Philips DVD-711 DVD Player

    The Philips DVD-711 is Philips' latest entry-level DVD player. Priced at $629, this player's performance is anything but entry-level, and represents exceptional value-for-money.

What's In The Box

    The review unit that I received was a bare unit with a remote control. According to the later-supplied manual, the following items are included with each player, however, be aware that I was unable to directly verify this;     The Philips DVD-711 is available in Black or Silver. The Silver version was the one supplied for review. It is not the most attractive player that I have ever seen, but neither is it the ugliest.

Front Panel

    The Philips DVD-711 has an acceptably functional front panel, with a number of mildly annoying characteristics.

    The left side of the front panel carries a hard power on-off switch. Stand-by mode can be entered with the remote control.

    The center of the front panel carries a bright, large-digit fluorescent display and the disc tray. The blue fluorescent display is attractive to look at, with very large and clear digits and a relatively non-annoying disc spinning graphic. The display cannot be dimmed. The disc tray sounds somewhat clunky when opening and closing, but the mechanism is very quiet when a disc is actually playing.

    To the right of the fluorescent display is an annoyingly-placed SOUND button, which selects pseudo-surround audio modes. This button is placed exactly where I would expect the OPEN/CLOSE button to be placed, which itself is located immediately below this button. I inadvertently pressed the SOUND button more than once when attempting to eject a DVD. Pressing the OPEN/CLOSE button when the DVD player is in stand-by mode will result in the DVD player merely turning itself on, meaning that you have to press this key twice, with some delay in between presses, to actually turn on the player and eject the disc tray. This is a minor operational irritation of this player.

    The main DVD navigation buttons are arranged in a circular arrangement at the extreme right of the player, with the PLAY button taking up the top half of the circle and the CHAPTER SKIP FORWARDS and BACKWARDS taking up the bottom half of the circle. These buttons double as the FAST FORWARD and REWIND buttons if they are held down for more than a second. Flanking this circular arrangement are PAUSE and STOP buttons. Personally, I don't like the look of such circular arrangements, but it certainly was easy enough to operate.

Rear Panel

    The rear panel of this player is equipped with a reasonable selection of outputs. From left to right, we have;

Remote Control

    The first thing that will strike you about the Philips 711 remote control is its very odd hourglass shape. It is also relatively small. First impressions of this remote control are somewhat misleading, as you expect this remote control to be terrible to use. It is, however, not as bad as it looks. Having said that, it is by no means perfect, and has a number of annoying layout characteristics, but I have most definitely seen and used worse.

    The centrepiece of this remote control are the teardrop-shaped arrow keys. The OK key is above and to the right of this mechanism, which is a major flaw of this remote. The teardrop-shaped keys are too small, and the OK key should have been placed in the middle of these keys.

    In contrast to these keys, the SUBTITLE, ANGLE and AUDIO keys are nicely laid out below the arrow keys, and are a fluorescent orange colour, easy to locate in the dark. The OSD Menu key is also presented in this fluorescent orange colour, making it just as easy to locate in the dark. Unfortunately, the DVD Menu key is located opposite the OSD key and these two keys subsequently become quite easy to confuse, both being prominently labelled MENU.

    The main DVD navigation buttons are located towards the bottom of the remote. My only criticism of their placement is that it is relatively easy to press the STOP key inadvertently.

    The operating range and angle of operation of the remote control were acceptable without being spectacular.


    I received a photocopy of the manual for review. The manual has a habit of repeating itself unnecessarily, often stating the same thing in two ways on the same page, which tends to leave less room for solid facts in the manual. Nonetheless, all the information you need to operate this DVD player is provided in the manual, albeit somewhat briefly at times. Detailed discussion of the player's setup menu takes place early in the manual, something I always consider is best left for the back of such manuals.

Set-Up Menu

    The set-up menu of the Philips DVD-711 is nicely laid out and attractive to look at, but a little tricky to navigate until you get used to the way the cursor responds to key presses. All of the standard options are present and accounted for, along with a few unusual options, such as Black Level Shift (for NTSC DVDs) and Video Shift (for moving the image left or right on your display device).

Video Playback

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

    The Philips DVD-711 cannot pass a blacker-than-black NTSC video signal, which makes setting the appropriate black level for the player somewhat tricky. An additional complication is introduced by the Black Level Shift setup parameter in the Setup Menu, which raises the level of black artificially for NTSC DVDs. Once this was disabled, and the black level of the player was set to my satisfaction, I proceeded with the evaluation of the player.

    The Philips DVD-711 produced a truly excellent image, with very finely detailed foreground and background information able to be resolved by this player, well-and-truly belying its budget pricing. In fact, the ability of this player to resolve fine image detail is second-to-none, and right up there with the very best players that I have seen in this regard.

