With several brands of Blu-ray players hitting the market, at a price level below £100, it is actually the right time to experiment on HD content, if you were planning on one for a long time now, but had deferred that thought owing to budget constriction. Toshiba BDX2100 Blu-ray players are available for as less as £80 to £95. So, is the bargain worth it or is the low price directly proportional to a low-grade performance? We took a closer look to find out!
After having lost the HD DVD battle to Blu Ray players in early 2008, Toshiba decided to launch its first Blu Ray player, BDX2000, and with a decent response for that attempt, have launched their second Blu Ray Player, BDX2100.
The BDX2100’s looks can be pretty deceiving, as you unpack it with no great expectations, looking forward to handshake with a fairly ordinarily-looking spinner. Well, Toshiba decides to differ here by not scrimping on the build or design, which is fairly evident from the uniquely styled, feather-light, angular player, which would only be too happy to take its place under your TV rack. Toshiba has taken great care in crafting the deck’s fascia in a glossy, black finish with jutting angles.
Slots and Connectivity:
The front panel of Toshiba BDX2100 Blu-Ray Disc Player looks slick and clean with a wafer-thin tray, scarce buttons along with a tiny LED display along with conventional buttons like Power and Eject, which could prove handy if you are away from the remote and want to access the basic functions. At the bottom, towards the right is the USB port that acts as a proxy for the SD card slot in the previous model – an astute decision, we must add, as this allows for a host of devices to be connected. The connections on the rear are few and kind of disappointing, in fact much lesser than its predecessor, that leaves you with basic choices only. By saying basic, we mean just the HDMI v1.3, composite, coaxial digital and analogue stereo outputs along with an Ethernet port. Though the BDX2000 also featured optical digital audio and component video output, it is not something that we miss in the BDX2100, with HDMI taking care of the key AV duties. That said, you could miss the multi channel analog output, if your AV receiver lacks HDMI input; well, the price explains it.
Getting Started with the BDX2100:
Setting up the BDX2100 Blu Ray Player is a real breeze and was done within minutes, HDMI cable to the rear of the spinner with the other end to the LCD TV, and Voila! There it was, all set to greet us. There was a little bit of disappointment on switching the player on, as it greets with a fairly outdated and scruffy menu that seemed to be designed during the Early Man Era – snazzy graphics, hefty icons. Again, some features like “Deep Colour, 30/36 bit” seemed to have no rational explanation in the user manual, not that the online manual briefed it any better. In short, it gives you a clunky feeling, nowhere near contemporary Blu ray players.
Well, we decided to still be optimistic and look beyond the clumsy-looking menu poking around to unearth some goodies. For starters, the menu looked simple to decipher and get acquainted with. It gets all the more interesting to watch the deck abandon its Home Menu for a totally new design filled with funky graphics and swanky fonts. The well spaced out and rationally structured pages respond indeed quickly to the remote control’s commands. Though it definitely cannot measure up to Sony’s or LG’s striking interface, it is by far a drastic improvement to its predecessor, BDX2000. Also, we were able to probe deep inside the spinner to customise the settings of our choice. While Motion Video Processing allows you to choose between Standard, Cinema, Vivid and Custom options, the Video Processing consists of settings like sharpness, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue along with three options offered by the sharpness setting namely high, medium and low. Check out this cool feature – the “Custom Settings” that allows for adjustments to be made to the picture within the colours in the display – red, blue, green, cyan and yellow, along with a three-stage noise reduction for any picture preset. It also offers another feature – CTI (Colour Transient Improvement) that aims at reducing the manifestation of colour banding. This enhances the images exceptionally on the HDTV providing you with amazing control. Cool huh? But then, you are not allowed to save the settings. So, if you swap to the standard preset and get back to Custom Setting, your settings get back to factory settings by default.
It is kind of annoying to know that the Ethernet’s forte is restricted to just downloading BD Live. It would have been delightful, if Toshiba had designed an attribute similar to the media streaming feature included in their latest versions of TVs, especially with its rivals (Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic) boasting of DLNA PC streaming features. Although, we do endorse the fact that they have been in the Blu-ray arena for quite sometime now and most of their high-end spinners are way costlier than the humble Toshiba BDX2100. Almost all prevailing Blu ray players boast of FeaturesOnline content with a very few of them lacking the same. Even while the BDX2100 allows for downloading of BD Live to a USB storage device, it does not facilitate on-board memory that helps with saving stuff on the actual player itself, thus refraining you from streaming anything. This kind of glaring omission (non 3D compatible, no VIERA Cast, no Wi-Fi support, no YouTube, no iPlayer) in this day and age is kind weird, especially with the market brimming with Blu-ray spinners with a similar price tag that includes online access. For eg., you get the Sony BDP-S370 Blu Ray Player in the same price range, or some extra bucks, with more than enough features.
