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Phillips DVP-642 DVD Player

- By Chris Monfette

You have it, we play it! Your dream player with flawless, true-to-life picture quality and the ability to play virtually any disc! The Philips DVD-player delivers your movies and music entertainment experience.

Whenever I write a product review, I like to think of my parents, of a generation raised outside the technological bubble and supporting progress, but only in the most comprehensible of steps. I like to think of my father, frustrated and fiddling with a complex remote, asking the air if it could just offer him a little mechanical mercy. I like to carry this image with me because, in many ways, I realize that this is the larger portion of the audience asking to be served by these new advances. Thus, for me, a good product is one that is somehow both progressive and recessive, adding all the features demanded by both trend and time, but with a simplicity that would save our fathers and grandfathers from an early grave.

As DVD players go, the Phillips DVP-642 is just such a product, incorporating a wide variety of necessary features while maintaining an easy-to-use, highly-functional design. The fact that it‚s thin, light and budget friendly only adds to the bevy of benefits offered by this particular model. At roughly $70, the DVP-642 demands a closer look if only for its price alone, but upon further inspection, the player presents any number of reasons for either the tech-savvy or casual buyer to take the system home without much argument.

On the most basic level, the fact that the system supports a wide range of formats will please almost any potential buyer from the start. The DVP-642 can successfully handle DVDs, CDs, JPEG Images, MP3-formatted discs as well as MPEG and Divx files with little or no difficulty whatsoever. Whereas my current system is oftentimes picky about which files and formats it will or won‚t play, my time with the DVP-642 went by without a single compatibility issue. For those tech-heads looking to push the boundaries of just what a DVD player can process, I couldn‚t say just where that boundry lies, but for the average buyer it would be a safe assumption that whatever format one would want to play will play on this machine.

Measuring a petite 17.1 x 1.7 x 9.3 and weighing only a little more than a hummingbird‚s hearbeat, the Phillips DVP-642 is a sleekly designed player that produces equally sleek images onscreen. It supports progressive scan ˆ a must-have feature close to all of our High-Definition hearts ˆ and boasts 4x video unsampling, which, in short, will provide for sharper, higher-quality images even when operating in any non-progressive mode. As the happy owner of a Phillips widescreen, 32-inch, HD-ready television, I can certainly say that the image quality under the progressive scan is nearly flawless. When running the device from S-Video only, the quality remained exceptionally impressive for the hardware involved. Additionally, the "Smartpicture" feature, which balances color and light levels for ideal viewing, works, in most cases, to improve the experience. Those who pay particular attention to image detail may want to tweak the levels on their own, but otherwise, the Smartpicture option is remarkably workable.

Those of you concerned with sound issues simply shouldn‚t be. The digital output to my somewhat antiquated JVC 5.1 surrounded sound system still blew me away, with the high powered audio of Star Wars, LOTR and The Matrix still buzzing about my head. A built-in sound dampener is certainly a bonus feature for nighttime viewing, especially for those of us apartment-dwellers with sound-sensitive, trigger-happy neighbors. And while I still had to keep the volume controls within reach, the device is certainly smart enough to do its job effectively.

The on-screen menu system is easy to use and highly navigable and I had relatively few difficulties getting where I needed to go. The unfortunate topography of the remote, however, is somewhat of a disappointment, but for those of us who appreciate the basic minimalist approach, it might be considered a high-point. I think, again, of my father, mouthing, the phrase, "All these damn buttons" If you simply wanted to watch a DVD or scan through some digital photos, the remote is a fine inclusion. If you wanted to delve deeply into the all of the various and complex features offered on any such DVD, you might be asking a little much. But a remote is a remote and certainly nothing of a dealbreaker.

Overall, the Phillips DVP-642 is an ideal machine for most DVD watchers. Tech-heads and enthusiasts should be, for the most part, satisfied, but might have a few choice gripes, such as the fact that the device generally takes issue DVD-R‚s and has the occasional trouble with sound given the MPEG coding. It is, however, firmware upgradeable, which provides for a fortunate upside.

Given its price and wide-reaching functionality, the DVP-642 is a definite candidate for must-buy status. And if not for us, then certainly for our fathers.

- Christopher Monfette

Technical Specifications

Picture/Display

Aspect ratio :  4:3, 16:9

D/A converter :  10 bit, 54MHz

Picture Enhancement :  4x Video Upsampling, Progressive Scan, Smart Picture

Sound

Crosstalk (1kHz) :  105dB dB

D/A converter :  192KHz/24 bit

Distortion and Noise (1kHz) :  90dB dB

Dynamic Range (1kHz) :  90dB dB

Signal to noise ratio :  90dB

Sound Enhancement :  Smart Sound

Sound System :  Dolby Digital (AC-3), MPEG2, Stereo

Video Playback

Compression formats :  Divx 3.11, Divx 4, Divx 5, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4

Disc Playback Media :  CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DivX, DVD, DVD+RW, DVD+R, DVD-Video, MP3-CD, MPEG4, Picture CD, SVCD, Video CD

Disc Playback Modes :  A-B Repeat, Disc Menu, Fast Backward, Fast Forward, OSD, Pause, Screen Saver, Standard Play, Zoom

DVD Region :  1

Loader Type :  Tray

Number of Discs :  1

Video disc playback system :  NTSC, PAL

Video Enhancement :  Progressive Scan, Smart Picture

Audio Playback

Compression format :  Dolby Digital, MP3, PCM

Disc Playback Media :  CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3-CD

Disc Playback Modes :  A-B Repeat, Next/Previous Track Search

MP3 bit rates :  32 - 256 kbps

MP3 sample rates :  32, 44.1, 48, 112, 128, 256 kHz

Still Picture Playback

Disc formats :  DVD+R/+RW, Picture CD

Picture compression format :  JPEG

Picture enhancement :  Rotate

Rotation :  90 degree steps

Slide show :  yes, with music (MP3)

Zoom :  Yes

Connectivity

Digital audio out :  cinch, coaxial, optical

Other connections :  ComponentVideo out Progressive, Composite video (CVBS) out, S-Video out

Output rear :  Audio L/R out

Convenience

Child Protection :  Parental Control

Convenience Enhancements :  On-screen Display

Display Type :  FTD

Ease of Use :  On Screen Display

On-Screen Display languages :  American, Canadian French, Mexican Spanish

Remote Control type no. :  3141 017 90221

Accessories

Included Accessories :  Audio/Video cable, Batteries for remote control, Remote Control

Green' Specifications

Lead-free soldered product :  Yes

Packaging material :  Carton

Dimensions

Packaging depth :  306 mm

Packaging height :  128 mm

Packaging width :  510 mm

Packaging type :  D-box

Product depth :  235 mm

Product height :  43 mm

Product width :  435 mm

Product weight :  2 kg

Product weight in lbs :  6.6

Weight incl. Packaging :  3 kg

Power

Automatic Power off :  SmartSave

Power Consumption :  < 10W W

Power supply :  110V

Standby power consumption :  < 0.8W

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