Toshiba BDX1250 Blu-ray Player Review

Will Toshiba's budget Blu-ray player put the supermarket brands to the sword?

by hodg100
Home AV Review

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Recommended
Toshiba BDX1250 Blu-ray Player Review
SRP: £90.00

Introduction

Having just reviewed the excellent value Toshiba BDX3200 3D Blu-ray player, there was a certain sense of déjà vu approaching the testing of the Toshiba BDX1250. On the face of it, the BDX1250 looks to be a clone of its stable-mate, bar the exclusion of 3D playback and a couple of options in the menus but we’ve learned never to take things at face value as manufacturers often use different processing chips in lower tier products.

At the time of writing, the BDX1250 is widely available for under sixty pounds, which puts it more or less on a footing with ‘no name’ supermarket brands, in terms of pricing. We’re certainly not casting aspersions over the merits of these lesser known manufacturers but we’re sure there will be readers out there whom would feel more assured in buying products from more established companies, both in terms of after sales support and future software upgrades. If the BDX1250 can match up to the two dimensional performance of the 3200, there’s definitely a bargain in the offing; so let’s grab the remote control and settle back whilst we run through our full testing regime.

Styling/Build/Connectivity

Toshiba BDX1250KB

The Toshiba BDX1250 is almost the proverbial black box, save for some chrome effect detailing above the front panel. Its looks are certainly nothing to write home about but, then, we’re not going to be swayed by cosmetics and we’re far more concerned about how it performs with optical media. Given the price-tag there's understandably a relatively budget feel to the construction so don’t go stacking your equipment on top of it, should you take the plunge. The front panel has the Blu-ray logo at its centre, to the left of which is a disc loading mechanism that can be quite noisy in operation but this would only be an issue if you were sat close enough to hear it and/or it’s not hidden away in a cabinet or rack. During testing we had ours shut behind a glass door with a host of other kit and it never became worryingly hot. To the right of the logo there’s the display panel that provides feedback on disc playback and further to the right are some ‘proper’ buttons for, Stop, Play/Pause, Open/Close and for powering the player on and off. None of that touch sensitive business here and frankly we're glad of that.

Toshiba BDX1250KB

Like the BDX3200, the BDX1250 is hardly awash with connectivity options and prospective owners will need to consider what their existing kit requires. There’s no optical audio out (just coaxial), for example. As well as the coax audio output, to the rear we have a HDMI port, a LAN connection and a USB port for flash drives, both for BD-Live and limited media playback duties.

Toshiba BDX1250KB

The remote control is an undoubted disappointment being both very small and correspondingly ‘fiddly’ to operate with diminutive buttons that need to be located with care to avoid incorrect selection. It’s useable, however, and we’re not going to make a big hullabulloo over the cheap feel and look as we shouldn’t really expect anything better. Corners need to be cut somewhere to hit price points and Toshiba have undoubtedly done so here.

Menus and Set Up

Following a brief wizard on initial set up, we were presented the same, clean GUI found in the BDX32000 that had everything in pretty much the ‘right’ place. The main menu is split in to four sub menus - General Setting, Display Setting, Audio Setting and System Information.

From the General Setting menu there’s access to five further sub-headings, System, Language, Playback, Security and Network. The System items include such options as setting discs to auto-play on loading, a Screen Saver and whether to engage CEC (aka Regza Link) that enables control of compatible devices through the Toshiba remote. This, whilst sounding good, generally leads to more bother than it’s worth. The Language option is self-explanatory as are Security and Network, whilst the Playback options include settings for PIP (Picture in Picture), Angle Mark – allowing enabled discs to be viewed from alternate viewpoints – and Last Memory, which will resume play from the last played point when enabled although only some Blu-ray discs support the feature. We said it in the 3200 review but we’ll say it again – all discs should be made to carry this feature and we sympathise those that complain over its omission when the last gen of optical media could handle it.

Toshiba BDX1250KB
Toshiba BDX1250KB

The Display Setting Menu is home to all of the key video settings and is made up of two further sub menus, TV and Video Process. The TV item has options for Screen Ratio, Resolution, Colour Space, HDMI Deep Colour and HDMI 1080p/24. We can’t tell you which Colour Space is optimum for your display without testing but YCbCr422 will be a safe option for the majority. Anyone that is concerned over those choices is likely to possess the knowledge to assess them, in any case. We’d certainly advise ensuring 1080p24 is set to On, if your display supports it, and a 16:9 Normal setting for screen size wont stretch 4:3 content. Under the Video Process heading, there’s a further collection of settings from Video Adjust as well as Sharpness setting ranging from Low to High. The Video Adjust settings comprise the usual television front panel controls of Brightness and Contrast in addition to Hue and Saturation. The Saturation control works like the Colour controls found in TVs and it’s certainly nice to have the option to fine tune these picture options where they can’t quite be done display side.

Toshiba BDX1250KB
Toshiba BDX1250KB

The Audio Setting Menu allows the user control over the sound output over the Coax and HDMI connections with choices of PCM, Bitstream and Re-encode. The Down_samp item is a little mislabelled and allows for sampling frequencies of 48, 96, and 192 kHz. The final item, DRC (Dynamic Range Control) will soften effects whilst keeping dialogue clear, if you’re sensitive about waking up the family and/or neighbours. We’ll leave that one for your conscience to decide. The final sub-menu, System Information, will display the current software version as well as the mac address ascribed for those that have made use of the LAN connection.

