Mitsubishi DD-8030 DVD Player Reviewed

Mitsubishi DD-8030 DVD Player Reviewed

Mitsubishi added DVD-A playback to this early DVD player increasing value and managed to keep the level of performance high for the cost. A solid performer from back in the day

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Last week I fought the crowd at my local theater because a new movie came out hat I wanted to see. I realized while I was standing in the long ticket line that it had been nearly two years since I last visited a movie theater. My wife and I used to see a movie every weekend, but since we upgraded to home theater, we lost interest in venturing out to the movies Now we avoid the crowd, eat our own snacks, and save the admission price of a family of four by renting or buying DVD movies.

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The popularity of DVD is evidence that movie viewing is shifting from theatres to homes. In fact, the days may be numbered for traditional movie theaters, as we know them. For consumer electronic giants like Mitsubishi, that's welcome news. They have a new, well designed line of players, built to provide super picture and sound quality, and which would blend nicely into just about any home theater.

Unique Features
Mitsubishi took its years of DVD experience and applied it to their players. Case in point: the new Mitsubishi DD-8030 single-disc home DVD player. Perfect for watching movies in surround sound or DVD-Audio discs with superior tonal quality, the DD-8030 offers a lot of bang for the buck. I found this out firsthand after testing the new machine.

The front panel has the disc tray centrally located above a DVD display with various essential buttons aligned to the right. The display is very bright but can be conveniently dimmed with a button on the remote control. However, the display proved to be an annoyance each time I loaded a new disc, with messages such as: "loading disc" scrolling from right to left at a slow pace that is nearly illegible. The loading speed of discs is at a snail's pace, and the buttons on the front panel are poorly labeled. One oversight by Mitsubishi is the lack of a headphone jack on the DD-8030. Although many buyers don't use headphones, it's a nice feature when privacy is an issue.

Compatible with DVD-Video, DVD-A, and Video-CDs, the DD-8030 can also accept CDR, CD-RW and DVD-R discs. Digital photographs in JPEG format can be displayed in a variety of ways through a graphical user interface (GUI) as well. Hearing that this Mitsubishi unit would reveal photos from a disc, I quickly burned a bunch of images from my computer onto a CD-R. After several failed attempts to view the pictures by just loading them from a disc in the tray, I resorted to picking up the separate photo viewer instructions to see where I went wrong. My first mistake was to save my images into folders. The DVD player can't recognize files in an organized system. Therefore all files must be grouped together, which can be inconvenient for dozens of unrelated images. My second mistake was saving images of various sizes on a CD. Discs with pixel sizes that do not match the six sizes supported by Fuji, Kodak or Canon will not work. Furthermore, any file over one megabyte or images larger than 1536 x 1024 will make the disc incompatible. Once I prepared a CD with the correct images to be displayed, I found the viewer system very enjoyable. Pictures can be displayed in a photo album with 8 thumbnail images per page, a slide show with custom settings or a full screen single picture view. While viewing full-size images, photos can be rotated, panned and magnified. Owners of digital cameras and computers should find the photo viewer fun and easy to manipulate, however usefulness may be another stow. Depending on your application, saving the correct size photos on a CD to display them through your TV may be a neat gimmick but not very practical. However, it could prove to be a terrific throw back to dad's old vacation slides the whole family watched back in the 60s. You remember being dragged into the living room to watch those slide shows, right?

Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
Standard connections include composite video, S-Video and component video. I first viewed a test disc using S-Video with very good results, however with the preferred component video connections, video quality was much improved. Component video yields net results of diminished flicker and higher quality pictures. This was evident after just a few moments into my new Spider-Man DVD. I skipped ahead to action scenes where fast moving Spider-Man swung from building to building by webs spun from his wrists. Actor Tobey Maguire seemed to fly out of the screen with the digital accuracy one comes to expect from DVD technology. Later, after watching Monsters, Inc., I noticed incredible detail even in slow motion and when paused. Switching from a similarly equipped Apex player that I use as a backup unit, I was surprised how much better the Mitsubishi picture looked. Owners of integrated high definition television sets will benefit with even better picture quality from the built in progressive scan output.

Read more about the DD-8030 on Page 2.

As far as audio goes, the DD-8030 doesn't disappoint. Using a 24
bit/192 kHz digital to audio converter and a Dolby Digital decoder, the
performance brings out the best in 6-channel recordings. Although
audible noise and distortion are far too difficult to measure
objectively without meters, hearing subtle details and clear dialogue
can be achieved through subjective listening. I spent time with my eyes
closed to get a real feel for both movie soundtracks and music compact
discs. While surround sound was full and rich enhancing the soundstage,
I felt music playback with pre-recorded CDs and MP3s fell a little
flat. Granted that MP3 decod-
ing is secondary to the function of the Mitsubishi DD-8030 movie playing skills, it was a bit un-
der-whelming to hear the same music that sounds smooth and rich in my
reference DAC fall a little flat with a two-dimensional sound. Overall
sound performance is still better than most players in this class.

Final Take
My personal pet peeves with the front panel and specific JPEG digital
photo viewer requirements are minor with respect to the terrific
picture and surround sound characteristics the DD-8030 presents. The
annoying display and poorly labeled buttons on the front panel are
easily overcome by the well thought out remote control. Disc navigation
and special features are easily accessed via the remote that has a
multitude of functional buttons. Some may find the picture viewer to be
big plus for reviewing snapshots from a digital camera, but I found
this to be more of a novelty. However, with a little understanding of
the viewer's requirements of images, formatting entire photo albums to
show off to friends and family should come easily.

For the suggested retail price of $329, the Mitsubishi DD-8030
remains a good value. The player is simply designed and easy to set up.
It offers many great features and above par performance from the
digital to analog processing, Dolby Digital and DTS bit-stream outputs.
Simply stated, the Mitsubishi offers a solid performance, at a good
price. It's one unit that's sure to help convert more moviegoers into
home theater fanatics.

Suggested Retail Price
$329

Additional Resources
• Read more source component reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find a receiver to pair with this source.
• See more about the audiophile world at AudiophileReview.com.
• Discuss all kinds of gear at hometheaterequipment.com.

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