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YELO 800DVD, £199

 

In the rush to cash in on the DVD boom we get the distinct impression that some of the players we’re seeing have been put together a bit hastily. Of course we could be misreading the signs but the Yelo 800DVD has an air of hurried development about it. It’s the little things, like the dollop of mastic bonding the mains socket the back panel, buttons on the remote handset that don’t seem to do anything, unpredictable behaviour and discrepancies between the what instruction book says it can do, and what it actually does…

 

It looks like quite a good deal though, with features such as built-in Dolby Digital decoder, multi-region playback, a 3-stage picture zoom, MP3 playback and comprehensive accessory pack containing a useful set of AV leads, and all for just under £200. According to the manual it is supposed to have switchable RGB and YUV component video output but we never did managed to figure out how to make that work. We’re also a bit disappointed by the range of picture search options, which only goes up to 8x normal speed (the instructions suggest it can only manage 2x and 4x). There’s no slomo function either and that is a major shortfall since the facility to minutely analyse scenes in a movie, without any picture disturbance is one of the joys and great strengths of DVD.

 

The styling is uncontroversial and it makes a cute ‘ting’ noise when you eject a disc. We’re pleased to see a headphone socket and level control; moreover it’s a good idea being able to access the setup menu from a 4-way joy pad on the front panel. However, you can’t skip chapters or engage picture search without the remote, which seems a bit short sighted. The setup menu graphics are crisp and it’s fairly obvious what the options are for though the operating system and remote control – more about that anon – contrive to make it harder to use than needs be. During replay there’s the option to show a set of status, time and chapter displays otherwise all of the secondary functions, such as language and soundtrack selection, zoom etc. are carried out from dedicated buttons on the handset.

 

There’s more porky-pies in the manual which implies that by setting a function called Playback Control (PBC) to the off position you can call up a ‘picture in picture representations of programs on current disc’, needless to say it does nothing of the sort. However, the real problems with this machine are focused on two areas, the remote control and what appear to be glitches with the operating software on our sample. It took a real dislike to some discs; we had all sorts of fun and games with our copy of Godzilla. One real oddity was the fact that it jumped out of picture search mode every time it changed chapter. On a couple of occasions it lost audio sync completely and once, while we were fiddling with fast play it started to replay snatches from the soundtrack. Another time it froze completely and a noise, which sounded very much like a swarm of angry wasps – lots of them – came from the mixed stereo output.

 

Don’t start us on the remote control; it’s a nightmare! Frequently used controls are sprinkled about in a seemingly random manner with Pause and Stop in the bottom right hand corner. Play is in the middle of the Cursor buttons and the manual enigmatically claims that when PBC is off a button marked Item means Return ‘when replaying VCD/SVCD/CVD/DVCD’… Chapter skip is labelled Last and Next and picture search is Backward and Forward, then there’s a whole bunch of interesting sounding buttons like ‘echo’, ‘key’ and ‘surround’ that as far as we could see were completely redundant.

 

Still, it’s not all bad news and we were somewhat reassured to see that the processing is handled by the same ESS chipset that’s used in players from top-name brands. Picture quality is quite reasonable with good attention to detail, accurate colour rendition and satisfactory contrast range. Although it has only a limited number of fast play speeds they are all smooth and our sample hardly missed a beat during layer change.

 

Dolby Digital decoding is fast and efficient, revealing lots of little background sounds, it handles loud and rapidly changing effects equally well. The analogue mixed stereo output has no more than average amounts of background hiss and Dolby Surround soundtracks come across as lively and involving. Audio CD replay is satisfactory, it compares reasonably well with typical budget and mid-range hi-fi components. MP3 files don’t sound any worse than usual, which is about the best you can say.

 

The Yelo 800DVD feels like work in progress. A lot of its problems are concerned with the instruction book and the layout and design of the remote handset, both of which could be put right fairly quickly. Glitches in the operating system can also be fixed, when that happens the 800DVD could be a decent machine, however, as it stands we have to say it’s just a bit too flaky for our liking.

 

Contact Yelo 020 8366 0000, www.yelo.ws

 

BOX COPY 1 – REMOTE VIEWING

There’s not much more to add to what we’ve already said about the remote. Many of its problems are simply to do with careless or ambiguous labelling, but in the end it makes an already tricky machine even more awkward to use

 

BOX COPY 3 – AROUND THE BACK

You have to think quite hard to figure out what the 5.1 channel labels mean and once again the manual manages to confuse matters. If you want to bypass the on-board Dolby Digital decoder or hook it up to a dts decoder there’s coaxial and optical bitstream outputs. It has a full set of video outputs too, though once again it’s not always obvious what comes of the sockets. The single SCART supposedly carries composite video and RGB. The three coloured phono sockets are allegedly RGB outputs that can be configured in the setup menu for YUV component output. However, we never managed to get anything other than a black and white luminance (Y) signal out of any of them. In case you can’t get them to work either there’s a phono socket with a standard composite video out, and a mini DIN for S-Video. 

 

THE HARD FACTS

YELO 900DVD

OUTPUTS

SCART             Y

S-Video             Y

RGB out                        Y

Component                    Y?

Optical digital            Y

Coaxial digital            Y

5.1 decoder                   Y

 

EXTRA FEATURES

All Region, PAL/NTSC replay, Dolby Digital decoder, dts compatible, MP3 replay, multi-speed replay, 3-stage picture zoom, front-mounted headphone socket and level control

 

GOOD POINTS

Price and performance, all region playback

 

BAD POINTS

Muddled remote handset, confusing instructions, buggy operating system

 

Ease of use            2

Picture  4

Sound               4

Features            3

Overall  3

 

 

BUYERS GUIDE EXTRA INFO

Price                 £199

SCART 1

S-Video 1

Digital out            optical & coaxial

Decoder            Dolby Digital

 

Good Points

Price and performance, all region playback

 

Bad points

Muddled remote handset, confusing instructions, buggy operating system

 

Rating

3

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Ó R. Maybury 2000, xx

 

 


 

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