The Lenoxx DVD-725B initially came to my attention as it was being sold for the (then) amazingly low price of $399.
On paper, this player offers a whole lot of bang for your buck, and its features include;
The Lenoxx DVD-725B has a reasonably functional and well laid out front panel.
The left side of the front panel carries a hard power on-off switch. Unusually, this player does not have a stand-by mode. Placed oddly next to the power on-off switch are the FAST REWIND and FAST FORWARD buttons. It is surprising that these buttons are not with the other DVD navigation buttons on the other side of the player. Below these buttons are two microphone inputs for Karaoke vocals as well as level and echo controls for these inputs.
The center of the front panel carries the disc tray and the rather busy fluorescent display. The second Lenoxx unit that I evaluated had a Raite DVD-ROM transport mechanism which did not fully eject its tray mechanism, necessitating very careful placement of DVDs in order to avoid scratching them on the lip of the disc tray. The fluorescent display had a rather annoying disc spinning graphic that could not be dimmed. Flanking the disc tray is a not-very-useful MENU button and an OPEN/CLOSE button.
To the right of the disc tray are the remainder of the player navigation buttons, comprising PLAY, PAUSE, STOP, CHAPTER SKIP FORWARDS, and CHAPTER SKIP BACKWARDS. Below these buttons are 11 neatly-arranged numeric keys. These are limited in their functionality for DVD playback as they can only select TITLES and not CHAPTERS. The player responds very sluggishly to presses of any of its keys.
The rear panel of this player is equipped with a fair selection of outputs. From left to right;
5.1 audio outputs from the inbuilt Dolby Digital decoder start the rear panel off. The Left and Right Front outputs double as stereo mixdown outputs if the DVD player is configured for analogue 2 channel output.
Next to the 5.1 connectors are a composite video connector and an S-Video connector. This player does not offer component nor RGB video outputs.
Next to the video connectors is a single RCA connector confusingly labelled "DTS" which is in fact a coaxial digital audio output. There is no optical digital output.
Finishing off the rear panel is a wired-in power cable.
The centrepiece of this remote control are the shaped arrow keys with a central SELECT key. These keys, as with all of the keys on this remote control, have a definite positive action about them, so there is no doubt that you have pressed a key.
The main DVD navigation buttons are located a long way away from the central arrow mechanism, at the bottom of the remote control. Pleasingly, the PLAY button is oversized, and is therefore relatively easy to locate in the dark. Also pleasingly, the STOP button is nowhere near the rest of the player navigation buttons, so there is little chance of inadvertently pressing it. Admittedly, the STOP button has been placed in a very odd position near the arrow keys, but this is forgivable.
The SUBTITLE, LANGUAGE and ANGLE buttons are reasonably placed in the top left corner of the remote control.
The MENU button is placed accessibly but oddly at the top right of the remote control, also a very long way away from the center of the remote control.
The operating range and angle of operation of the remote control were perfectly satisfactory.
Whenever the player was powered on, it defaulted to NTSC video output unless the video output had been forced to PAL via the setup menu. This was a minor operational annoyance.
The Lenoxx DVD-725B produced a perfectly serviceable image, no better and no worse than I have seen from any other player based on this fundamental design. In terms of the quality of the resultant image, this player well-and-truly belies its asking price, with image quality that matches DVD players of twice its price. The image was reasonably sharp and there was little in the way of inserted video noise in the signal.
However, the video output from this player exhibited two minor annoying characteristics which are common to this design. Occasionally, a frame would be dropped from the image resulting in a momentary skip in the video stream. This would occur 2 - 3 times per DVD, and would not recur if the offending point was rewound and replayed. This is an artefact that particularly annoys me, but I suspect that most viewers would simply not notice it. It is very much a "blink and you'll miss it" type problem. The second minor glitch that this player exhibited was an occasional subtle vertical skip in the image, once again a common characteristic of this player design. This was even less frequent and even less noticeable than the dropped frames glitch.
