When Toshiba rolled out its first Blu-ray player, the BDX2000, in late 2009, it seemed like a begrudging move by the former backer of the HD DVD format, with the player lacking streaming and premium features that were then standard on other midrange players. When the BDX2700 was announced at CES 2010, it was obvious Toshiba was ready to take the former rival format seriously, with the newer player offering built-in Wi-Fi, 7.1 analog outputs and a suite of streaming features that includes Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, and Blockbuster. It's also currently selling for a couple of bucks cheaper ($180 street price) than the midrange players of many competitors, although not quite as cheap as Vizio's VBR200W.
Though its spec sheet looked promising, the BDX2700 was a little disappointing once we got our hands on it. Its design is a far cry from the sleek and slender exteriors offered by Samsung and Sony, and it also wound up the slowest Blu-ray player we've tested this year. And though the BDX2700 has the main streaming features we consider important, most Blu-ray players offer more, including DLNA compliance. The BDX2700 isn't a bad Blu-ray player if you can get it at a discount, but we couldn't find a major reason buyers should prefer it over the alternatives.
Blu-ray players have gotten much slimmer over the years, but the BDX2700's design seems to be stuck in the past. It has a large, boxy look, coming in at 16.9 inches wide by 2.5 inches high by 8.3 inches deep. We did appreciate that the BDX27000 avoids some of the design pitfalls common on competitors, such as a flip-down door or inaccessible touch-sensitive buttons.
The less-than-polished look of the BDX2700 carries over to the user interface. Though competitors have spiced up their players with colorful high-def graphics, the BDX2700 has a more basic look. In this case, basic doesn't mean easier; if you want to play a Blu-ray movie, for example, you have to select "BD-ROM," rather than a simpler phrase like "Watch Blu-ray." Streaming services like Netflix and Vudu are in a section confusingly labeled "Connected" and are represented by simple white text rather than logos.
When we first fired up Vudu, the interface appeared to be significantly distorted. The picture was "window boxed," meaning that there were dark gray bars on the top and sides of the image. Even worse, when we started a movie, the picture fills the entire screen, but you can still see where the bars are, as the image is much lighter in those areas. When we asked Toshiba about it, the company suggested changing the overscan settings in the Vudu menu and this did the trick. It's worth pointing out, however, that we haven't run into this issue with other players.
The BDX2700 has better-than-average connectivity for this price level. The big step up is the inclusion of 7.1 analog outputs, which allow people with older, non-HDMI receivers to take advantage of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks at their full resolutions.
The included clicker breaks with a lot of the standard Blu-ray remote conventions. Yes, there's a directional pad toward the top of the remote, but it's surrounded by a ring of buttons. Most of the buttons seem strangely out of place--like the volume up/down buttons and chapter skip buttons. The rest of the remote is better, with a separate area for playback controls toward the bottom and the numberpad appropriately stashed at the bottom.