Time was when Toshiba ruled the roost in the DVD player henhouse. One of the first companies to deliver a sub-£100 player with an HDMI output, Toshiba's range of disc-spinners were pipped to last year's Award by a £100 Onkyo player.
Can the £70 SD-390E rise to the new challenge and attempt to reclaim the budget crown?
We certainly have no qualms with the specifications. While some products – we're looking at you, multichannel amplifiers – have us checking more connections than NASA on launch day, the humble DVD player has much less to worry about.
There's an HDMI output that can output 1080p content – and that's about your lot.
No frills, but decent thrills
Elsewhere there are component and Scart outputs, a digital coaxial audio output and DTS decoding, too.
If you really want to scrape the sonic barrel, you can play CDs on this player, too, and it supports a whole host of CD and DVD formats, plus discs with JPEG and MP3 files.
As you might expect for a DVD player costing £70, the build quality is nothing more than okay for the money – it's only a dinky unit – while the remote control is weedy.
Still, it's performance that matters, and this Toshiba delivers a perky, watchable image.
Playing old favourite Resident Evil: Extinction on DVD, there's plenty of punch to the image, with good contrast levels, sharp edges and clean, clear colours.
Solid blacks and smooth motion
Skin tones are natural and accurate, black levels have solidity, and motion is for the most part handled smoothly.
There's the odd hint of noise at times, but we're talking the slightest of interference rather than MW radio in a snowstorm.
Throw in solid, clear sound – we don't expect a great deal more for this sort of money – and we might just have a new class-leader.
For now, Toshiba will have to settle for five stars…
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