Palsonic DVD-2000 DVD Player

    I am going to start this review off with a negative comment, but don't let that put you off reading the rest of this review if this comment does not apply to you. Owners of PAL-only capable display devices need not read any further. This DVD player is not for you. Owners of PAL and NTSC capable display devices, on the other hand, should keep reading since the Palsonic DVD-2000 is a remarkably decent performer for its price.

What's In The Box

    The following items are included in the box;     Batteries for the remote control were not included with two separate review units that I received, however Palsonic advised that these are normally included.

    The player comes in a burnished gold finish and is well-built. It is actually quite an attractive unit to look at.

Front Panel

    The Palsonic DVD-2000 has one of the busiest front panels that I have ever seen on a DVD player, and yet it does not give the appearance of being cluttered at all. Indeed, the buttons and controls are laid out in an extremely user-friendly fashion and it is a pleasure to operate this DVD player from the front panel.

    The left side of the front panel carries a soft power on-off switch and the controls and sockets for Karaoke mode. An addition to the usual Karaoke controls is an Echo control which presumably adds reverberation into the user vocals, although I did not specifically test any of the Karaoke functions of this player.

    The center of the front panel carries the fluorescent display and the disc tray. A discreet disc-in-motion indicator is less bothersome than I usually find such indicators, mainly because the fluorescent display can be set to dim during normal playback of DVDs, a feature I always appreciate. A very nifty and well thought out addition to this section of the front panel is an amber ANGLE indicator which lights whenever multi-angle content is detected on a DVD. This is a really clever and user-friendly indicator which should be mandatory on all DVD players. Below these items is a row of 11 numbered buttons to allow direct track/title selection from the front panel. Unfortunately, these buttons are more or less useless for DVD playback as they only work in STOP mode and only allow TITLE selection rather than CHAPTER selection. They are considerably more useful for CD playback, however, when they can be used to directly jump to specific tracks.

    The right side of the front panel has the tray open/close button, and basic DVD navigation buttons (chapter skip forwards and backwards, play, pause and stop). When the player is in stand-by mode, pressing the tray open/close button will turn the player on, a usability feature that I always appreciate. A shuttle control for forward and reverse searching is a nice addition to the front panel and allows forward and reverse searching in 5 speed steps. Rounding off this side of the DVD player are pitch controls for the Karaoke functions.

Rear Panel

    The rear panel of this player is equipped with a passable selection of outputs. From left to right;

    The audio outputs consist of digital optical and coaxial outputs, and 5.1 channel outputs from the internal Dolby Digital decoder. There are no separate downmixed analogue left and audio outputs, a notable omission.

    The video outputs consist of two composite video connectors and one S-Video connector. There are no component video nor RGB video connectors.

    An unusual provision on the rear panel is a signal ground terminal.

    Finishing off the rear panel is a hard power on-off switch and the power cord. I quite like the concept of having a hard on-off switch on the back of the player and a soft on-off switch on the front of the player - this makes good sense from both a usability point-of-view and from a safety point-of-view.

Remote Control

    The designers of this DVD player clearly spent a lot of time designing the excellent front panel of this DVD player. Sadly, they did not extend this courtesy to the remote control, which is badly laid out and difficult to use.

    The centrepiece of this remote control are the arrow keys, laid out in a circular arrangement. It is difficult to determine when these keys have been successfully pressed and they feel cheap and clunky. The Select button is not placed in the middle of this arrangement which would be the logical place for it, but rather to the right and above these keys. It is labelled in an extremely low contrast blue, which is all but impossible to read in normal lighting, much less in the subdued lighting of a typical home theatre.

    The MENU key is also very badly placed in the midst of a number of lesser-used keys.

    The player navigation keys are placed above the "joystick", as the menu refers to the arrow keys layout. The navigation keys are quite small and are thus quite difficult to press.

    Finally, the AUDIO, SUBTITLE and ANGLE keys are also labelled in a very low contrast blue colour and are impossible to locate in the dark.

