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 basics:

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.

The Summary:

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.

  1. John Hwee
    July 11, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    Nice review Brian. I just stumbled upon this website as I was trying to figure out if this can play DiVX files from an external hard drive, precisely a WD MyBook 500 GB. Is this possible? I see a deal on Costco for $59.99+tax. Please get back to me if you can (preferbly email). Thanks!

  2. Ed
    July 11, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    I just got one of these at costco, too.

    it definitely won’t play divx above 720×480 (or somesuch), the screen will briefly say something like “video resolution not supported”.

    John — it will definitely play divx from an external hard drive (or at least some hard drives, so i can’t say for certain about your mybook). One thing is certain, any device be it a flash drive or a hard drive MUST be formatted FAT or FAT32.

  3. Ed
    July 11, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    oh, and another thing:
    I am seeing some divx files playing very well, and others playing noticably jerky. These are all episodes of same show i downloaded off of tvtorrents. the bitrate is the same, so doesn’t explain anything (they are all like 175MB for a 22 minute episode).
    It is definitely NOT stuttering — as it does when you try to play a straight-ripped DVD.

  4. John Hwee
    July 11, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    Ed, thank you for your reply.

    Another thing I have read about are slower loading times, but that can be fixed with a newer firmware upgrade online (per FatWallet users, not sure if you know that).

    I have another question (sorry for hijacking this blog), how does the GUI/HUD look like? I’m thinking it looks like Windows Explorer where it has the HDD/Folder selection on one side and DiVX files, etc… on the right side.

    Thanks.

  5. Ed
    July 13, 2007 at 12:42 am

    the GUI looks like something from the early 90’s.
    on usb, the filenames are mangled to 8 chararcters with the ~1.
    That apparently revovles around a patent microsoft has on the FAT32 long filenames.
    on the CD, it displays (truncates?) the first 14 characters.
    So, the lesson is you need to be a little careful with filenames.

    also, this fixed my jerky divx playback i was seeing on some files but not others:

    KiwiKid posted 2006 Dec 26 13:58
    It sounds like a packed bitstream issue to me as you guessed. I own four different Philips players with DIVX support. While they do play packed bitstream unlike some other players it is a little jerky especially evident in panning shots as you have noticed. I have done tests comparing the same scenes packed and unpacked to verify it. The latest GSpot beta is great for quickly checking if a movie is packed and Mpeg4 Modifier appears to be the tool most use for unpacking. I now unpack all movies as it takes less than five minutes.

    mpeg4modifier is at: http://www.videohelp.com/tools?tool=MPEG4_Modifier

  6. Dave Chainey
    July 13, 2007 at 5:59 am

    A question. Can you output a picture via HDMI, but the sound via the digital coaxial? In other words if the HDMI is attached, does it mute the digital coaxial?

  7. July 14, 2007 at 3:16 am

    Yes, you can output over HDMI and the coaxial audio out, but you need to shut off the HDMI Audio function.

  8. Paul
    October 25, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    I recently purchased this dvd player because it had a USB connection. I’m finding one annoying thing is when watching divx I can’t seem to go back to the directory to select a different, I have to power off and on the player, anyone else have this problem? The ‘menu’ button won’t take me back to the directory listing all the files on the disc.
    Thanks, Paul

  9. Wayne
    January 11, 2008 at 2:10 am

    I just bought one of these for the 1080p upconvert function but when I hook it up with the HDMI cable to my Toshiba 42HL167 I get an HDCP error and the signal is cut off.

  10. Ed H
    January 20, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I recently purchased this DVD player and I am quite disappointed. Whenever I play a DVD in a video mode greater than 480p, I get picture distortion on the outer left and right edges of my screen. I am using it connected to my Sony 40V3000 via HDMI. I have changed about every setting on both the TV and DVD to no avail

  11. Ed H
    January 20, 2008 at 8:41 am

    Addendum to my prior comment. I have also updated the firmware. Still the problem exists.

  12. Oldster
    February 20, 2008 at 7:00 am

    AN AWSOME POOR MANS MEDIA CENTER

    Been using one of these for a while now. Tried 3 different USB 500gb hard drives all work fine.
    The one I like the best is the Maxtor OneTouch ($119 at Staples). It has no on/off switch but instead automatically powers itself down when not in use and powers up when required.
    The Philips does the same thing as does my TV makeing it realy easy to not worry about anything spinning or burning out when not in use.
    I plan on picking up a usb hub and should be able to plug all 3 in at the same time giving me access to 1.5 terrabytes of content without every using a disc again.

    There are many limitations to the interface most are due to the use of a 1980s filesystem.
    Drives must be formated as a MSDOS FAT32. I used a Mac running OSX to format the drives as a single MSDOS partition without any problem.
    As typical of the FAT32 format only the first 8 characters are displayed on screen.
    Thankfully on my computer the full filename is still keep it easyily organized by file name.
    Files/directories are displayed in the order that they are written.
    If you want them sorted you need to sort them ahead of time. I simply move the files to a temporary folder and the move them back which sorts them alphabetically as they appear on the computer.
    You can only see 4 files at a time and can only page up or down, no quick way to the top or bottom but you can use the left arrow key to go back one directory level.
    For this reason I break them down to many folders and try not to have too many files in a single a directory.

    I keep lowres (720×483) jpegs of every movie – named the same as the movie file.
    I found that higher res jpegs take to long to display and look worse than the lowres.
    I use the .0.jpg to get it to trick it into displaying the jpegs directly above the .avi

    A typical directory when the drive is plugged into my computer looks like this:

    I.Am.Legend_2007.0.jpg
    I.Am.Legend_2007.avi
    I.Could.Never.Be.Your.Woman_2007.0.jpg
    I.Could.Never.Be.Your.Woman_2007.avi
    I.Now.Pronounce.You.Chuck.And.Larry_2007.0.jpg
    I.Now.Pronounce.You.Chuck.And.Larry_2007.1.avi
    I.Now.Pronounce.You.Chuck.And.Larry_2007.2.avi

    When plugged into the dvd player, on the screen it displays as:
    IAMLEG~1
    IAMLEG~1
    ICOULD~1
    ICOULD~1
    INOWPR~1
    INOWPR~1
    INOWPR~2

    As you move the cursor over the JPGs a thumbnail is displayed to the right.
    The AVI’s display nothing. Selecting the JPG file displays a full screen image, after 5 seconds it skips to the next producing a nice slide show.
    You can also display 9 thumbs up at a time and page forward/backward as a way to quickly select a file.
    Selecting Stop at any time brings you back to the menu with the cursor over the last file displayed meaning the move is right below it.

  13. Isaa
    May 16, 2008 at 6:09 am

    Have problem with DVP5982: Have my USB 8GB Kingston Flash drive it not recognize by 5982. I did take my Flash drive and bring to my friend 5960 DVD player – works fine. Spoke to Phil. support they say your player did not support DivX on USB input. Than support tell me other BS. My 8GB works fine on PC. It formatted as FAT32. However, have another 4GB Flash and it works fine on my DVD player. I did put on 8GB some MP3 and JPEG files and no recognize by my player.
    PLESE I ANYBODY!!!

  14. Relieved
    November 15, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    I have 2 USB 8GB Kingston Flash drives and 1 USB 4GB Kingston Flash drive. After much research and testing, I accidentally stumbled upon a solution to this problem.

    Place any USB 2.0 Hub in the DVD’s USB port.
    Do not leave it there it will not work.

    Without powering the DVD player off, insert the Kingston drives and they work just fine.

    Science ZERO dumb luck ONE.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: