JNL 7001 DVD Player

    The JNL 7001 DVD player is an entrant in the increasingly crowded sub-$500 non-brand-name "does it all" DVD player category. With a RRP of $449, it would seem to be reasonably attractively priced, however, the number of operational faults and annoyances that I found with this player make me very hesitant to recommend it, even taking into account its modest price.

What's In The Box

    The following items are included with each player;     The JNL 7001 is only available in champagne.

Front Panel

    The JNL-7001 utilizes one of the standard chassis designs commonly used by players in this price range. Build quality is passable for the price point of the player. I have seen some worse, and I have seen quite a few better.

    The hard-wired on-off switch is on the left side of the front panel. The player nominally has a stand-by mode which it enters after the player has been in stop mode for a period of time, however, stand-by mode cannot be entered via the remote control and a DVD idly displaying its main menu will not trigger this mode. Once in stand-by mode, pressing any key will reactivate the player, but not act on the keypress. This particular behavioural quirk got quite annoying very quickly, particularly given the very lengthy time this player takes to fully power up and become responsive to commands.

    The center of the panel carries the disc tray and the non-dimmable fluorescent display. The disc tray is quite slow to open and close and periodically extremely noisy whilst playing DVDs or CDs. The transport is a Raite DVD-ROM transport, one which I have seen in various low-end DVD players, and one which I have never been overly satisfied with. The transport takes a very long time to recognize inserted media, often taking 15 seconds or more to discern the disc format.

    The right side of the DVD player carries a well-placed OPEN/CLOSE button along with basic DVD navigation buttons and two Karaoke inputs with matching level controls. The DVD player seemed to take an inordinately long time to respond to keypresses on the front panel.

Rear Panel

    The rear panel of this player is equipped with a comprehensive selection of outputs, albeit slightly unusually configured. From left to right, the player features;

Remote Control

    Over the time that I have been reviewing DVD players, I have seen many, many bad remote controls, and a few good remote controls. The JNL-7001's remote control is one of the more ordinary ones that I have seen. It is very poorly laid out and even downright mislabelled.

    The focal point of this remote control is the arrow key mechanism. Whilst this mechanism is adequately laid out and responsive, the rest of the remote's layout is quite poor. The ENTER button is placed in a non-descript position below the arrow keys, making it very hard to find. The PLAY button is similarly badly placed non-descriptly above the arrow mechanism, buried amongst the other DVD navigation keys.

    The subtitle and audio keys are not only mislabelled but also seemingly arranged with no thought given to the ergonomics of their placement. The key labelled AUDIO does not change the current audio track - that is the job of the key labelled LANGUAGE, located next to the AUDIO key. In fact, the AUDIO key is used to select the audio playback configuration when playing Karaoke discs. It will also not be immediately obvious that the key labelled CAPTION is used to select subtitles.

    The operating range and angle of operation of the remote control were below average, with the player seeming to be very fussy about any deviation of the remote in the vertical plane, particularly at longer operating distances.


    The manual for the JNL 7001 is passable. Most of the information is presented in a readable fashion, and most aspects of the DVD player's operation are covered. The quality of the English is a tad better than most manuals in this price range of player, at least until page 34, from which point it deteriorates markedly.

Set-Up Menu

    The set-up menu of the JNL 7001 is text-based and fairly spartan. There are several unusual configuration options available in the menu that may be a tad confusing at first, but the manual makes a reasonable attempt at explaining the options available. One particular option may well prove to be problematic; VIDEO OUT, which toggles the component video outputs on the rear of the player between composite and component video output.

    There is no meaningful control over the inbuilt Dolby Digital decoder, with the only available option being one to indicate to the decoder whether or not a subwoofer is present.

Video Playback

    All video playback tests were performed with the player set to 16x9 output mode, utilizing its S-Video output.

    The JNL 7001 produced a generally acceptable video image. Whilst not the sharpest I have ever seen, it is certainly adequate for the job-at-hand. Finer image details were lost on this player. The player did, however, suffer from a few image anomalies, in common with many budget players based around the Zoran Vaddis III decoder chip. It would occasionally drop frames, resulting in a minor but noticeable image skip several times during the course of a typical movie. It also exhibited an occasional vertical skip, less frequently than the dropped frames problem, but nonetheless noticeable. Oddly for a Vaddis-based design, this player was not capable of passing an NTSC blacker-than-black signal.

    The level of exhibited chrominance and luminance noise was perfectly acceptable.

    The review player was marked as a Zone 4 player and initially only played appropriately zoned DVDs. Following the included instructions (1. Open Tray;  2. Press 2180X on the remote, where X is the desired Region code 1-6 or 9 for Auto;  3. Close Tray), I placed the player into Auto Multizone mode. This allowed the player to play back discs from all zones, including the RCE-protected The Patriot R1.

    The fast forward and fast reverse functions of this DVD player are available in four speeds; x2, x4, x8, and x20. They are of average smoothness.

    RSDL layer changes resulted in a noticeable pause of around 1/2 a second.

