Philips DVP5980 £80

7th Mar 2008 | 14:36

Philips DVP5980

More than you have the right to expect for £80

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

One of the UK's cheapest 1080p DVD decks offers excellent picture and sound quality plus a very handy USB port

Like:

Impressive connectivity; Wide range of audio modes; Good performance for the price

Dislike:

Annoying disc search operation

If you're not yet ready to stump up for a proper hi-def disc player then the next best thing is a DVD deck with 1080p upscaling. Just a year ago this feature was only found on high-end players, but the £80 DVP5980 proves that this is no longer the case.

However, this is no one-trick pony - the DVP5980 also boasts DiVX Ultra playback and a USB port that lets you play music, photos and videos from flash memory devices.

The player's design is pleasingly sleek and slimline, but Philips has still managed to squeeze a decent amount of connections onto the skinny rear panel. The line-up includes an HDMI output, component video output, a Scart and a electrical digital audio output for Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks.

Taking advantage

If you're using the HDMI output, you can take advantage of the HD JPEG feature, which lets you view digital photos in their original resolution. The deck boasts healthy compatibility too, with a list that takes in MP3, WMA and all the major DVD formats except DVD-RAM.

Other useful features include three picture presets, plus a Personal mode that allows you to adjust brightness, contrast, sharpness and colour.

It's also joined by no less than 12 audio modes.

In operation the DVP5890 is very easy to use, thanks to the cleverly designed and compact remote - though holding down the chapter skip keys to search a disc is annoying. The menus are also logically laid out and easy to follow.

On the whole, picture quality is impressive. It performs well in all the key areas - colour, detail, black level and noise reduction - which results in extremely crisp DVD playback, particularly with the impressive upscaling mode engaged. We've seen better 1080p pictures from pricier players, but there can be few complaints for the money.

The brighter moments during Pan's Labyrinth look bold and vibrant, with an exceptionally well-balanced colour palette, demonstrated by Captain Vidal's realistically olive-toned skin.

The DVP5980 is also adept at handling fine detail. Shots of woodland areas look stunning, with every bush and branch looking well-defined and stable. What's most impressive is that this talent carries over into dark scenes - most of the intricate detail inside the murky labyrinth is presented with great clarity.

Talent stable

DiVX playback is smooth and stable, while sound quality is decent.

The gun battles in our test movie sound great through a 5.1-channel sound system, revealing no weaknesses in the bitstream transfer, plus the deck makes a decent fist of tricky jazz music through the analogue outputs.

Overall, the Philips DVP5980 is an impressive DVD deck with enough must-have features to make £80 seem like great value for money.

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