    The operating range and angle of operation of the remote control were both quite acceptable. One particular good point about this remote control was that the player appeared to respond to remote control keypresses quite promptly.


    The manual is passable. It is very densely packed with poorly typeset information in varying fonts, giving the appearance of a manual that has been put together by cutting and pasting. The overall printing of the manual is also quite faint, giving a photocopied appearance to the presentation. The sentence structure of the manual is somewhat clipped without ever falling into true "Chinglish", which is fortunate. Having said all of that, the quality and quantity of the information provided in the manual is perfectly satisfactory.

    Basic operation of the player is covered first in the manual, and description of the setup menu and its many options is wisely deferred until later in the manual, which I believe is the most logical way for a DVD player manual to be set out.

Set-Up Menu

    The set-up menu is generally superbly executed on this player, with one major and a few minor caveats. For some completely illogical and bizarre reason, the set-up menu of this player ONLY displays in NTSC. It cannot be displayed in PAL. This makes this DVD player only suitable for those with multi-system display devices.

    The set-up menu is intensely graphical, which makes it a little sluggish to navigate, but all of the required options are more-or-less logically laid out and there are some pleasant and unexpected options to find as well. Of particular note is the ability to set the player to automatically dim the fluorescent display whilst playing a DVD, an option which I greatly appreciated. Another nice option to see in the setup menu is full control over the internal Dolby Digital decoder. Admittedly, this is decidedly user-unfriendly, but at least the option of individually setting speaker levels, sizes and delays is present, which is unlike the arrangement in many other players which have inbuilt Dolby Digital decoders.

    One negative aspect of the set-up menu is the fact that not all three video output options are grouped together. One area of the set-up menu allows you to choose the shape of your output device, being either 4:3 or 16:9. Another area of the set-up menu allows you to specify Letterbox or Pan & Scan mode for the 4:3 setting. These options should be grouped together. Another negative aspect of the setup menu is the "Other Settings" option, which leads to a series of four miscellaneous options which are then not labelled in any way.

Video Playback

    All video playback tests were performed with the player set to 16x9 output mode and using the S-Video output.

    The video output from this DVD player was surprisingly good, with crisp and clear video output the order of the day. I noted a very occasional and very subtle skip in the video image at times, but this was almost unnoticeable and certainly not distracting in any way. Most viewers will not notice this very minor flaw at all. Blacks, whilst deep and clear, lacked the very fine gradation of the very best players, leading to a slight loss of detail in darker portions of the image. Again, this is a very minor and subtle point, and most viewers will not notice this. Some very slight noise was inserted into the luminance and chrominance signals by the player, but this was at an almost undetectable level and certainly not at all bothersome.

    It is worthwhile pointing out at this point that despite what the preceding comments may lead you to believe, this DVD player actually produces one of the better images that I have had the pleasure of viewing recently. The image flaws described are all bordering on the trivial, and will not be noticed at all by the great majority of you.

    The player has no Zone markings on it and the manual makes no mention of Zone restrictions. The player is marketed as an out-of-the-box multi-zone player and it had no difficulty in playing The Rock Region 1 in addition to all of the Region 4 DVDs that I played on it.

    The fast forward and fast reverse functions are of average smoothness for DVD, and function in 5 steps from x2 to approximately x100. These functions lock in immediately when they are selected. A most unusual feature of this DVD player is that audio is output during x2 fast forwarding of DVDs. Most DVD players output audio during fast forwarding of CDs, but this is the first DVD player that I have reviewed that has this feature for DVD. I had mixed feelings about whether this was a good feature or a bad feature, but since it can be disabled in the player's setup menu if you don't like it, I considered it more of a good thing than a bad thing.

    RSDL layer changes were noticeable, with a typical pause of 1/4 second.

On Screen Display

    The on-screen display for this player is in the form of a GUI (Graphical User Interface) which is nicely implemented. Press DISPLAY and the attractive GUI bar is displayed across the top of the screen. It displays a myriad of information, including current Title, Chapter, and Elapsed Time, as well as language and subtitle information. In addition to simply displaying this information, the GUI allows you to change these settings on the fly. Overall, I found the GUI to be very well thought out and a pleasure to use.

