Toshiba BDX5200 review: Toshiba BDX5200

Toshiba's suite of streaming media services hits a lot of the major services we like (Netflix, Vudu and Pandora), but it pales compared to other midrange Blu-ray players. If you're interested in services like Amazon Instant, MLB.TV and Picasa, you'll have to go with another player. Check out our detailed comparison of streaming content portals for details.

Connectivity
HDMI outputs Single Analog outputs Stereo
Component video output No Digital audio outputs Coaxial
USB ports 1 SD card slot Yes

The Toshiba's output selection is pretty standard, although the inclusion of the SD card slot is nice for quickly viewing photos from a digital camera. The lack a component video output is not a major loss since even players that have a component out are limited to 480i resolution, due to annoying AACS rules.

Blu-ray disc load times and player speed
Average seconds Composite score
Disc loading 51.35 Disc loading 69
Netflix 33.95 Netflix 86
Navigation 8.02 Navigation 98
CNET speed rating 78
Higher composite scores indicate faster performance, with an average 2011 Blu-ray player having a composite score of 100. For more information, see our guide to how we test Blu-ray players.

CNET speed rating
(Longer bars indicate faster performance)

The Toshiba BDX5200 has a CNET speed rating of 78, which means it's significantly slower than an average 2011 midrange Blu-ray player. It lags behind competitors the most when it comes to disc-loading, taking longer with both standard movies and movies with extensive menu systems. While it's average on standard navigation tasks, it's also slow loading Netflix--both loading titles and getting to the main Netflix screen. (It's also worth noting that our speed tests are done using a wired connection, so the wireless troubles we had didn't come into play here.)

The main takeaway is that if speedy performance is important to you, the Toshiba isn't a good choice. If you're interested in all the details about the BDX5200's speed compared to other 2011 players, check out our full 2011 Blu-ray player comparison chart and scroll down to the load times section.

Image quality
We put the BDX5200 through our full battery of image quality tests, but before we get to the results, let's be perfectly clear--we don't think most buyers should worry about image quality when deciding what Blu-ray player to buy. The differences, especially on the Blu-ray side, range from minute to nonexistent, and even DVD performance is very close between players. The only exception is for people with home theater projectors, where you may actually see a difference on a 100-plus-inch screen. In that case, it may be worth shelling out for a reference-level Blu-ray player like the Oppo BDP-93.

If you're into the nitty-gritty image quality details, again, check out our full 2011 Blu-ray player comparison chart and scroll down to the performance section. For more information on our testing procedure, consult our guide to how we test Blu-ray players.

Blu-ray image quality: test patterns and program material
Film resolution Pass "Ghost Rider" Pass
Video resolution Pass "Mission: Impossible III" Pass
Text overlay on film Fail "Sunshine" Pass
Cadence tests 8/8 "Tony Bennett: An American Classic" Fail
Chroma zone plate Pass "NIN Live: Beside You In Time" Pass

The BDX5200 passes the vast majority of test patterns and program material tests we threw at it. We wouldn't worry about the few failures. Yes, we could see some tearing artifacts in the background of the "Tony Bennett: American Classic," but unless you're looking for it, you probably won't notice. For the vast majority of Hollywood movies shot on film, you'll see identically excellent image quality from any Blu-ray player, including the BDX5200.

Streaming-video image quality
Netflix Pass

The BDX5200 technically passes our streaming-video image quality test, but not without reservation. The image quality was fine, but we had inconsistent performance with the wireless connection. It was considerably slower than a wired connection, sometimes drastically so: the player told us a simple firmware update was going to take several hours over the wireless connection. While our testing area is crowded with plenty of Wi-Fi networks, we've tested tons of wireless products, including Blu-ray players, in the same location without trouble. Wireless performance is subject to numerous factors, but we'd make sure you buy from a retailer with a lenient return policy in case it doesn't work well in your wireless environment.

DVD image quality: test patterns and program material
Film resolution Pass "Seabiscuit" Pass
Video resolution Fail "Star Trek: Insurrection" Pass
Text overlay on film Pass "Invite Them Up" Pass
Cadence tests 8/8

DVD image quality isn't a problem for the BDX5200, passing all our program material tests and the vast majority of our test patterns. We don't notice that much of a difference in DVD upconversion image quality anymore these days, so this shouldn't be a big factor in your buying decision.

Conclusion
The Toshiba BDX5200 costs a little less than competing midrange Blu-ray players, but you'll miss out on worthwhile extra features and speedy performance.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Network Connection Ethernet
    Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Internet Streaming Services Netflix
    CinemaNow
    YouTube
    Vudu
    Pandora
  • Additional Features 3D ready
    BD-Live
  • Media Type CD-RW
  • Type Blu-ray disc player
  • Built-in Audio Decoders Dolby Digital
    Dolby TrueHD
    Dolby Digital Plus
    DTS-HD
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Upscaling via HDMI Up to 1080p
About The Author

Covering home audio and video, Matthew Moskovciak helps CNET readers find the best sights and sounds for their home theaters. E-mail Matthew or follow him on Twitter @cnetmoskovciak.