Marantz BD7003 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Marantz BD7003 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

If you're craving a Marantz Blu-ray player but can't quite afford the $2,000 asking price of the BD8002, the company has now released a step-down model, the BD7003 ($800). This Profile 1.1 player is a logical mate for a new Marantz receiver that has high-resolution audio decoding.

As a follow-up to its flagship BD8002 Blu-ray player ($2,000), Marantz has now released a more-affordable model: the $800 BD7003. This is a Profile 1.1/BonusView Blu-ray player, which means it contains the secondary audio and video decoders needed for picture-in-picture playback. However, it does not offer the BD-Live Web functionality you get when you move up to Profile 2.0. The BD7003 doesn't use the Silicon Optix Realta HQV video processor found in the flagship model, and it lacks some of the BD8002's audio options, as well.

Additional Resources 
• Read more current Blu-ray player reviews from Vizio, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, Oppo Digital and many others by clicking here.

We have not performed a hands-on review of this product, but here is an overview of the BD7003's features. Connectivity is more limited than what you get on the BD8002. On the video side, the back panel features HDMI 1.3, component video, and composite video outputs (no S-video). For HDMI, the output-resolution options are Auto, 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and 1080p/24. While many players must be set up to output either 1080p/60 or 1080p/24, the BD7003 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, and the player uses a 12-bit/150-MHz video digital-to-analog converter. The BD7003 doesn't include quite as many advanced picture adjustments as the BD8002, but it does offer MPEG/3D noise reduction, gamma correction, black-level adjustment, and contrast, brightness, sharpness, and color controls.

On the audio side, the BD7003 offers HDMI, coaxial digital audio (no optical), and 2-channel analog audio outputs, but it does not offer 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 decoding of these formats. (The BD8002 has internal decoding and 7.1-channel analog audio outputs). The player will pass 7.1-channel PCM audio over HDMI, and the setup menu includes speaker settings for size, level, and delay for a 7.1-channel configuration. For music lovers, the BD7003 features a Pure Direct mode that shuts down unneeded video circuitry to achieve higher-quality audio through the analog audio outputs.

The BD7003's disc drive supports BD, DVD, CD audio, MP3, WMA, JPEG, and Divx playback, and there's also a front-panel SD card slot through which you can view JPEGs and listen to MP3/WMA audio files. Because this is not a Profile 2.0 player, it does not have an Ethernet port to perform quick firmware updates or access BD-Live Web content. The player also lacks the RS-232 and IR input/output ports found on the flagship model.

Read about the high points and the low points of the BD7003 on Page 2.

Highs Points
- The BD7003 supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.
- It passes 
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.
- The SD card slot allows for easy playback of digital music and photos.

Low Points
- The BD7003 is not Profile 2.0 and lacks an Ethernet port.
- It lacks internal high-resolution audio decoding and 7.1-channel analog audio outputs, so it's not a good choice for someone who has an older A/V receiver. 
- It does not use the Silicon Optix Realta HQV video processor found in the higher-end BD8002.

Conclusion
Given the BD7003's $800 price point, Marantz is clearly targeting a slightly higher-end shopper, but we must point out that you can get more functionality for a lot less money if you look elsewhere. Marantz loyalists will appreciate a less-expensive alternative to the BD8002, especially if they already own a receiver with high-resolution audio decoding and therefore do not need all the audio features in the BD8002.

Additional Resources 
• Read more current Blu-ray player reviews from Vizio, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, Oppo Digital and many others by clicking here.
• Read many more Marantz Blu-ray, AV Preamp and receiver reviews by clicking here.

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