To be brutally frank, there's nothing that exceptional or noteworthy about the design of the DVD-1720, and that's even putting aside the view that most people will have seen more than their fair share of DVD players. That's neither a good nor a bad thing, however, as the layout is instantly familiar, the black casing should fit into just about any interior decor scheme, and it's surprisingly light as an overall unit. The front panel contains everything you'd expect from a DVD player, along with an extremely quiet loading DVD tray. The rear of the unit hides the composite, component and SCART connectors, along with optical audio connectivity. This simple design also extends to the remote. It's a lengthy black number, but in a nod to obvious usage -- one that's so obvious we wonder why more manufacturers don't do it -- the common playback controls are clearly distanced from every other control on the remote, right at the bottom. The practical upshot of this is that it's virtually impossible to hit the wrong button on the DVD-1720's remote.
The standout feature of the DVD-1720 isn't the progressive scan DVD playback, something that's almost standard on decent DVD players, but the inclusion of support for DivX files burnt to DVD-+R/RW discs, something that more and more "brand name" DVD player manufacturers are picking up on. The DVD-1720 supports DivX 3.11 and better encoded files. Along with DivX support, the DVD-1720 will support MP3 and Windows Media audio files burnt to a disc, along with Kodak Picture CDs.
The progressive scan playback of the DVD-1720 was good in our testing, with a crisp and clear picture from multiple titles. The onscreen display is clear and easy to follow, and as previously mentioned, the remote has an uncluttered design that makes it particularly easy to use. Predictably for a unit currently on sale in Australia, the test sample we saw insisted it was a region four disc in the instruction booklet, but had no problems playing back discs from any region.
The drawcard for the DVD-1720, however, has to be its support for DivX files, and here it's more of a mixed offering. We burnt a variety of files to a test disc, and while the DVD-1720 recognised that we'd loaded a disc, it wasn't until we hit the menu button that it actually offered us a scan of the files present within. Predictably, files burnt with a differing resolution to standard TV came up in smaller windows -- and here the DVD-1720's zoom functionality was a real boon -- but we also noticed that some files encoded with older versions of the DiVx codec tended to be very slow to initially begin playback. As there's no onscreen indication of disc activity, you can sometimes be left with gaps of up to 20 seconds while you wait for a file to load, with no indication of whether it will actually work or not.