Toshiba BDX2000 Blu-ray player

Like a Phoenix from the flames, Toshiba has at last put pride where it belongs and jumped on the Blu-ray bandwagon and we're glad it did.

The loser in the Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD format war a few years ago, it's taken the Japanese giant almost 2 years to lick its wounds and make a return to the high-def market. While hardly the most impressive or feature-packed deck around, as a culmination of a few years' hard work, the BDX2000 is a reasonably impressive effort.

It's also fair value considering its great Blu-ray performance. Not surprisingly for a brand with war coffers to replenish, Toshiba has gone straight for the volume market by slapping a sub-£200 price tag on the BDX2000. There are cheaper machines out there that do broadly the same thing, but this gloss black deck is worth auditioning.

That's not to say that the BDX2000 is not a basic effort, though it's as slim as any Blu-ray player we've seen with a depth of just 23cm and a mere 5cm height.

Its features don't make for lengthy reading. As well as Blu-ray and DVD, its disc drive plays DivX, JPEG, MP3, and WMA files (the latter sound great). If you insert an SD card into the machine's front slot that contains any kind of digital media files, the BDX2000 asks you if you want to access it, but works in exactly the same way as a CD or DVD.

Connecting to BD Live very easy (though slow) via an Ethernet cable; the BDX2000 downloads content only if you have a 1GB SD or SDHC card in place. It's a shame there isn't any capacity in the machine already; a Blu-ray player with built-in storage of 8GB or so will do very well - it's an opportunity missed by Toshiba, but perhaps at this price we shouldn't be surprised at the BDX2000's conservative nature.

Budget kit often comes with a cheap, rudimentary remote and the BDX2000 is no different. At least the drab, boxy remote is simple to use, with large enough buttons including, usefully, one that ejects the disc tray.

It may now have been surpassed in terms of Blu-ray playback, but the brand's £80 (and former flagship) XDE600 DVD spinner does have XDE, as well as a USB input: both are missing on the BDX2000.

Picture quality, though, is excellent for such a cheap Blu-ray player. Discs enjoy a great deal of detail and a smooth, fluid playback. DVDs are also handled particularly well, while even an HD clip of 2012 downloaded from BD Live looks great; the BDX2000's treatment of a scene showing the sea flowing over the Himalayas is as precise as it is smooth, with plenty of contrast.

Verdict

Late to the Blu-ray market it may be, but this deck from the inventors of the once-rival HD-DVD format treats both Blu-ray and DVD discs with rare skill. For Toshiba, it's just a shame that a lot of other manufacturers got there first and are now starting to introduce features that the BDX2000 lacks. Hardly the greatest, or best-value player around, Toshiba could nevertheless be worth keeping an eye on in 2010; the follow-up to the BDX2000 could be something special.