Apex AD-1200 review: Apex AD-1200

The AD-1200 displays stills from Kodak Picture CDs and standard CD-Rs filled with JPEG images. We really like the slide-show feature, especially since a CD-R can hold hundreds of digital photos. You can rotate and zoom into images, but finding a particular picture on a disc is a pain.

The back panel is missing a component-video output, although most users at this price level won't mind. The single digital-audio output is coaxial rather than optical--an unfortunate choice since optical connections are more common among A/V receivers. An S-Video output, two standard video outputs, and a set of left and right stereo-audio outputs round out the jack pack.

The AD-1200's picture quality falls short of acceptable. When we connected the player to our TV with the standard, yellow video output--the one that we suspect most buyers of this deck will use--the images were plagued by a field of faint diagonal lines that marched slowly across the whole picture. Unlike many so-called flaws in DVD pictures, these lines weren't subtle, and we'd bet that anybody would notice them. The S-Video output didn't have this problem. Perhaps the lines were unique to our review unit, but even if that were the case, it's disconcerting nonetheless.

That's too bad because the rest of the AD-1200's video performance was fine for an entry-level unit. Resolution measured the full 480 lines, the picture passed the blacker-than-black PLUGE test, and images appeared neither too sharp nor overly soft. We did notice blocky MPEG noise in shadowy reds and dancing pixels in darker areas of the picture, but these issues fall under the definition of the word subtle. Analog audio from both CD and MP3 sources sounded fine.

Even though the AD-1200 is really inexpensive, we can't call it a bargain. Competing DVD players from companies such as Samsung are available for around $100 to $120, and frankly, the AD-1200 isn't worth the money that you'd save. We'd be more receptive if it weren't for the major picture flaw, but unless you're using only the S-Video port, you should probably take a step up in the Apex line or invest in another inexpensive DVD player.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Media Type CD-R
  • Type DVD player
  • Sound Output Mode stereo