If you're a TV manufacturer these days, you really need to sell some Blu-ray players too if you want to rake in maximum dosh. That's the reason Toshiba ended up once its HD DVD format had finally croaked. Philips has invested more in Blu-ray, though, so it stands to reason that the company would put more effort into its players, like this one, the BDP8000.
Designed to work with 3D televisions, the BDP8000 offers plenty of awesome features, unique styling and excellent image quality. You can expect to pay about £200 for this player.
Looks like a skunk
Finished in shiny black, with a bold silver strip across the front, the BDP8000 looks distinctive and attractive. The supplied remote control matches those that accompany the company's newer TVs, like the updated, LED-backlitmodel.
The remote is smaller and more rounded than most, and fits satisfyingly into the palm of your hand. It also matches the black colour of the player -- the TV remotes are generally silver -- so you shouldn't struggle to pick up the correct controller if you also have a new Philips TV.
On the back of the BDP8000, there are component video outputs, which were originally designed for delivering analogue high-definition video. They'll soon be disabled by some Blu-ray discs, however, meaning you'll only get a standard-definition image out of the player. This probably won't be a problem for the majority of people, who are perfectly happy with HDMI, but, if you're using an older TV with few or no HDMI inputs, this might be an issue.
Not everyone has an HDMI-capable amplifier, so we're pleased to see the inclusion of 7.1-channel analogue audio outputs on this player. This, combined with built-in support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA, means you can send decoded audio to an older amplifier, experience the brilliant sound quality offered by these lossless codecs, and not have to spend a fortune on a new amplifier.
We expect connections like this on a high-end player, such as the BDP8000, but that doesn't mean every manufacturer bothers to include them. Well done, Philips.
Clear and pleasant menus
Looking at the menus on the BDP8000 is, by and large, a pleasant experience. The home screen is clean and offers just enough options, without overwhelming the user. From the home screen, you can play the disc, access video content via the Internet or a USB stick, and access the player's configuration options.
In terms of configurations, you can opt to fix the player's output at a resolution of your choice, such as 720p, 1080p or 1080/24p. These options are useful if your TV has trouble automatically negotiating a resolution for some reason. The BDP8000 also offers an automatic resolution option, which will be just fine for most people.
Additional options are provided for tweaking the quality of the picture and its colour output. We'd advise you to avoid these, as such alterations are best made on your television.