The firstwas released early in 2009 and we thought it was a solid player for a good price. However, only six months later it has been replaced by an upgraded model: with better features and a sturdier construction.
While the first Kogan Blu-ray player was quite distinctive with its capacitive blue play controls the new machine is a little more conservative looking. It features the black and silver look that's been popular for several years — even if it means that the controls are now a little harder to spot. While its predecessor was plastic the revised version is metal and features ventilation holes and a stamped Blu-ray logo.
The remote bundled with the player isn't too bad. It may be a little ugly, but most functions are placed within easy reach.
The new Kogan Blu-ray player is what appears to be a brand new design and features several new functions. Most importantly it now supports the "final" version of the Blu-ray Profile: BD-Live. While this interactive protocol has yet to pique the public's interest in new developments such as the IMDB-like to make support for it a little more compelling. To support this the player comes with an Ethernet port and a USB drive for storing BD-Live info on, which is mounted on the front. While putting the port on the front makes it easier to access we would have preferred two ports — one on the back for BD-Live and one on the front for plugging in external media drives.
The other important inclusion is the provision of a 7.1 channel output, which is unheard of at this price. With on-board decoding of HD audio codecs Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio this means you can use an older receiver to enjoy lossless audio. The Kogan will also allow you to stream these out to be decoded by a modern receiver as well.
As with many other Blu-ray players, the Kogan will upscale DVDs to full 1080p-ness, and will also support the Blu-ray standard of 24p — which aims to reproduce films at the same frame rate they are shot for reduced judder. As an addendum to this the Kogan will also playback titles from overseas.
Lastly, the Kogan Blu-ray discs claims to be able to load discs in an average of 24 seconds, and while we didn't get to officially test this we found that multimedia-heavy discs such as Spider-Man 3 did load relatively quickly.
Kogan products have so far beenand , but we're happy to say we were quite impressed with this one. For the price it delivers features and performance you'd have to pay a lot more for in a "name" brand.