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BUSH DVD-2009, £170

Normally we expect to see some family resemblance between DVD players or indeed any AV product when they come from the same manufacturer but Bush appears to have taken a ‘pot-pourri’ approach with its current model range. This is usually indicative of a company sourcing players from different factories, maybe to meet unexpected demand, which is fair enough, but in the case of Bush’s two most recent models, the DVD-2002 and the DVD-2009 (which we’re looking at here) we have a somewhat unusual situation. Both machines are very attractively priced but only £10 or so separates the 2002, which has a built-in Dolby Digital decoder, and the comparatively basic 2009. Were the two machines more closely related it might be possible to point to some sort of structured set of features spanning the range but apart from the Bush badge they appear to have very little in common.

 

One of the first things you notice about the 2009 is the size, the front panel is 390mm wide, which might be helpful for those with space problems, and otherwise the design and cosmetics are fairly conventional. The main features are Truesound virtual surround, it has a 5-scene marker, 2x picture zoom and one of the strangest assortments of trick-play options we’ve ever come across. The four fast picture search speeds seem straightforward enough, except that someone decided to defy convention and good sense and label the speeds as percentages. So 2x fast play becomes 200%, and 4x, 8x and 15x end up somewhat absurdly as 400%, 800% and 1500%. We won’t get into the semantics of percentages greater than 100 but that it just looks very peculiar on the on-screen displays! If you thought that was odd, wait until you see the slow motion options... It only works in forward play, but figure this one. The 2009 has no less than 11 slomo speeds! They’re also displayed as percentages (which makes a little more sense), but why on earth would anyone need 11 forward-only slow motion speeds?

 

By the bye, the on-screen displays are rather eye catching, clearly presented and easy to read. The main playback display is a bit like the ones on JVC DVD players with the picture shown as a reduced size insert and surrounded by menu options and track/time/bit rate information.

 

We are on more solid ground with the 2009’s regional coding, mostly because it doesn’t appear to have any locks fitted. In other words it will play just about any disc you care to slip into the tray. Normally we’d say this was an unadvertised feature and you must not assume that all 2009’s will be the same but Bush seems to have given up any pretence and doesn’t even go through the motions of mentioning Regional Coding in the instructions or printing little world-shaped logos on the back panel or anywhere else that we could see.

 

Picture quality is generally okay; it suffers from the same problems that affect a lot of budget players, namely a slightly narrow contrast range. Most of the time it’s not a problem but you do notice that darker scenes tend to look gloomy and you suspect – usually with good reason – which a lot of information in the picture has disappeared into the murk. The 2009’s ability to resolve fine detail is average to good but colours end up looking a bit flat. This shows up most clearly in close ups where the many subtle graduations in skin tones do not show up. It’s not a serious problem by any means but it does become noticeable in side-by-side comparisons with more up market machines. Otherwise picture processing and things like layer change (just a couple of frames) are well up to spec and in the case of the latter, can show players costing considerably more a very clean pair of heels.

 

The mixed stereo output has no more than average levels of background noise and the bitstream connections appear to be clean and free of any artefacts. Truesound is a notch up on plain vanilla stereo for some types of material but you won’t need reminding that it’s not a substitute for proper multi-channel surround.

 

It is most unfortunate the 2002 and 2009 are so close together in terms of pricing because taken in isolation the 2009 is not a bad machine as entry-level players go and the Bush name is a familiar landmark in the sub £200 segment of the market. We could probably learn to live with the daft trick play options, however, the fact is that for the same sort of money, or very little more you can get players with built-in Dolby Digital decoding – including one quite good one also sporting a Bush badge – and more often than not a more interesting selection of secondary and convenience features. To confuse matters even further Bush’s sister brand, Alba, has a very tidy player in the shape of the DVD-103, and that sells for £150 with features like scene digest and like the 2009 it has all-region playback. About the best we can say is that it’s all right, but before you decide, have a look at what else is available.

 

Contact Bush 020 8594 5533

 

BOX COPY 1 – REMOTE VIEWING

For such a cheap machine the remote handset is quit well designed with large clearly labelled buttons that mostly fall readily to hand. Most of the rest of the controls are hidden under the sliding flap that covers the lower half of the handset.

 

BOX COPY 3 – AROUND THE BACK

The 2009’s back panel is unusual for a couple of reasons, firstly it is one of the very few machines we have seen where there’s no region code logo and secondly, because all of the sockets are well spaced and clearly labelled, and that is a rare sight! The lack of a region logo is either due to the manufacturer forgetting or the fact that this machine plays back all regions, take your pick…The output sockets are very clearly identified so there can be no mistakes. From left to right they are: coaxial and optical bitstream (phono and TOSlink). Next to that is the S-Video output (mini DIN). Third from the left are the composite video and mixed stereo outputs (phonos again) and on the far right there’s the main AV out connector, in the form of a single SCART socket, which is wired for composite video and RGB video

 

THE HARD FACTS

BUSH DVD-2009

OUTPUTS

SCART             Y

S-Video             Y

RGB out                        Y

Component                    N

Optical digital            Y

Coaxial digital            Y

5.1 decoder                   N

 

EXTRA FEATURES

All Region, PAL/NTSC replay, dts compatible bitstream output, 2-stage picture zoom, 5-scene marker, multi-speed replay, 3D sound

 

GOOD POINTS

Neat looking on-screen displays

 

BAD POINTS

Odd trick play options, average AV performance

 

Ease of use            3

Picture  4

Sound               3

Features            3

Overall  3

 

 

BUYERS GUIDE EXTRA INFO

Price                 £170

SCART 1

S-Video 1

Digital out            optical coaxial

Decoder            none

 

Good Points

Neat looking on-screen displays

 

Bad points

Odd trick play options, average AV performance

 

Rating

3

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Ó R. Maybury 2000, 1707

 

390100315

 


 

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