Integra originally choose to back the HD DVD format, and we all know how well that worked out. The company is now making its first entry into the Blu-ray market, with the $600 DBS-6.9. You may notice that this product is very similar to the Onkyo DV-BD606. Onkyo and Integra are sister companies; while Integra products are geared more toward the specialty retail market, Onkyo products are sold primarily through general retail channels. The DBS-6.9 is a Profile 1.1/BonusView player, which means it contains the necessary audio and video decoders for picture-in-picture content, but it lacks the BD-Live Web functionality you get when you move up to Profile 2.0.
We have not performed a hands-on review of the DBS-6.9, but here's an overview of the player's features. In terms of connectivity, the DBS-6.9 covers the basics but lacks some higher-end options. On the video side, you get HDMI 1.3a, component video, and composite video outputs (no S-video). For HDMI, the output-resolution options are Auto, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, and 1080p/24. While many players must be set up to output either 1080p/60 or 1080p/24, the DBS-6.9 offers separate 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 modes, so you can easily switch between the two for comparison. For component video, output-resolution options are 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i. The player doesn't include some of the advanced image adjustments found in other players, but it does offer basic black-level adjustment (not available for HDMI), as well as MPEG and 3D noise reduction for DVD. As for audio connections, the DBS-6.9 offers HDMI, optical and coaxial digital audio, and 2-channel analog audio outputs, but it does not have 7.1-channel analog audio outputs. The player can pass the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode; however, it lacks internal decoders for these high-resolution audio formats. The DBS-6.9 can pass 7.1-channel PCM audio over HDMI, and the setup menu includes speaker settings to adjust size, channel, and delay for a 7.1-channel setup.
The DBS-6.9's disc drive supports Blu-ray, DVD, CD audio, and MP3 playback; there's also an SD card slot on the front panel that supports MP3 playback. The Integra website and press release state that the player supports WMA, JPEG, and Divx playback; however, the owner's manual lists all of these formats in the "unplayable" section. Because this is not a Profile 2.0 player, it lacks an Ethernet port for quick firmware updates and BD-Live Web access. It also lacks advanced control ports like IR and RS-232.
Read about the high points and low points of the DBS-6.9 on Page 2.
• The DBS-6.9 supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.
• The player can pass Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio in bitstream form over HDMI, so it's best mated with a receiver that has its own high-resolution audio decoders.
• It can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
• It includes an SD card slot for MP3 playback.
• It lacks internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoders and 7.1-channel analog audio outputs, so it's not the best choice for someone who owns an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver.
• It is not a Profile 2.0 player and lacks an Ethernet port.
• If the owner's manual is correct and the player does not support playback of WMA, JPEG, and Divx formats, then its digital-media compatibility is not as good as that of many other players on the market.
• RS-232 and IR ports are not included.
Given the current Blu-ray landscape, the Integra DBS-6.9 is a bit pricey for a model that lacks Profile 2.0 support. At the least, we feel the player should offer internal high-resolution audio decoding and, given Integra's specialty-market orientation, a better means of integration with advanced control systems. You can definitely get more features for less money if you look elsewhere. But, if you're an Integra fan who already owns an Integra receiver with high-resolution audio decoding, then the DBS-6.9 would make a fine counterpart.