The physical appearance of the
DVD-P401 is very, very sleek. It's a nice gray with matching remote to
boot. The player features the standard component output (something to consider
if you want optimum picture quality), s-video, digital audio out (both in
optical and coaxial) and your standard audio/video RCA jacks. Even the biggest
AV squad aficionado should be satisfied here.
The front bezel and user
interface on the unit is very simple. Only the most basic of buttons are
visible (play, forward/back, stop, eject and power). A very nice look indeed
when considering the virtual button-ladden consoles of many other DVD player
on store shelves.
One thing I would like
manufacturers to start doing (whether it's a TV, VCR or DVD player) is to
implement the "setup" button as part of the standard button set on the front
bezel of the electronic device. I've had an older TV where you cannot add and
remove channels without the remote. Needless to say, the remote is damaged and I
cannot access this function anymore. Something to think about if you plans to
keep your players for a long time as many of the features on the P401 are
accessible solely by the remote.
Hidden doors are great at
providing you all the features available through the remote on the face of the
unit should you every be sans' remote.
I have one thing to complain
about concerning the OSD menus. The screen shows a return button, but the remote
doesn't have the same iconography. Where is the "return" button? Where is the
"return" button! It is incredibly frustrating since the buttons on the
remote don't coincide with the picture on the screen.
On screen, it is depicted as a
circular icon leading me to believe I should be looking for a similar looking
button on the remote. However, hidden within the nest of similar looking buttons
was the "return" button except that it didn't look like what I saw depicted on
the screen at all. Instead of an icon, it is just a generic looking button
entitle "return". It was only after the third time, when playing with the on
screen menus, did I remember to stop searching for this fabled "return" button
and remember where it was. AArgh!
All else considered the remote
for the P401 is very smooth flowing when it comes to the general
layout of buttons. The most used buttons like play, stop and especially the
4-directional cursor and enter buttons are all centrally located so that it was
Basically, if you are in the
market for a new DVD player, and you have an older TV that you plan to
eventually upgrade, you should get a progressive scan DVD.
You can be the judge of whether
or not this player is a worthy choice. I think the sporadic pixelization problem
is something of minor concern. It's pretty obvious to me when I compare the
P401 with my Toshiba SD-2150 that it's a problem with the unit,and not the
To learn more about progressive
scan, check out the progressive scan article at
Secrets of Home Theatre and High Fidelity.