Impressive Boot Time:
The BDX2100 sure boots in 15 seconds displaying the same zeal to almost all discs and it is just mater of time before the Sony pictures logo show up. Definitely, beats the record of all its high-end rivals.
The ergonomically designed remote control is a relatively slim gadget with no bells or whistles. The arrangement of buttons is neat and amply spaced out. The menu direction and disc playback keys are conveniently clustered below the thumb with the remaining keys labeled boldly and clearly.
Well it is not all doom and gloom for the BDX2100. Looking at the brighter side, it supports all major formats and allows to play audio and video content from external sources through the USB port located on the front panel supporting formats like mp3, JPEG, WMA, M4A, DivX, MKV and AVCHD from Blu-ray discs; a relatively lengthy list for its price and all cheers to Toshiba for having added MKV to the list. Similar to other standard Blu ray players, the BD2100 is also equipped to output DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHDand other HD formats in a bitstream mode.
Likewise, Toshiba BDX2100 also has the capabilities of playing Blu-ray discs at 1080/24p, meaning you will have the pleasure of watching movies just as they were intended to be watched, hopefully devoid of judder from frame conversion. It would have been great to have the Resolution plus processing feature aboard (which was responsible for bringing out exceptional results on their upscaling DVD decks). Also the video quality is fairly brilliant with moving images being reproduced flawlessly. The all-time favourite “Transformers” was a feast to our eyes and was handled effortlessly and with great ease. DVD upscaling was fair, though not perfect, with blotchy images and muffled sound. Then again, you cannot expect the world with this kind of a price tag. Toshiba does indeed have a good eye for detail when it comes to characters and costumes with reasonable amount of intensity to blacks and clout to whites. As already mentioned, you can try your hands on ample tweaks to suit your television set, in an effort to enhance the picture.
The BDX2100 supports BD-Live, profile 2.0 giving you access to additional content though the Ethernet connection. This enables you to unravel exclusive downloads and bonus features namely trailers, alternative endings, extra scenes in addition to trivia games and online chat. Viewing photos, listening to music or playback of videos is now possible through the USB port as against the conventional CD/DVD burning. The BDX2100 is also MP3 and JPEG disc compatible. Also check out the REGZA link function which when connected to a REGZA LCD using a HDMI cable allows you to enjoy full HD content that can be controlled via a single remote.
Toshiba offers the BDX2100 a one year warranty for parts and labour.
Although the BDX2100 cannot be categorised as a perfect Blu ray spinner, there is nothing drastically wrong about it as well, for us to not recommend it – more so for its affordability. It lacks state-of-the-art features and unfortunately for Toshiba their no bells or whistles approach does not get justified by their low price tag, as it is not really hard to find a Blu ray player for the same price, or for some extra bucks like the Sony BDP S370 or the Samsung BD-C5300. So, if you are someone looking at trying your hands on a Blu ray player for the first time or a budget constrained buyer, the BDX2100 might after all be your best bet.
Toshiba BDX2100 Blu-Ray Player – Technical Specification Table
|Model Name||Toshiba BDX2100|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||4.5 x 43 x 22.5 cm|
|Compatible media formats||BD, BD-R, BD-RE, DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R,
DVD-VR format-R/-RW, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, CD Audio,
MP3-Audio, JPEG, VCD, SVCD, DivX, HD-JPEG, AVCHD
|Playable File Formats||DivX, XviD, MP3, JPEG|
|Media Load Type||Tray|
|BD Profile||Profile 2.0 (BonusView)|
|Video features||Video Output System – PAL, NTSC
Frame Noise Reduction
Picture Control – Zoom
Up-Conversion via HDMI – 720p, 1080i, 1080p
Black Level Shift
|Supported Audio Format||Dolby True HD
Dolby Digital Plus
DTS-HD Master Audio
|Playable Discs||DVD Video, SVCD, DVD-RW, DVD+RW,
CD (Audio), CD-RW, BD-RE, Blu-ray
|Audio details||Dynamic Range Control
Virtual Surround Sound
|Remote control||Infrared Yes,SE-R0377|
|Input and output connectors||1 x HDMI output with REGZA-Link
1 x Audio line-out (RCA phono x 2)
1 x Digital Audio Output (coaxial, RCA Phono)
1 x Composite video output (RCA Phono)
Composite Audio Output
1 x HDMI (HDMI a 19 pin, type A)
1 x Network (RJ-45)
Ethernet (RJ-45) Connection
|Convenient features||Trilingular OSD
|Other Features||AAA Battery for remote control
Audio Stream Select
|Power Source||AC 120V, 60Hz|
|Power Consumption||In use/Power Down Consumption – 14/0.4 W|
|Manufacturer Warranty||1 year manufacturer warranty|