Upon inspecting the internal structure of this player, I found it to be serviceable but unremarkable, with no standout features that lead me to recommend or condemn the player. However, there is a fair amount of empty space within, and the internal structure, like the exterior, screams the price point loudly enough for anyone to hear.
The Palsonic DVD-5000 is only available in silver.
The Palsonic DVD-5000 does not have a very appealing front panel. In fact, if the truth must be told, I have to say that this is one of the uglier looking front panels I have seen amongst the multitude of DVD players I have looked at, both for review and for curiosity purposes. From left to right, we have the following:
The Palsonic DVD-5000 features a very spartan rear panel with some interesting omissions. From left to right we have:
I've seen good remote controls, and I have seen bad remote controls, but the Palsonic DVD-5000 comes with a remote control that is one of the worst I have ever used for any home appliance, due to poor layout and some operational flaws that I will discuss in due course. The VURRC214F contains a lot of empty space that could have been used to better separate the buttons, and some of the buttons are placed in absurd positions.
At the very top of the remote, from left to right, we have the Standby/On button, the Title button, the Menu button, and the Open/Close button. Placing such a frequently used button as the Menu button right next to the Open/Close button makes little sense, as it is relatively easy to miss the Menu button and instead eject the disc. Below these four buttons are a standard numerical pad to the right, and a vertical row of four buttons: OSD/Setup, Slow Forward, Previous Chapter/Rewind, and Next Chapter/Forward. This is one annoying feature of the remote control - the Chapter Skip buttons have to be held in for some time in order for the player to register such keypresses as an intention to simply fast forward through a title. This is especially irritating considering a further layout flaw in the remote control that I will come to in due course.
In the centre of the remote control is the arrow key mechanism, which is laid out in a sort of diamond shape with a circular Enter button in the middle. In each corner of the arrow key mechanism, clockwise from the top left, are the Pause/Step, Play, Return, and Stop buttons. These particular buttons are very small and difficult to distinguish from one another without looking at them.
Below the arrow key mechanism are three rows, each containing four buttons. The second row, however, contains two buttons that have no labelling on them, and have been shown to have no useful function with any of the DVDs I tested this player with! This is unfortunate in light of the clunky and often irritating way that the Chapter Skip and Search buttons are implemented, considering these two buttons could have been used to separate the Search buttons from the Chapter Skip buttons. In the first row, we have the Play Mode, A-B Repeat, Memory, and Timer buttons. In the second row are the Equaliser, Volume/Channel, and the aforementioned two buttons with no apparent function. Finally, on the bottom row, we have the Zoom, Angle, Subtitle, and Audio buttons. Another annoyance with this remote control is that a Prohibited Operation icon often appears when the Zoom button is pressed, which is something I have never seen with the zoom function on any other player.
An extremely annoying bug in the way that the Palsonic DVD-5000 responds to remote inputs is that, on infrequent occasions, when one presses a button for one specific function, the player will interpret this as another function altogether. This generally happened once every playback session, with (eg) an attempt to activate the Fast Forward function during South Park, Volume 2 resulting in a language change. This problem surfaced quite frequently and became a reason to severely downgrade the performance rating of this player.
The image that the Palsonic DVD-5000 produces is not as good as the Toshiba SD-2109, although it is extremely serviceable and equal to some of the best I have seen in any price range. The image is extremely sharp and detailed, but also rather harsh, which is a characteristic often shared by players based around the Zoran Vaddis III decoder chip. Aliasing artefacts are often more noticeable on this player, but the characteristic vertical skip noticed in a lot of players based around the Zoran Vaddis reference design was not noticed. One interesting artefact that I did notice from this player was that a uniformly-coloured horizontal line, similar in appearance to a tracking error, would occasionally appear.
The Palsonic DVD-5000 is marked as a Zone 4 player, but it played back my Region 1 versions of Starship Troopers and Hollow Man without a problem, in spite of the latter being protected by RCE.
The Fast Forward and Fast Reverse functions on this player are extremely clunky and inconsistent in their implementation. These modes have to be entered by pressing the Chapter Skip buttons and holding them for about a second, but then the method by which different speeds are selected is a little harder to discern at first. Essentially, one has to keep holding the buttons in until the speed they want is selected, making it very difficult to Fast Forward to a specific point.
Layer changes on this player result in a noticeable pause, slightly lengthier ones than I am used to seeing, as a matter of fact. The handling of layer changes was acceptable, given that no disc I tested locked up at this point, but the longer pause was a little too much for my liking.
Subjectively, I found no discernable problems with the audio sync of the digital signal from this player, not with the R4 version of Pulp Fiction nor any other disc that I tested. The onscreen display shows all language names as three-letter abbreviations, but that is only a minor issue which is common to the majority of DVD players.
One rather annoying problem with this DVD player, however, is that it will not output Linear PCM soundtracks and Dolby Digital or DTS soundtracks with the same menu settings. Instead, when the output is set to digital, one hears Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks alright, but a deafening silence is heard when the player encounters any Linear PCM soundtrack, regardless of its resolution. Conversely, the user can set the output to PCM, but then Linear PCM soundtracks can be heard fine while Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks are converted to 16 bit, 48kHz, two-channel Linear PCM soundtracks. This is hardly an ideal situation, and it makes this player unsuitable for use in the average home theatre environment.
The internal decoder included with this player is only capable of outputting Dolby Digital, meaning that an external decoder of some sort is required to listen to DTS soundtracks. This player also does not handle MPEG soundtracks, not even offering the option to convert them into a format more suitable for use in most home theatre setups.
The Palsonic DVD-5000 found all of the 110 files on both the disc I have where the files are all in the root directory, and the disc with the 110 files split over five subdirectories. It only found the first session on my multisession CD-R, however.
The Palsonic DVD-5000 played back 128 Kb/s, 256 Kb/s,
and 320 Kb/s MP3 files with no apparent problems. Attempts to play back
the Variable Bit Rate file, however, resulted in a stuttering, glitchy
noise that was quite unlistenable.
Test Disc Format (all Princo CDRs)
|110 MP3s in root directory||Found all files|
|110 MP3s in 5 subdirectories||Found all files|
|128Kb/s, 256Kb/s, 320Kb/s and Variable Bit Rate||Failed to play the Variable Bit Rate file|
|Multisession CDR (4 sessions, each with one added MP3)||Only found the first session.|
|Pulp Fiction R4
|Terminator: SE R4
|Independence Day R4 Seamless Branching||
||Unable to test|
|Hollow Man R1
|Video||Component Output||RGB Output|
|Audio||DTS Output||MP3 Playback|
|Inbuilt Decoder||Dolby Digital|
|Value For Money|
|Product Type:||DVD-Video, Video CD and Audio CD player|
|Region:||Marked as Region 4 (South America/Australia). Review unit played back all zones.|
|Signal System:||PAL / NTSC|
|Serial Number Of Unit Tested:||12L0100721AY|
|MPEG Decoder:||Zoran Vaddis III|
|Audio Frequency Response:||20 Hz to 20 kHz|
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||Not stated|
|Dynamic Range:||DVD: 103 dB
CD: 99 dB
|Total Harmonic Distortion:||0.003%|
|Dimensions:||430 (w) x 260 (d) x 75 (h) mm|
|Distributor:||Palsonic Corporation Pty Ltd
GPO Box 5207
Sydney NSW 2001