Lenoxx DVD-725B DVD Player

    The Lenoxx DVD-725B is typical of a new breed of DVD player appearing on the Australian marketplace. Built in China, and based around the American Zoran VaddisPlayer reference design, they all offer strikingly similar features at a strikingly similar price. The VaddisPlayer design is fundamentally a good one, with a few notable minor problems, and differentiating one player from the other is more a matter of evaluating the add-on features, price, operability and presentation of each entrant in this increasingly-crowded market segment rather than having any concerns about the basic image quality.

    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;

    In actual operation, however, this player ultimately is extremely rough around the edges and not the bargain of the century that it appears to be. Because of problems with the functionality of the first Lenoxx DVD-725B that I evaluated, I agreed to evaluate a second unit with updated firmware. The firmware update rectified a number of problems that I had with the first unit, but the second unit had a number of unique problems of its own which has made me lower the overall rating of this unit even further.

What's In The Box

    The following items are included in the box;     The Lenoxx DVD-725B is only available in Silver and is not exactly an attractive-looking unit. It looks and feels like a budget DVD player.

Front Panel

    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.

Rear Panel

    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.

Remote Control

    The Lenoxx DVD-725B remote control is remarkably good in its own way. It is by no means the best remote control that I have ever seen, but I have seen plenty that are far worse, and from far more well-known brands than Lenoxx. In general, the DVD player was relatively easy to operate from its remote control, which is more than I can say for many other DVD remote controls. Most importantly, it passed the super-critical spouse acceptability test - a rare feat indeed for a DVD remote control.

    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.


    The brief manual is written in quite poor English, filled with such phrases as "You may select preferred story section to view(beginning, pullulation, climax and finale)" (sic). It is patently unhelpful in actually getting you to understand how to operate the DVD player, as it merely tends to repeat that which you already know, and is very short on actual informative content.

Set-Up Menu

    The set-up menu of the Lenoxx DVD-725B is text-based and quite spartan, being comprised of a meagre three screens of adjustable options. One notable omission is meaningful control over the inbuilt Dolby Digital decoder, with the only configurable option being the ability to set the presence or absence of a subwoofer. There is no control over individual speaker levels, sizes, or delays. This severely limits the usefulness of the inbuilt decoder.

Video Playback

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

    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.

On Screen Display

    The on-screen display is not overly attractive, but it does get the job done. You are presented with a single screen of information on elapsed time, time remaining, current language and subtitles. Subtitle and audio languages are indicated by relatively decipherable three letter codes, such as ENG, ARA, and HEB. Functional key-presses on the remote are accompanied by various appropriate words appearing on the on-screen display such as Open and Play.

Standards Conversions

    The Lenoxx DVD-725B can convert NTSC DVDs to PAL-50, which is compatible with the vast majority of TVs in the Australian marketplace. However, this output is extremely jerky on both video-based and film-based material and is consequently unwatchable. Additionally, significant audio skipping occurs with high bitrate NTSC DVDs during this conversion. This was readily evident during the Image Montage on the Video Essentials DVD. You should not consider this conversion as a feature of this DVD player, as it is not of adequate quality to be usable.

CDR & Video CD

    The Lenoxx DVD-725B can play back CD-R media and Video CDs. Having said that, the second unit that I evaluated (based on a Raite DVD-ROM transport) had a lot of trouble reading CDs and CD-Rs in general, with even original CDs skipping severely. The only CD or CD-R medium that it appeared to read without trouble was Princo silver-blue CD-Rs.

Audio Playback

    I used this DVD player with both its coaxial digital output and with its analogue audio outputs, for reasons that will become apparent.

    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 Discs

    The Lenoxx DVD-725B can play CD-Rs with MP3 files. I created a test CD containing 108 MP3 files contained within 7 subdirectories to test this feature. The first player I evaluated located all 108 MP3 files. The second player I evaluated only located 68 MP3 files. I then tested an MP3 disc with 108 files in its root directory. The second player only located the first of these files, so a directory search bug has clearly been introduced into the firmware of this player.

    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.

Disc Compatibility Tests

    As previously mentioned, some DVDs took an inordinate amount of time to load into this player, but they all played in the end, and no specific compatibility problems were noted. The second evaluation unit was not capable of playing CDs; pressed or burnt, presumably because of a fault with its transport.


The Good Points
    Reasonable image quality.

    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.


The Bad Points
    Some minor image glitches.

    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.

Features At A Glance

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

In Closing

    Fundamentally, the Lenoxx DVD-725B produces a reasonable quality video image. However, it suffers from a number of crippling operational flaws and characteristics that severely limit its functionality, particularly in its handling of digital audio. Attempts to fix this with updated firmware resulted in the production of a player that had had some issues addressed, but which had other new bugs introduced into the player by the revision, raising the spectre of quality control in my mind. At its very best, this player MAY be worth considering as a cheap second DVD player for the bedroom, but to be honest, there are equally-featured and less buggy players out there which are more worthy of your consideration.

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: Multi-Zone
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
Dynamic Range:  
Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.003%
Dimensions: 430 (w) x 300 (d) x 77 (h)
Weight: 5kg
Price: $399
Distributor: Lenoxx Electronics (Australia) Pty Ltd
5 Grace Court
Sunshine  VIC  3020

© Michael Demtschyna
9th September 2000