Toshiba BDX2700 review: Toshiba BDX2700

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The Good Excellent Blu-ray image quality; Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, and Blockbuster streaming; built-in Wi-Fi; 7.1 analog outputs.

The Bad Slowest operational speed we've tested this year; competing players offer more streaming media services; not DLNA-compliant; somewhat bulky design.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba BDX2700 is currently a little cheaper than other midrange Blu-ray players and includes 7.1 analog outputs, but otherwise there's little reason to favor it over faster models with better features.

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6.4 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6

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 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.

While its spec sheet looked promising, the BDX2700 was a little disappointing once we got out 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 being 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 compliancy. 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 difficultly placed touch-sensitive buttons. There are basic play and stop buttons on the front; we would have like some chapter skip buttons, too. Overall the Toshiba won't turn any heads in your AV rack, but it's not an eyesore, either.

BDX2700's front panel
The BDX2700's front panel includes a few playback buttons and an SD card slot along the bottom.

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--while other important functions, like popup menu, are elsewhere. The rest of the remote is better, with a separate area for playback controls toward the bottom and the numpad appropriately stashed at the bottom.

User interface
The less-than-polished look of the BDX2700 carries over to the user interface. While 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.

While we appreciated that the BDX2700 includes an initial setup guide when you first turn it on, the guide doesn't include Wi-Fi setup. Instead, you have to dig through the menus to configure wireless access. Considering that Wi-Fi is one of the few things that actually needs to be configured on a Blu-ray player, it seemed like an oversight.

BDX2700's user interface
The BDX2700's user interface isn't as straightforward as we would have liked. For example, jargon like "Connected" and "BD-ROM" are used, where simpler phrases like "Streaming media" or "Blu-ray" could be used.

Moving on to its streaming-media services, we were pleased to see that the BDX2700 uses the most recent version of Netflix's interface, so it's possible to browse a few categories in addition to your instant queue, such as "Movies You'll Love" and "New Arrivals."

BDX2700's Vudu interface
When we first tried Vudu, the user interface was distorted in a way that made movies look unwatchable. You can fix it by altering the settings, but we have preferred it working correctly out-of-the-box.

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.


Key Blu-ray features
3D Blu-ray No Onboard memory No
Wi-Fi Yes Blu-ray profile 2.0
The BDX2700 has the basic feature set expected of a midrange Blu-ray player, including built-in 802.11N Wi-Fi. We would have liked at least 1GB of onboard memory, which is available on the competing Samsung BD-C6500 and Sony BDP-S570. The BDP-S570 is also 3D compatible, although we don't consider the BDX2700's lack of 3D to be a major missing feature since the format is still in its infancy.

Streaming media features
Netflix Yes YouTube No
Amazon VOD No Pandora Yes
Vudu Yes Slacker No
CinemaNow No Picasa/Flickr No
DLNA compliant No Weather No

While the BDX2700's collection of streaming-media services should suffice for many buyers, it lags behind the variety of services offered by the competition. The BDX2700 does cover the three types of services we consider most important: subscription-based streaming movies (Netflix), rental-based streaming movies (Vudu and Blockbuster) and a free streaming-music service (Pandora). However, competitors offer extras like YouTube and Picasa, and most midrange Blu-ray players also offer DLNA-compatibility, enabling you to stream music, movies and photos from a networked PC. These missing features might not matter for the mainstream user, but techies will miss the additional functionality.

Audio decoding capabilities
Dolby TrueHD Yes DTS-HD Master Audio Yes
Dolby Digital Plus Yes DTS-HD HR Yes
Bitstream output Yes SACD/DVD-Audio No

Like nearly every Blu-ray player available now, the BDX2700 offers onboard decoding for both high-resolution Dolby and DTS formats. If you're looking to play back SACDs and DVD-Audios, you'll need to look to Oppo's competing players; Sony's BDP-S570 also offers SACD playback.

AV outputs
HDMI version HDMI 1.3 Stereo analog Yes
Component video Yes Multichannel analog 7.1
Composite video Yes Optical/coaxial Optical

The BDX2700 has a better-than-average connectivity for this price level. The big step-up is the inclusion of 7.1 analog outputs, which allow those with older, non-HDMI receivers to take advantage of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks at their full resolution. It lacks a coaxial digital audio output--which many other players have--but that's only a problem if you're out of optical inputs on your AV receiver.

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