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MATSUI DVD110, £190

 

Contact Dixons 08000 682868

 

Presumably the DVD-110ís introductory screen, which displays Dixonís help line number, is supposed to inspire confidence but if you look at it another way itís almost as if they expect something to go wrongÖThe little Y2K compliant sticker on the front also seems a bit odd since DVD never was vulnerable to the millennium Ďbugí.

 

Not so long ago a DVD player for less than £200 would have seemed like a pretty good deal but events have caught up with and overtaken this Dixons/Currys exclusive. To begin with the spec is fairly basic, certainly some way behind whatís available from other machines in the sub-£200 price bracket, and even some of the core facilities have been short-changed. For example, thereís only one coaxial digital bitstream output, and no S-Video socket, though it does have a second composite video output but we suspect itís only there to make up the numbers.

 

On a more positive note it does have an unusually comprehensive set of trick-play speeds (4 forward and reverse search and slomo speeds), thereís also a shuttle dial on the front, though it has to be said that itís one of those features that sound quite useful on paper, but get little use, unless you sit very close to the screen or have long arms. Picture zoom is also questionable, more so on this machine as itís buried deep in the menu, taking no less than ten button presses to get at it. The front panel display is quite colourful and the casework is fairly unobtrusive, though a bank of blanked off buttons and socket holes looks decidedly odd, but thatís about it.

 

The on-screen display takes a bit of getting used to, several of the icons which appear at the top of the screen are a bit obscure, not to say confusing, what do you suppose a close book might mean? Nevertheless, the control system is fairly easy to get to grips with and the remote is not too bad at all, though the position of the fast forward and reverse picture search buttons could have been better thought out.

 

Fears that owners might be mystified by the operation of this machine and need quick reference to a helpline number seem largely unfounded, though some aspects of its operation might appear puzzling. The picture breaking up into squares, freezing and random coloured blocks is one of them. Digital artefacts are a fairly rare sight these days but not if you own one of these machines, the processor and error correction circuitry is unusually intolerant of coding errors and dirty or scratched discs, more so than any other player weíve tested lately. Of course you should treat DVDs with care but itís hard to avoid the odd smudge or smear and you have no control over the condition of rental discs. The problem is particularly acute on the outer edges of the disc, where the layer change occurs and the place most likely to get grubby finger marks. Replay on a clean disc is usually okay but the picture isnít as crisp or detailed as we would have liked; the dynamic range isnít especially wide, the picture can appear quite murky at times and bright colours are a touch muted. The mixed stereo output is satisfactory, thereís some background hiss but not much more than average.

 

The bottom line is that the DVD110 is a generally lacklustre machine with a rather ordinary specification, so-so picture and sound quality, few interesting features and an uninspiring price.

 

BOX COPY 1 Ė REMOTE VIEWING

One of the DVD110ís few redeeming features is the small and mostly easy to use remote control handset and operating system. The only small quibble concerns the positioning of the picture search buttons, which should be either side of the play button, rather than above or below it, and the chapter change keys, which look like volume up/down buttons.

 

THE HARD FACTS

Matsui DVD 110                       

 

OUTPUTS

SCART             1

S-Video             none

RGB out                        no

Optical digital            no

Coaxial digital            yes

5.1 decoder                   no

 

EXTRA FEATURES

Region 2, PAL/NTSC replay, multi-speed replay, picture zoom

 

GOOD POINTS

Well, itís Y2K compatibleÖ

 

BAD POINTS

Basic spec, intolerance of scratched dirty or poorly coded discs

 

Ease of use            4

Picture  2

Sound               3

Features            3

Overall  3

 

BUYERS GUIDE EXTRA INFO

Price                 £190

SCART 1

S-Video none

Digital out            coaxial

Decoder            none

 

Good Points

Well, itís Y2K compatibleÖ

 

Bad points

Intolerance of scratched dirty or poorly coded discs

 

Rating   3

 

---end---

 

R. Maybury 2000, 2303

 

 


 

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