If you can't decide which format to back in the
The front panel has a piano-black design and features a disc tray and a small LCD display. The BH100 is quite a bit smaller than competing next-gen players in depth (ie how far back it goes), although it is taller than the .
At the top of the player, unusually, there are some glowing controls. On the far left is the power button. To the right there are controls for ejecting the disc tray, play/pause, stop and adjusting the display resolution. It's an interesting choice aesthetically, and it's actually easier to use than a normal player as you crouch down to press play, but of course it means you can't stack anything on top of the unit.
To the rear of the player are the connections you would expect on a top-of-the-range player such as this. HDMI is present, though it's only capable of outputting HDMI 1.2, not the superior 1.3. There are also component outputs for older televisions, or screens without HDMI. Audio is well catered-for with analogue 5.1 outputs as well as digital audio out in the form of both coaxial and optical digital. There's also a composite video out, which we sincerely hope you'll never use.
The remote control is fairly large, but it's light and doesn't feel too ungainly. The controls you'll use most, the ones for controlling playback, are in the logical place and you shouldn't struggle to find them with your thumb in a darkened room. The remote has a backlight, but it's only on the five keys that make up the menu direction pad and the enter button, which sits in the middle of the direction keys. This light seems slightly pointless and won't be much help to most people.
The most important feature is the player's ability to cope with both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs.
The player doesn't support HDMI 1.3, which means it can't output uncompressed audio such as DTS HD and Dolby True HD. Instead, these audio formats are down-converted within the player. What you get out of the digital audio outputs will depend on the disc you're playing.
Blu-ray discs will output both DTS HD and Dolby True HD as DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 respectively. When you're playing back an HD DVD disc, DTS HD will output DTS 5.1, but Dolby True HD will only be two-channel PCM audio.
The addition of a 5.1 analogue output is useful, allowing you to hook up the player to your existing 5.1 amplifier.
To get the best out of the Super Multi Blue we hooked it up to a 1080p television, the . We tested a number of discs, recorded on both formats, including our Blu-ray faves Casino Royale and Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and our HD DVD copies of Serenity and Happy Gilmore.