The entry-level no-frills Toshiba SD-2109Y plays DVDs brilliantly.
The left side of the front panel carries a hard-wired power on-off switch along with a stand-by LED indicator. Turn on the DVD player and you are greeted by a friendly "Welcome to Toshiba DVD" message. You cannot put the DVD player into stand-by mode from the front panel, but must do this via the remote control. This is a minor operational irritation.
The center of the front panel carries the disc tray and the attractive blue fluorescent display. This display can be dimmed in two stages via the remote control, but the player will not remember this setting after being powered down, another minor operational irritation of this player.
The right side of the front panel has the tray open/close button, and some basic DVD navigation buttons; chapter skip forwards and backwards, play, pause and stop. The placement of both the tray open/close button and the play button is counter-intuitive, and take some getting used to. The play button in particular is placed illogically at the extreme right of the DVD player. The tray open/close button is placed where you would expect the play button to be. One good thing about this DVD player, however, is that pressing the tray open/close button will turn the DVD player on from stand-by mode.
The rear panel of this player is equipped with an extremely basic selection of outputs. Everything essential is there, but in the barest minimum necessary quantity. From left to right;
The video outputs are grouped together and comprise the S-Video output, the composite output and three colour-coded RCA sockets which function as the component video outputs.
The audio outputs are grouped together with the video outputs and consist of a coaxial digital audio output and left and right analogue audio outputs. There is no optical digital output.
A 240V AC input finishes off the rear panel.
The layout of the eight basic navigation buttons, the most commonly used buttons on any DVD remote, leaves a lot to be desired. It is very easy to press FAST FORWARD when you are meaning to press PAUSE and it is very easy to press SKIP FORWARDS when you are meaning to press STOP.
The MENU, TITLE, CLEAR and RETURN buttons are badly laid out, particularly the MENU key which is not easy to find without actually looking at the remote.
Another set of keys which are badly placed are the ANGLE, SUBTITLE and AUDIO keys which are buried below several lesser used keys at the top of the remote control. Indeed, the even the use of the awkwardly-placed SUBTITLE button is awkward. Pressing the SUBTITLE button will result in the display cycling through the available subtitle options on the DVD without actually turning them on. When the desired subtitle track is highlighted, an additional key press is needed to actually display the selected subtitles. Pioneer DVD players have a much more logical interpretation of this function, with the subtitle button simultaneously selecting and turning on the relevant subtitles, with the addition of an OFF option into the subtitle listing to allow you to cycle through the available subtitle languages without actually having to turn them on and then off again.
Finally, the OPEN/CLOSE and ON/STANDBY buttons are illogically placed. Swapping them around would have been a much more user-friendly arrangement in my opinion.
The operating range and angle of operation of the remote control were good.
One specific feature that I found annoying about the remote control but others may like is the Remote Confirmation function, a beep that sounds from the DVD player whenever a keypress is registered from the remote control. Fortunately, this function is able to be disabled from the setup menu, so you can turn it off if it irritates you, which is one of the very first things that I actually did with this DVD player.
The video output from this DVD player was, in a word, superb. It was razor sharp and crystal clear. The Toshiba SD-2109Y DVD player produces the best looking image I have yet seen from a DVD player. Most importantly, it does this consistently and without fail on any of many many DVDs that I tried on this player.
The player is marked as a Zone 4 player, and is marketed as such. The unit that I evaluated had been after-market modified and played all Zone DVD titles automatically.
The fast forward and fast reverse functions are relatively smooth and work in x2, x8 and x30 speeds both forwards and backwards. These functions lock in immediately when they are selected.
The reverse chapter skip function will return to the start of the current chapter rather than to the previous chapter. I personally prefer the other implementation of this function, which is for the player to skip to the previous chapter when this button is selected.
RSDL layer changes were noticeable, with pauses of between 1/4 and 1/2 second.
Finally, a set of features that I really liked were the screen-saver and auto-off functions. After approximately five minutes in PAUSE mode, an automatic Toshiba screensaver appears. After approximately twenty minutes of inactivity from the DVD player, the player automatically goes into Standby mode.
A notable omission from the On Screen Display is the total running time for a title. This can be calculated by adding the time remaining to the time elapsed but it would have been nice to include this additional tidbit of information on screen.
Another notable omission from the On Screen Display is the omission of full names for subtitle tracks. Instead of English, we get ENG. This is just fine for the more common languages, but working out what subtitle language IW (Hebrew) and HR (Croatian) are is not easy.
Functional key-presses on the remote are accompanied by various appropriate words appearing on the on-screen display such as Open and Play.
Subjectively, there were no discernible audio sync problems except with the most marginal of DVDs and even then the audio sync would look just fine unless you were watching with very keen eyes and listening with very keen ears. Realistically, you will never see an audio sync problem with this player that can be directly and definitively blamed on the player. Objectively, the analogue vs digital delay measured on this player was 12 milliseconds, a result consistent with no audio sync problems being discernible.
DTS output is supported by this DVD player. Linear PCM audio output at 96kHz/24 bit sample depth is not supported by this player.
MPEG audio bitstreams are output in their native MPEG digital format unless the player is set to output PCM audio in which case all digital audio output from this player will be output in PCM.
Having said that, there are two well known Region 4 DVDs that simply will not play in this or any other Toshiba DVD player due to a mastering fault with these DVDs; The Long Kiss Goodnight and Turbulence. The Long Kiss Goodnight is being remastered to rectify this problem.
Component video output: Handy for some, but it would have been really nice to have selectable RGB video output.
Badly laid out remote control.
Odd placement for the Play button on the unit itself.
Inability to permanently dim the display.
|Video||Component Output||RGB Output|
|Audio||DTS Output||96/24 Output|
The Toshiba SD-2109Y does one thing impeccably that
most other DVD players I have reviewed cannot. It plays DVDs, and it plays
them better than any other DVD player that I have tested to date. It has
become the reference DVD player in my system against which all others are
judged. Enough said. Go buy it. You won't be disappointed.
|Value For Money|
|Product Type:||DVD-Video, Video CD and Audio CD player|
|Region:||Zone 4 (Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America, Mexico).|
|Signal System:||PAL / NTSC|
|Audio Frequency Response:||4Hz - 22kHz (48kHz sampling)
4Hz - 44kHz (96kHz sampling)
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||>112dB|
|Total Harmonic Distortion:||0.006%|
|Dimensions:||430 (w) x 305 (d) x 81 (h)|
|Distributor:||Castel Electronics Pty Ltd
103-119 Gipps Street
Collingwood VIC 3066
© Michael Demtschyna
13th March 2000