Blu-ray Players

Toshiba BDX3000 Blu-ray 3D Player



Installing the BDX3000 is just like setting up any other Blu-ray player. You’ll need a 3D display obviously, if you want to use that feature. For most of the review, the BDX was connected to Toshiba’s WX800 LED TV. Despite the higher bandwidth required by the HDMI 1.4 interface, I had no trouble using one of my trusty Blue Jeans cables. If a dealer tries to convince you to buy a new pricey HDMI cable for your 3D setup, tell him you’d like to try your old cables first. Chances are they’ll work just fine. I also plugged in an optical cable to test the player’s musical abilities.

The menu system is easy to navigate with a tree-style interface that progresses from left to right as you drill down through the options. The main menu is split into Settings and Connected which accesses all the player’s Internet features. I’ll talk about those a bit later. One thing I did not like was the menu’s sluggish response to remote commands. There is no flipping quickly through settings with this player. Each key press takes at least two or three seconds to execute. That includes merely scrolling down a list of options. I don’t know if the remote or the player’s firmware is the culprit here but it sure was annoying.

To set up the player you can opt for a Quick Setup which selects the language, resolution, aspect ratio, wireless, disc auto play and the screen saver duration. If it is your first time turning it on or you’ve done a factory reset, you’ll be presented with Quick Setup automatically. You can bypass it and run through all options manually of course, which is what I did.

Display options extend to setting the output resolution, aspect ratio, film mode, deep color and the 3D mode. Output resolution usually works fine when set to Auto but I prefer to force 1080p just to be safe. TV Aspect will nearly always be 16:9 Pillarbox which shows 4:3 DVDs correctly with bars on the left and right. Film Mode is the 24p option and you’ll want to set that to on if your display accepts that rate as most do nowadays. I discovered leaving this on when streaming content from Netflix results in extreme judder. I believe this is a design flaw since you have to go to the setup menu every time to turn Film Mode off when you want to stream. You can turn on Deep Color if you want to output video at 4:4:4 or 36 bits-per-pixel. This is a setting I always turn on when possible and the BDX handled the color up-conversion perfectly. Blu-ray 3D Mode should be left on Auto if you want 3D discs to show correctly. You can force 2D if you want.

Moving on to Audio settings we have PCM Downsampling (48 or 96kHz), Digital Output, Dynamic Range Control and Stereo Downmix. Digital Output is where you’ll choose bitstream or PCM output. If you have an HDMI 1.3 or later receiver, you can let it handle the decoding by choosing bitstream. Choosing PCM relegates decoding duties to the player. There were two other choices here I had not seen before, Bitstream Legacy and Bitstream Mixed. Legacy sends a DTS or Dolby Digital feed from the core track encoded on every Blu-ray disc. Mixed will add in menu sounds and PIP audio and send a DTS stream to your receiver. Choosing either one of these means you won’t experience lossless audio. Dynamic Range Control can be set to On, Off or Auto. Auto means the compression will be applied to all audio codecs except Dolby TrueHD. In that case, compression will be applied if the correct flag has been set during the disc authoring process. Finally, Stereo Downmix processes multi-channel audio to the two-channel analog outputs. You can have straight stereo or a surround encoded version that is compatible with older Dolby Pro Logic receivers and processors.

If you are using the analog multi-channel outputs, the speaker setup is limited to choosing large or small for each channel and setting the sub crossover. There is no adjustment for delay or level. I have to wonder why Toshiba bothered with analog outputs when they have provided no proper way to calibrate a surround system.

The Language Setting menu lets you change options for the on-screen menus and the default language used with discs and the subtitles. The Parental Control menu gives you the option of blocking content past a certain MPAA rating. Once configured, this setting can be locked with a four-digit numerical password. The final menu is called System Setting. Here you can toggle Auto Play, set the time zone, choose the screen saver duration, toggle the CEC control support or update the firmware. This can only be done over the network, not from a USB device or SD card. Normally, the player will prompt you when it finds a new update. You don’t have to check for them manually. You can also reset all options to their factory defaults.