirage surrounds. I was reviewing my first DVD, Saving Private Ryan (Paramount), within five minutes of unpacking. I sat back and relaxed, that is until the bombs bursting red glare appeared on the screen. The KD-1800U performed very nicely. Keeping pace with every step of the soldiers storming the beach and every bullet that screamed into, through and out of frame. I then tested The Matrix (Warner Studios), pure eye candy. For subtlety, I slid L.A. Confidential (Warner Bros.); not so much for the dramatic shoot-out scenes, but for when officer Bud White yanks Christmas lights and decorations from the roof of a house. I could distinguish which item was falling where; from the crackle of electrical arcing to the pop of the last light bulb breaking. (Dolby Digital audio is so nice).

The audio CD application worked equally well. I listened to a variety of music; from the XRCD of Johnny Griffin's, The Little Giant (Fantasy, Inc.) and the gold disc remastered Joni Mitchell's, Blue (Dcc) – to James Brown's Greatest Hits (Polygram). There wasn't a hitch in the mix.

The Downside
There were a few shortcomings. The KD-1800 seems to run a little on the warm side and the footprint of the unit is a little large (about 30% deeper than my Yamaha S700). Last, onscreen display blocks the DVD image while in use. On a personal taste note, the product has a sliver brushed aluminum finish, which really didn't match-up with many of my other components. The other personal pet-peeve that bugs me is when manufactures display their logo when the DVD player is in the pre-stop or stop mode – the KD-1800U does just that. By the way, I reviewed a Panasonic DVD/Divx player earlier this year and their logo actually bounced around the screen like the old "Pong" video game (the review was never published due to the extinction of Divx). Come-on guys, give us a break. The unit is also missing component video outputs, which are needed to take full advantage of digitally compatible TVs. However, in January, 2,000, Konka will be offering two new DVD players to its line: the KD-1900U and the KD-2100U. The KD-1900U will contain all of the features of the KD-1800U plus built-in AC-3. The KD-2100U will contain both features of the KD-1800U and KD-1900U plus component video outputs. The price of these units is $249.00 and $299.00 respectively.

At this price point, I really don't see how you can go wrong with the all of the features that are included with the KD-1800U. I would recommend this unit to anybody who is looking to enter the DVD arena in a very inexpensive way. In addition, the KD-1800U would be great as a secondary player for the office, bedroom or study.
Objectively, it is more than a deal; it's a steal. Nice work Konka.

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