The 3D Blu-ray player market is becoming fairly saturated and prices have dropped dramatically in just a matter of a couple of years, as consumer apathy for 3D viewing has become apparent. The Toshiba BDX3200, at the time of writing, is available online for below £100 so even if you’re not interested in the third dimension of viewing, it represents potential good value as an old fashioned 2D spinner plus giving the option to dip a toe in to 3D, in the future. Just what value that represents is dependent on how it fares with our set of objective tests - so let’s see what it can do…
The BDX3200 isn’t blessed with a multitude of connections, in fact it’s pretty much the bare minimum. Aside from the essential HDMI port, there’s a coax digital audio out, stereo audio and composite video jacks and a LAN connection. And that’s it, so no component video and the SPDIF digital audio connection is coax only. There’s also no secondary HDMI for taking HD audio to non 3D capable AV Receivers. So it’s worth thinking about how your existing kit will interact.
We had no problems with the remote control, being of a good size and with well placed, rubberised buttons. There’s also some handy shortcut buttons, such as for changing resolution and entering the Media Centre to save the user having to delve in and out of the main menu. It would have been nice to have some backlighting as we prefer our movie viewing in very subdued lighting but you’ll soon learn the placement of the key buttons by touch.
Menus and Set Up
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 control. 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. It should be mandatory!
The Display Setting Menu houses most of the interesting features, as far as we’re concerned, and even a surprise or two, therein. The Display Menu houses three sub options - TV, Video Process and Motion Video Process. The TV item has options for Screen Ratio, Resolution, Colour Space, HDMI Deep Colour, HDMI 1080p/24 as well as the limited 3D options. We can’t dictate what Colour Space is best for all displays but YCbCr422 will be a fairly safe bet for most. 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 a 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.
Furthermore, and the surprise we alluded to earlier, under the curiously named Motion Video Process menu there’s even a full colour management system allowing alteration of both primary and secondary colours on all three axes -Hue, Saturation and Brightness (aka Luminance). We’ve had our trials and tribulations with Toshiba’s CMS in the past whilst calibrating televisions but we weren’t going to let the opportunity pass. Faced with a couple of displays without fully fledged CMS’s, the BSX3200 was able to rectify some small errors in the secondary colours (Cyan/Magenta/Yellow) without introducing any nasties in to the picture, which is the problem found in the Regza TVs. We can’t say the same about using it for the primary colours (Red/Green/Blue) but it’s certainly a welcome addition for the calibrators out there and adds a new dimension to the player. To make use of the CMS, one most select the Custom Video Mode setting and we’d advise either this or Standard as Vivid and Cinema introduce processing.
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 current software version as well as the mac address ascribed for those that have made use of the LAN connection.
Running through the Spears and Munsil disc revealed that the player is capable of producing full luma and chroma resolution, meaning our output won’t be losing any fine details, even if the display isn’t capable of showing them.
Disc Load Times
- 2D and 3D Blu-ray playback
- Correctly detected common SD film cadences
- Menus are easy to navigate
- Semi-functional Colour Management System
- Video deinterlacing not the best
- Lack of features may put some off
- SD scaling could be Better
- Slightly limited connectivity options
Toshiba BDX3200 3D Blu-ray Player Review
The Toshiba BDX3200 3D Blu-ray player barely puts a foot wrong. It might not be the best looking player, it doesn’t come stuffed to the gills with smart features and there are players with more comprehensive connectivity but, what you do get for typically sub £100, is a spinner equally as capable at handling Blu-ray discs - in either 2D or 3D - as any we’ve tested. We even found that our old DVD’s were handled with due care and attention. It’s a synch of a Recommendation, especially given the price, and we’d urge you not to ignore this Toshiba.
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
Our Review Ethos
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