Marantz's 2009 Blu-ray lineup includes four new models: two lower-priced players (the BD5004 and BD7004) and two high-end, reference models (the BD8004 and UD9004 universal disc player). At $549.99, the BD5004 is Marantz's least expensive Blu-ray model to date. We have not performed a hands-on review of the BD5004, but here is an overview of the player's features. This Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player supports BonusView/picture-in-picture playback and BD-Live Web functionality, and it offers both onboard decoding and bitstream output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The BD5004 does not support any type of video-on-demand streaming or download service, such as those offered by Netflix, Amazon, and CinemaNow.
In terms of video connections, the BD5004 offers HDMI, component video, and composite video outputs (no S-video). This player supports both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI, and it has a Source Direct mode that allows it to output all discs at their native resolution. The menu includes a solid assortment of picture adjustments: contrast, brightness, sharpness, gamma correction, color, black level, and noise reduction.
Audio outputs include HDMI, coaxial digital (no optical), and stereo analog. As I mentioned, the BD5004 has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. The player lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so the only way to pass decoded high-resolution audio formats is via HDMI. The setup menu allows you to adjust speaker size, level, and delay for LPCM output over HDMI. For those who also plan to use this device as a music player, the BD5004 features a Pure Direct mode that shuts down unneeded video circuitry to achieve higher-quality audio performance.
The BD5004's disc drive supports the following formats: BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, JPEG, MP3, WMA, and Divx. The back panel features an Ethernet port for BD-Live Web features, as well as quick firmware updates. The player doesn't include a wireless network connection option. The BD5004 lacks internal memory, so the addition of an external storage device is required to download BD-Live features; an SD card slot is provided for this purpose. The front-panel SD card slot also supports playback of AVCHD, JPEG, MP3, and WMA files. Finally, the BD5004 sports IR in/out ports for integration with an advanced control system.Read about the high points and the low points of the BD5004 on Page 2.