    There are three screens of information available for perusal and adjustment via the GUI. The first screen is by far the most useful, with lesser-used functions on the second screen and a third navigational screen that is of little use.

    Whenever the subtitle, audio or angle buttons are pressed on the remote control, an individual GUI box appears for each of these selections.

    The only down side to this GUI is that you need to use the arrow keys to navigate it and to change settings, which is slightly counter-intuitive, especially when individually setting subtitles, audio tracks or viewing angles.

Standards Conversions

    The Palsonic DVD-2000 performs no standards conversions.

CDR & Video CD

    The Palsonic DVD-2000 cannot play CD-R media, but can play original Video CDs.

Audio Playback

    I only used this DVD player with its coaxial digital output, and had one specific but minor problem. Occasionally, when starting the main program of a DVD, a brief, moderately loud thump would be heard from the Dolby Digital bitstream before the programme itself would start. This was not loud enough to cause any significant irritation, but it was noticeable. It appeared to particularly affect Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks more so than Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks.

    Subjectively, there were no audio sync problems with this DVD player. Objectively, the analogue vs digital delay measured on this player was -0.3 milliseconds, far and away the smallest time delay that I have ever measured on any player. This is consistent with the complete lack of audio sync problems exhibited by this player.

    DTS output is not supported by this DVD player and neither is Linear PCM digital audio output at 96kHz/24 bit sample depth. The player will downconvert any such DVD output to 48kHz/16 bit sample depth digital output.

    MPEG bitstreams are automatically converted to somewhat distorted Linear PCM digital output.

Disc Compatibility Tests

    I evaluated two Palsonic DVD-2000 units because the first unit I received had difficulty with dual layered DVDs. The second unit had no problems with the many DVDs that I tried on it, including a number of DVDs notorious for causing playback problems on other DVD players.


The Good Points
    Angle Indicator: This DVD player has a LED indicator on its front panel which illuminates whenever multi-angle content is detected on a DVD that is playing. This is an extremely useful indicator and one which should be compulsory on all DVD players.

    Multi-Zone Out Of The Box.

    Excellent Image Quality.

    Inbuilt Dolby Digital Decoder Has Good Control Over Its Settings.

    Pleasant and Functional On-Screen Display.

The Bad Points
    Remote Control: In a word, yuck.

    Setup: The setup screen will only display in NTSC, not in PAL, making this DVD player unsuitable for anyone who does not have a multi-system display device.

    No DTS Output: This would have been a nice bonus.

Features At A Glance

Video Component Output RGB Output
Audio DTS Output 96/24 Output
Plays CDRs
Conversion None
Inbuilt Decoder Dolby Digital

In Closing

    The Palsonic DVD-2000 is a very good performer on DVD playback, providing a crisp, clear image with audio that is never going to be a problem. Being multi-zone out of the box is an added bonus. The only negative points about this player are the poor remote control and the fact that a dual standard TV is required to use this player optimally. At a recommended retail price of $699, it is worthy of consideration, particularly if you do not have a stand-alone Dolby Digital processor and are looking for a DVD player with this built in.

Ratings (out of 5)

Build Quality
Value For Money

Technical Specifications (Manufacturer Supplied)

Product Type: DVD-Video, Video CD and Audio CD player
Region: Multi-Zone
Signal System: PAL / NTSC
Audio Frequency Response: 2Hz - 22kHz (48kHz sampling) 
2Hz - 44kHz (96kHz sampling)
Signal to Noise Ratio: 110dB
Dynamic Range: 100dB
Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.0025%
Dimensions: 430 (w) x 325 (d) x 87.5 (h)
Weight: 3.8 kg
Price: $699
Distributor: Palsonic Corporation Pty Ltd
GPO Box 5207
Sydney  NSW  2001
Telephone: (02) 9313-7111
Facsimile: (02) 9313-7555

© Michael Demtschyna
22nd April 2000