The player carries no zone markings and played both Region 4 and Region 1 DVDs. Occasionally, it would take an inordinately long time to load a DVD, and indeed would sometimes fail to read a particular DVD, however ejecting and reseating the DVD in the disc tray resulted in the disc playing the second time around with no problems. This only occurred with the first evaluation unit. The second unit did not exhibit this problem.
The fast forward and fast reverse functions of this player are of average smoothness. 2x, 4x, 8x and 20x speeds are available.
RSDL layer changes resulted in a short pause, typically of the order of 1/4 - 1/2 second.
Subjectively, there were no audio sync problems. Objectively, the analogue vs digital delay was 11 milliseconds, a result consistent with no audio sync problems.
DTS digital output is supported by this DVD player. MPEG audio bitstreams are converted to Linear PCM for digital output rather than being output as native MPEG bitstreams.
There are some major operational issues with the digital audio output from this DVD player, depending on the way the AUD OUT option in the setup menu is set.
If the AUD OUT option is set to BITSTREAM, Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams will be outputted from the digital audio output. However, Linear PCM bitstreams WILL NOT be outputted digitally from DVDs. This is a major and significant glitch in this DVD player's handling of digital audio. If the AUD OUT option is set to STEREO PCM, Dolby Digital will be downconverted to two channel Linear PCM and will be outputted that way. Linear PCM digital audio is produced in this mode. If the Audio Output options are set to either ANALOG 6CH or ANALOG 2CH, no digital audio is output in any format.
The bottom line with the digital audio output from this DVD player is that you cannot output both Dolby Digital and Linear PCM digitally without entering and adjusting the player's setup menu. This is a fundamental flaw in the design of this player and one which makes it unsuitable for use in a digital audio setup.
The analogue audio outputs of the DVD player, on the other hand, always provided an output signal.
MP3 output is quirky and flawed, but is acceptable through the analogue audio outputs of this player. I noted frequent and annoying "chirps" in the MP3 output which occurred several times per song and which were not present in the original MP3 files. The second unit I evaluated did not have this problem.
The Lenoxx DVD-725B will not output MP3 audio digitally except in one very specific configuration. If the AUD OUT is set to STEREO PCM AND a DVD containing a Dolby Digital soundtrack is played first, then this player will output MP3 audio via its digital audio output. Under all other circumstances, MP3 audio is only output via the analogue audio outputs. This quirk has been rectified with the revised firmware, but at the expense of introducing other more serious problems into the MP3 playback function as detailed above.
There appeared to be no shuffle function for MP3 playback, so playback will only occur sequentially, a potential problem for those interested in this unit for MP3 playback.
Plays CDRs and MP3s, subject to the DVD-ROM drive being able to read the discs.
Multizone out of the box.
Macrovision free out of the box.
Reasonable remote control.
Cannot output Dolby Digital and Linear PCM digitally from DVD using the same setup configuration.
No control over the inbuilt Dolby Digital decoder.
Imperfect MP3 playback with no shuffle function.
Unusable PAL-50 output.
Extremely suspect quality control in view of the glitches exhibited by both evaluation units.
|Video||Component Output||RGB Output|
|Audio||DTS Output||MP3 Playback|
|Inbuilt Decoder||Dolby Digital|
|Value For Money|
|Product Type:||DVD-Video, Video CD, Audio CD and MP3 player|
|Signal System:||PAL / NTSC|
|MPEG Decoder:||Zoran/Fujifilm MD36710X (Vaddis III)|
|Audio Frequency Response:||4Hz - 22kHz (48kHz sampling)
4Hz - 44kHz (96kHz sampling)
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||>90dB|
|Total Harmonic Distortion:||0.003%|
|Dimensions:||430 (w) x 300 (d) x 77 (h)|
|Distributor:||Lenoxx Electronics (Australia) Pty Ltd
5 Grace Court
Sunshine VIC 3020
© Michael Demtschyna
9th September 2000