Philips DVP5982 Review
(Original: July 17th, 2007. Updated: 2/10/2008
To go along with my HDTV, I decided that I needed to upgrade my DVD player. While my Insignia DVD Recorder/VCR didn’t look awful, it certainly didn’t look good. And while the quality of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are definitely impressive, the on-going format war combined with the cost made those players inviable options.
Enter the market of upconverting DVD players. These players, which take your standard 480i DVDs and scale them to high-definition resolutions are as common as regular DVD players these days. Places like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City, are full of them. I’ve actually owned two of them.
I started with the highly-touted Sony DVP-NS75H which is truly a great machine. It has a great design and a super picture quality. Sadly, it only upconverted to 720p or 1080i, not 1080p as my set is capable of. While I’d like to think that I’m not a total videophile, I noticed some of the ghosting and artifacts that interlaced video can expose when put on a big screen. Despite the claim of my HD monitor to do de-interlacing, I was finding that it didn’t do an especially good job.
Enter the Philips DVP5982. Based on Philips well-received 5960 the 5982 adds support for 1080p output as well as improved USB compatibility. I returned the Sony, picked this one up, and set it up. Here are some of my observations:
The DVP5982 is a basic upconverting player that you can get for around $70. It includes an HDMI output for upconverting along with coaxial digital audio outputs, plus the standard analog outputs (component, s-video, composite, and stereo audio). There is no upconverting over the component outputs however. It supports DivX file playback (as long as they’re standard resolution and not too large) over USB from a FAT32 formatted device or from a burned disc. The menu system on the 5982 is a bit archaic and hard to read, but it’s manageable.
What I Like:
- True 1080p output. I was suspect of whether the 1080p output would make any visible difference over the 1080i of the Sony. I was wrong, the 1080p output made a huge difference in certain troublesome scenes from movies. I had noticed with the Sony that whenever there was a light or white background (such as a white wall or the sky) and there was motion in front of it, there were artifacts left all over the screen. In the same way, motion scenes would blur and leaving ghostly lines on the screen. Those problems are largely gone with the Philips.
- DivX playback. One of the nice features is the ability to play DivX files of all sorts on this machine. Originally I had a hard drive attached to it (via USB), but I actually found that burning files to a disc was a much easier way to take advantage of this feature. The limitations of USB are two-fold really. The inability to use long file names (Toy Story would look like Toy St~1.avi) and the fact that anything with a bit rate over 2500 kbps won’t play properly. One nice bonus feature is that this player will pass Dolby Digital audio track over the coaxial connection from either DVDs or DivX files.
- Image Quality – While clearly not in the same league as either my Mac Mini (which does an excellent job deinterlacing things) or a high-end Denon or Oppo, the image quality from this player is more than acceptable.
What I don’t like
- Audio Output – this machine will either output over the HDMI cable OR the digital coaxial out – but not both at the same time. This really is only a minor problem, but it can make things more complicated than they need to be
- The Disc Tray – The tray feels kind of floppy and cheap
- The Menu System – Simply put, it’s awful. Once you figure out the fonts and how it works, it makes sense, but the visual appearance really leaves something to be desired.
Well, seldom am I so glad I spent $70 on something. Some minor inconveniences aside, for the price you cannot beat this player if you’re looking for 1080p (or want to future-proof you DVD player). I feel very comfortable waiting out the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray battle with this player attached to my HDTV – DVDs look fantastic. The DivX playback, while somewhat limited by what USB devices can be attached, is a really nice added feature. Plus, at the price of DVDs its almost easier to just burn files to a disc. But for me it was the combination of price and 1080p playback that convinced me – and I haven’t been disappointed.