Features

The Toshiba BDX1250 is certainly no upgrade box for those looking to board the Smart TV train and it’s ‘frills and extras’ are limited to the ability to play back jpeg photo files and mp3 audio through USB storage. As Toshiba lists support for the Dolby True HD & DTS HD audio formats, in addition to BD-Live as a feature, on their website we’ll mention them here too but we know you’re not really fooled!

1080p Playback

From here on in, if you’re familiar with the recently published BDX3200 review, we will excuse you for not reading the next few sections as it would appear the BDX1250 is empowered by the exact same 2D processing capabilities found in its 3D sibling. Provided the Vivid and Cinema modes are avoided, i.e. choose Standard, the BDX1250 put no taint nor added backdoor processing to 1080p24 encoded material which is what the vast majority of Blu-ray discs carry. As with the 3200, the BDX1250’s Vivid mode was just to beastly to look at that it wasn’t worth the electricity to measure its effects but the Cinema mode was interesting in that it applied a linear alteration to the gamma curve. Our displays are generally calibrated to a 2.2 target and the Cinema mode typically altered this toward 2.3. It’s not the biggest crime and, in fact, displays that lack gamma controls or have an unsatisfactorily response could benefit. In all other facets the signal was barely altered but, if you’re satisfied with the set up of your display, use the Standard mode.

Checking with the excellent Spears and Munsil disc we were pleased to see the BDX1250 producing full luma and chroma resolution, meaning our output won’t be losing any fine details. Your display might not be so capable, however, but at least you’ll know not to blame the player.

1080i Playback

Bearing in mind the results we got form this facet of testing with the BDX3200 we weren’t surprised to note some noticeable jaggies with the diagonal interpolation tests but other than that (likely to be a minor, for most) issue other areas of HD interlaced playback showed no problems, including cadence detection of both the most common 2:2 (PAL) and 2:3 (NTSC) cadences.

SD Playback

As we mentioned in the 3200 review, the various Toshiba TVs we’ve recently tested have shown some inconsistencies here but the BDX1250’s output of DVD material was very good. Both 480i and 576i content were scaled well, with just a touch of softness, with no undue loss of detail or ringing artefacts. Where the Regza televisions have sometimes srtuggled with cadence detection, the BDX1250 had no such problems, gaining and maintaining a lock within a split second. We’re (OK, I’m) lucky enough to be blessed with a couple of small children that roam around this AVForums outpost and their assortment of Disney DVDs were represented with due care and attention in displays ranging in size from 32 to 55 inches.

Disc Load Times

It’s rare we get any nasty surprises with the stopwatch in hand tests and the BDX1250 didn’t have us nodding off whilst waiting for discs to load. Typically we reached copyright warnings at around the 30 second mark and only where there were large amounts of BD Live content did we find ourselves twiddling our thumbs. Users can select to disable BD Live in the menus for a small speed boost, which we did but more because BD Live is generally worthless rather than to save time.

Energy Consumption

In standby we couldn’t get the energy monitor to read any consumption and, whilst in operation, the Toshiba BDX1250 Blu-ray player was using only a parsimonious 6.5w on average.

Verdict

6
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

The Good

  • Unfettered 1080p playback
  • Excellent cadence detection
  • Price
  • Nice menu system

The Bad

  • Slightly soft scaling
  • Video deinterlacing could be better
  • Build quality isn't the greatest
  • Remote control is small and fiddly
  • Connectivity is limited
  • Potential stuttering issues - although we didn't have any

Toshiba BDX1250 Blu-ray Player Review

Yet again we’ve been presented with a player that really has no major weaknesses in terms of its primary purpose of playing Blu-ray discs, artefact free and with no underhand processing adversely affecting the signal sent to the display. The Toshiba BDX1250 simply gets the job done and, for the prices at which it’s available, it represents a bit of a steal. With the money saved owners could potentially redirect funds in to purchasing more Blu-ray discs to watch or put it towards that bigger display they have their hearts set on. We were also impressed by the BDX1250’s handling of plain old DVD too, as it had no issues in detecting the standard definition film cadences and displayed them with no unnecessary deinterlacing steps, albeit with slightly soft scaling.

Build quality isn’t the greatest we’ve seen but then it’s not as though a disc spinner should undergo much wear and tear and, whilst, the tray mechanism was a little on the clunky side, we’d anticipate the majority of owners will have their Blu-ray players ensconced in a rack or be sat too far away for it to be an issue. The remote control supplied is somewhat on the small and fiddly side and we weren’t fans but then, it’s easy to forgive when price point is taken in to consideration. The menus were well planned and easy to navigate and although it was slightly disappointing that the BDX1250 didn’t share the colour management system of the 3200, we shouldn’t really expect something like that in a budget player. As with the 3200, playback of media files is restricted to USB devices and only photo and music files at that, so there’s no networking options and the BDX1250 certainly shouldn’t be considered as a make do media streamer.
If added value extras aren’t a concern and you’ve no interest in 3D, you could certainly do worse than invest a fairly small amount of money in to the Toshiba BDX1250 Blu-ray player!

Note: We are aware that some of our members have encountered stuttering issues with the playback of Blu-ray discs with the, ostensibly, identical BDX 1200 but we had no such issues with the 1250 but it’s perhaps worth keeping an eye on the 1200’s dedicated thread in the Blu-ray players Forum to monitor the latest developments.

Recommended

Scores

Picture Quality

.
.
.
7

Sound Quality

.
.
8

Features

.
.
.
.
.
5

Ease Of Use

.
.
.
7

Build Quality

.
.
.
.
.
.
4

Value For Money

.
.
.
7

Verdict

.
.
.
.
6
6
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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