The first thing that struck me about the Toshiba SD-1300 was the fact that the unit had significantly less depth than previous Toshiba models. At only 22.5cm deep, this is one of the smaller DVD players physically that I have reviewed. Given that most other DVD players that I have reviewed of full depth have been mostly empty space inside, this is not an issue. Internally, the SD-1300 is merely more space-efficient than other DVD players. Interestingly, this DVD player uses a Zoran Vaddis IV MPEG decoder chip, instead of the Vaddis III decoder used by previous Toshiba models that I have reviewed.
The Toshiba SD-1300 has a spartan front panel with basic functionality.
The left side of the front panel carries the soft power on-off switch. Pressing this button takes the player in and out of stand-by mode. Stand-by mode can also be entered via the remote control.
The center of the front panel carries a smoothly-operating and generally quiet disc tray mechanism and a blue fluorescent display which is dimmable in two steps. The fluorescent display has only 6 characters, which is annoyingly short - the player proudly proclaims that it is "OPENIN" or "CLOSIN" the disc tray before the display scrolls to show the "G".
The right side of the front panel carries basic DVD navigation buttons which have a reasonable feel about them. Pressing either the Disc Eject or Play buttons whilst the player is in stand-by mode will activate the player and perform the appropriate function.
The rear panel of this player is equipped with a reasonable selection of outputs. From left to right, we have;
The one good thing about this remote control is that the arrow and enter keys are nicely placed, ergonomically shaped and easy to use. It's all downhill from there, though. At first glance, the basic DVD navigation buttons (PLAY, STOP and the like) appear to be well-placed above the arrow key mechanism. Unfortunately, they are placed so high on the remote control that you cannot reach them without stretching your thumb unnaturally and unbalancing the remote control. The same applies to the AUDIO, SUBTITLE and ANGLE buttons - they look well-placed but aren't in actual operation.
The operating range and angle of operation of this remote control were only average, but quite acceptable.
The Toshiba DVD players that I have reviewed in the past have all had a characteristic "look" about them. Interestingly, this does not hold for the Toshiba SD-1300, which produces quite a significantly different looking image to its predecessors.
The Toshiba SD-1300 produces a smooth, detailed film-like image. It is not quite as sharp image-wise as other Toshiba models that I have reviewed, but neither does it have any harshness about its image. An interesting characteristic of the video output of this player is that it is very revealing of grain in source material. Feed this player a grainy DVD, and you will get a really grainy image. Feed this player an immaculate DVD, and you will get a smooth, immaculate image. The SD-1300 is very unforgiving of poor quality source material. More so than any other player that I have seen, this player supports the truism "rubbish in, rubbish out".
The review player was marked as a Zone 4 player, and only played back appropriately zoned DVDs.
Fast forward at x2 speed is very smooth, suggesting a double speed DVD transport. Other fast forward speeds and fast reverse speeds are of average smoothness.
RSDL layer changes resulted in a pause of the order of 1/2 second.
One specific feature of the on-screen display that I liked was drop-down lists for things such as audio tracks and subtitle tracks. This made their selection relatively easy, although available choices were only presented seven at a time. Another specific feature of the on-screen display that I liked was the help text bar at the bottom of the screen, which often provided additional useful context-specific information.
One specific feature of the on-screen display that I disliked was the intrusiveness of the informational icons when you perform functions such as skipping chapters, which were displayed for longer than I would have liked them to be. Fortunately, the on-screen display in these instances is able to be disabled via the set-up menu.
The DVD player displays two or three letter abbreviations for languages, which is fine for common languages such as "ENG" but not for less common languages like "IW" (Hebrew)..
Subjectively, there were no audio sync problems noted with this player. Objectively, the analogue vs digital delay in this player was 10 milliseconds, consistent with the observed lack of audio sync problems.
DTS digital output is supported by this DVD player. MPEG audio bitstreams are output as either Linear PCM or native MPEG depending upon the setup of the player. 96kHz 24 bit Linear PCM is downconverted to 48kHz 16 bit Linear PCM for digital output.
Audio-wise, there were no anomalies with MP3 playback. I did notice, however, that the DVD transport would read data from MP3 CDs regularly, causing a cyclic and audible drive noise 2 - 3 times per second. It is not a loud noise, but its regularity makes it quite noticeable, particularly at lower listening levels. I would recommend housing this DVD player in a hi-fi cabinet behind glass doors for this sole reason - note that this slight transport noise is not present when playing back DVDs.
As with other on-screen display functions, up to 7 MP3 files are listed on-screen at any one time, making track selection just a little easier, although only the first 8 characters of an MP3 file's name are displayed.
The only significant bug with MP3 playback occurs with MP3 CDs with files in the root directory, which are found twice by the player. The discs still play back in the correct sequence, but once the end of the first copy of the play list is reached, play will recommence with the first MP3 file.
Most pleasingly, the RANDOM play function on this
DVD player works for MP3 playback, a functionality frequently left out
of other DVD players with MP3 playback capability.
|Test Disc Format (all Princo CDRs)||Results|
|108 MP3s in 7 subdirectories||Found all files.|
|108 MP3s in root directory||Found all files - twice!|
|128Kb/s, 256Kb/s, 320Kb/s and Variable Bit Rate|
|Multisession CDR (4 sessions, each with one added MP3)||Only found the first session.|
|The Matrix R4
Follow The White Rabbit
|Pulp Fiction R4
|Terminator: SE R4
|Independence Day R4 Seamless Branching||
|The Patriot R1
Slightly noisy disc transport when playing MP3 files.
|Video||Component Output||RGB Output|
|Audio||DTS Output||MP3 Playback|
|Value For Money|
|Product Type:||DVD-Video, Video CD, Audio CD and MP3 player|
|Region:||Zone 4 (Australia/New Zealand & South America)|
|Signal System:||PAL / NTSC|
|Serial Number Of Unit Tested:||14PL202752|
|MPEG Decoder:||Zoran Vaddis IV LC|
|Audio Frequency Response:||4Hz - 44kHz (96kHz sampling)|
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||>112dB|
|Total Harmonic Distortion:||<0.002%|
|Dimensions:||430 (w) x 225 (d) x 81 (h)|
|Distributor:||Castel Electronics Pty Ltd
103-119 Gipps Street
Collingwood VIC 3066
© Michael Demtschyna
17th August 2001