First impressions: Bush's sub-£100 DS-BD01 Blu-ray player

Argos is the first UK retailer to offer a sub-£100 Blu-ray player, with a special offer on its Bush DS-BD01 model which is on sale for £97.86 until the end of today (December 9th).

We bought one at the weekend, and have been running it in our test rooms since. We won't publish the full review online until later this week, as we're waiting to see what the new price will be tomorrow before deciding on a final star rating, but many of you have asked if it's worth buying one today at the discount price before the offer ends.

So here are our first impressions.

A bit buggy when loading discs
Build quality is OK for the price, but nothing special. Loading a disc takes a while, and intermittently we detected a small bug: the "loading disc" message sometimes remained on the screen even when the film started playing.

The Bush doesn't handle motion particularly well, and doesn't offer all the richness and detail that Blu-ray discs can offer.

It successfully outputted Dolby TrueHD in 5.1 via HDMI when we played Dark Knight, and multichannel DTS-HD Master Audio on Wall-E.

Reasonable HD audio for the money
High-definition sound quality is reasonable for the money, with more weight and attack than Dolby Digital 5.1, but it has to be said that the Sony BDP-S350 and Panasonic DMP-BD35 deliver a weightier, punchier performance and deeper blacks.

We also found the remote slow to respond to commands, and on one occasion the player had trouble finding the scene we'd selected on Wall-E.

Simple set-up and standard spec

The set-up menus are simple and clear enough, and the spec sheet is fairly basic as you'd expect: one coaxial output, one optical out, one component video out, one HDMI and one Ethernet connection, plus one phono analogue out.

Should you buy one? Well, at this stage we'd point you in the direction of the Sony BDP-S350 which is available from Amazon for £155 with three free Blu-ray discs. Yes, it's £57 more, but in performance terms it's significantly better and you get three free discs.

We'll publish the full review of the Bush DS-BD01 online later this week, with star rating, once we know what the new price is.

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.