    Some very minor chroma noise was inserted into the video signal, most commonly on large expanses of blue in the image. This was extremely minor and not at all bothersome and certainly on a par with the better players that I have evaluated.

    I noted a very subtle herringbone banding on some areas of colour whilst watching the Video Essentials Image Montage. This effect was extremely subtle and was right on the limit of perceptibility. This artefact was not observed at all on any other DVDs that I played on this DVD player, with the player producing a rock-steady and immaculate image at all other times.

    The manual indicated that the player was a Zone 4 player, however it played the one Region 1 DVD that I sampled with no complaints. I checked this with Philips and was advised that production models of this player are zoned Region 4 only.

    The fast forward and fast reverse functions of this player are of average smoothness. 4x and 32x speeds are available. The manual states that a x8 speed is also available, however, this is not the case.

    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 in the form of a GUI at the top of the screen and a supplementary GUI box on the left side of the screen. The on-screen display is smartly-presented and easy to navigate. You are able to view and adjust the current Title, Chapter, Audio Language, Subtitle, and Angle on the first GUI screen and are able to view and adjust a number of lesser used parameters on the second GUI screen. The supplementary box displays the total running time and time elapsed for the current DVD. A bit rate meter is available if you press and hold down the OSD button for 2 seconds - this particular option is poorly documented in the manual.

    Of particular note is the Resume function. If a disc has been paused or prematurely stopped, reinsertion of this disc will bring up the Resume icon which will respond to a key press even if the disc would not normally allow it at that point. This is a very well-implemented and user-friendly feature.

    One negative aspect of the on screen display is that it is impossible to stop the multi-angle icon from appearing on screen, and it does not disappear until the multi-angle content has completed.

    A notable omission from the On Screen Display is the omission of full names for subtitle tracks. Instead of English, we get 'en'. This is just fine for the more common languages, but working out what subtitle languages 'iw' (Hebrew) and 'hr' (Croatian) are is not easy.

    Functional key-presses on the remote are accompanied by various mostly indecipherable icons appearing on-screen.

Standards Conversions

    The Philips DVD-711 cannot perform any standards conversions.

CDR & Video CD

    The Philips DVD-711 can play back CD-R media and Video CDs.

Audio Playback

    I only used this DVD player with its coaxial digital output and had no specific problems.

    Subjectively, there were no audio sync problems. Objectively, the analogue vs digital delay was 1 millisecond, which is consistent with this player never exhibiting an audio sync problem with any disc that can be blamed on the player.

    DTS digital output is supported by this DVD player. MPEG audio bitstreams are output as native MPEG only.

Disc Compatibility Tests

    No DVDs that I tried on the Philips 711 had any playback problems whatsoever. All discs loaded promptly and played back perfectly.


The Good Points
    Excellent image quality.

    Plays CDRs.

    Nicely-implemented Resume function.

    Well-designed and easy to operate on-screen display.

    Excellent value for money.

The Bad Points
    Oddly-designed remote.

    Oddly-placed SOUND button on the front panel which is easily mistaken for the OPEN/CLOSE button.

    Pressing the OPEN/CLOSE button from STANDBY mode merely turns the player on instead of both turning the player on and ejecting the disc tray.

    The on-screen multi-angle icon cannot be disabled.

    The fluorescent display cannot be dimmed.

    The player cannot pass a blacker-than-black NTSC signal.

Features At A Glance

Video Component Output RGB Output
Audio DTS Output MP3 Playback
Plays CDRs
Conversion None
Inbuilt Decoder None

In Closing

    Philips have produced a superb DVD player in the DVD-711. It produces a superb image and plays any disc that you care to throw at it with aplomb. Add into this the ability to play CDRs and Philips are onto a winner with this unit. At the asking price of a mere $629, you cannot go wrong, despite a few minor operational niggles.

Ratings (out of 5)

Build Quality
In Operation
Value For Money

Technical Specifications (Manufacturer Supplied)

Product Type: DVD-Video, Video CD and Audio CD player
Region: Zone 4 (Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America, Mexico), although the test unit played back discs from all regions
Signal System: PAL / NTSC
MPEG Decoder: STi5505
Audio Frequency Response: 4Hz - 22kHz (48kHz sampling) 
4Hz - 44kHz (96kHz sampling)
Signal to Noise Ratio: 103dB
Dynamic Range: 98dB
Total Harmonic Distortion:  
Dimensions: 435 (w) x 320 (d) x 92 (h)
Weight: 4kg
Price: $629
Distributor: Philips Consumer Electronics Australia Ltd
3 Figtree Drive 
Homebush  NSW  2140
Telephone: 1 300 850 633

© Michael Demtschyna
20th September 2000