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Kogan Blu-ray Player BD 2.0 review: Kogan Blu-ray Player BD 2.0

The renewed Kogan Blu-ray player is a bargain, with many of the niceties of much more expensive players but you can't expect video precision for the price.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
5 min read


Kogan Blu-ray Player BD 2.0

The Good

Quick loading. 7.1 analog outputs. Slick menus. Decent picture. Easy to region unlock. Good sound. Cheap.

The Bad

Some jerkiness in playback. Unable to read even small scratches.

The Bottom Line

The renewed Kogan Blu-ray player is a bargain, with many of the niceties of much more expensive players but you can't expect video precision for the price.

The first Kogan Blu-ray player was 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 However, only six months later it has been replaced by an upgraded model: with better features and a sturdier construction.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 movieIQ 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 been hit and miss, 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.

The user interface is one of the most important aspects, and while some products can make do without one, it's vital that a video device has one. We were delighted to find that the menu system of the Kogan was slick and easy to use.

But what matters is if the disc player can actually play discs right? Well, we found that yes it could. Very well in fact — especially given the paltry asking price. Slinging a Blu-ray such as Mission Impossible III in the player and we found that the Kogan reproduced it with a minimum of additional noise and an eye for detail.

We followed this with another JJ Abrams blockbuster, Star Trek, and found that it was able to reproduce the movie's moody colour palate and frenetic action sequences faithfully. One thing we noticed, though, is how the player handled movement. In one section, James Tiberius Kirk speeds across the desert in the background, and on the Kogan the motorbike he's riding jerks spasmodically across the screen. On a player such as the Oppo the movement is more fluid.

DVD replay was also handled well, and scene 48 was replayed with deep blacks and natural colours, and yet there was still the faint stuttering on tracking shots such as the planes flying over the Empire State Building that we saw with Blu-ray.

We've had horrible experiences with the audio performance of budget players in the past: while they can usually do vision, stereo audio is often forgotten. We were pleasantly surprised to find this is a capable CD player. It may lack some of the bass that a dedicated unit like the Cambridge Audio DacMagic, the stereo focus is good and rhythm is snappy.

Soundtrack audio was also well-handled and if you have an old receiver you may find the 7.1 out handy, although you may want to reduce this to 5.1 compatibility because when it's set to 7.1 it didn't play through the centre channel for some reason. Our Sony 5400 receiver decode sounded better as there was a lack of response from the LFE when the Kogan did the duties, but it was able to handle surround effects.

Having been impressed with the original's multi-region playback we tested its replacement's capabilities. To get it to multi-region you need to have the tray ejected and then press "9113" on the remote. A menu then appears asking which region you'd like for either DVD or Blu-ray which you select using the number keys. Unfortunately, your choice is stored in volatile memory so if you turn it off you have to repeat the process. The function wasn't always foolproof as on one or two occasions the player refused to accept a disc, simply spitting it out again with a "REGN ERR" message.

Though performance was generally good, there were still some rough edges on the way the player operated. It was generally noisy, and with even a mildly scratched disc the player would audibly tick and burp, and sometimes plain refuse to play it. Playback of digital files was also a little loose — for example, we found it wouldn't play more than four minutes of our test Red Right Hand 320k MP3. We were unable to replicate the problem with another file, but have never had problems with this file on other players.

The player also likes to throw up a "prohibited" icon at odd times, even when you're trying to do something innocuous like pressing stop during the Spider-Man 3 BD menu, for example. To get out we had to press the Eject button to then enter the Set-up menu.