On Screen Display

    The on-screen display is extremely basic, providing only information on Time Elapsed, Time Left, and the current Title, Chapter and Track.

    The DVD player knows a comprehensive number of language names, displayed as three character abbreviations. The JNL-7001 was only the second DVD player that I have tested that correctly recognized and displayed the names of all of the subtitle tracks on my St Elmo's Fire test disc.

    Functional key-presses on the remote are accompanied by various on-screen icons and text messages, often to the point of excess where menu navigation was marred by unnecessary pop-up text messages.

Standards Conversions

    The JNL 7001 is capable of converting NTSC to PAL-50. Unfortunately, this conversion is unsatisfactory, with extreme video jerkiness and severe audio skipping evident.

CDR & Video CD

    The JNL 7001 can play back CD-Rs and Video CDs.

Audio Playback

    I used this DVD player with its coaxial digital output and had two specific and quite irritating problems. During the playback of any media other than MP3 CDRs, periodic audio dropouts would occur. Typically, this would occur between 3 and 6 times per disc, and was intensely annoying when it did occur. Additionally, during the playback of an Audio CD-R that had been recorded in Track-At-Once mode, the player would "pop" in between tracks.

   Subjectively, I noted no audio sync problems with this DVD player, an observation borne out by the objective analogue vs digital delay measurement of 11 milliseconds.

    DTS digital bitstream output is supported by this DVD player. MPEG audio bitstreams are output digitally as either raw MPEG audio or Linear PCM audio depending on the setup of the player, although setting MPEG audio to be output as Linear PCM also entails forcing Dolby Digital to be output as Linear PCM, which may be less than ideal in many circumstances.

MP3 Discs

    The JNL 7001 can play CD-Rs with MP3 files stored on them. It plays them with no audible flaws. It is particularly worth mentioning that it can output them as Linear PCM digitally and MP3 playback does not suffer from the audio skips referred to previously.

    The on-screen display for MP3 playback simply displays the current Track Number and the Total number of Tracks on the MP3 CD.

    There appeared to be no shuffle function for MP3 playback, so playback will only occur sequentially.
Test Disc Format (all Princo CDRs) Results
108 MP3s in 7 subdirectories Found all files.
108 MP3s in root directory Found all files.
128Kb/s, 256Kb/s, 320Kb/s and Variable Bit Rate Unable to play back Variable Bit Rate MP3.
Multisession CDR (4 sessions, each with one added MP3) Interpreted CD as Video CD. Unable to play back at all, not even the first session.

Disc Compatibility Tests

What Is Tested
The Matrix R4
Follow The White Rabbit
Tests active subtitle feature and ability to load hybrid DVD/DVD-ROM
Video and audio pause momentarily just before the White Rabbit symbol appears on-screen although branching works correctly otherwise and disc loads fine.
Terminator: SE R4
Menu Load
Tests ability to load complex menu
Independence Day R4 Seamless Branching
Tests ability to handle seamless branching
Audio skip on return from branching point in Theatrical Version.
The Patriot R1
Tests ability to handle RCE protected DVDs in Auto multizone mode.

    No other DVD that I tested with the JNL-7001 had any specific playback problems other than those referred to in the Video Playback and Audio Playback sections of this review.

User Convenience Features

Screen Saver/Auto Power Off Limited Auto Power Off (see review text for detailed description)


The Good Points

    Plays CD-Rs and MP3s.

    Multi-region, RCE compatible.

The Bad Points
    Very noisy DVD transport mechanism.

    Poor remote control.

    Annoying video and audio skips.

    Unsatisfactory PAL-50 conversion.

Features At A Glance

Video Component Output RGB Output
Audio DTS Output MP3 Playback
Plays CDRs
Conversion PAL-50 (but output is unusable)
Inbuilt Decoder Dolby Digital

In Closing

    Whilst relatively inexpensive and quite well-featured, the number of major flaws that I found whilst testing the JNL 7001 DVD player makes it impossible for me to recommend it.

Ratings (out of 5)

Build Quality
In Operation
Value For Money

Technical Specifications (Manufacturer Supplied)

Product Type: DVD-Video, Video CD, Audio CD and MP3 player
Region: Zone 4 (Australia/New Zealand & South America)
Signal System: PAL / NTSC
Serial Number Of Unit Tested: 0832945 (unit #1 - had a major video fault and could not read blue-green CD-Rs)
0577581 (unit #2)
MPEG Decoder: Zoran/Fujifilm MD36710X (Vaddis III)
Audio Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Signal to Noise Ratio: >95dB
Dynamic Range: Not stated.
Total Harmonic Distortion: Not stated.
Dimensions: 430 (w) x 320 (d) x 80 (h)
Weight: 5.0kg
Price: $449
Distributor: JNL Electronics Pty Ltd
Unit 2
2 South Street
Rydalmere  NSW  2116
Telephone: (02) 9898-3188
Email: info@jnl.com.au

© Michael Demtschyna
31st May 2001