The Toshiba BDX5400 isn’t a Blu-ray player. It’s a media box that plays Blu-rays. Well, that’s how Toshiba sells it.
Sounds flash, but sadly this unit doesn’t really excel at being a smart device or a Blu-ray player.
It is, though, one of the smallest Blu-ray players we’ve seen. It will easily fit under your TV, so that's something, should space be a prime concern.
We load up a Blu-ray of The Wolverine and it looks… fine. It’s a punchy performance: colours are vivid, edges are sharp, and there’s a decent amount of detail. It is a bit brash, however.
The colours are a bit bright, and it’s lacking in fine texture, especially in the darker areas. Rivals such as the Sony BDP-S4100 and Pioneer BDP-160 dig up more detail, and deliver motion in a far more stable and convincing way.
3D performance is decent, thanks in part to the darkness of the glasses making the picture more gentle on the eyes. It still needs more insight, however.
The video shortcomings are less apparent in the switch to DVD. It’s a decent upscaler: the picture is fairly free from noise and lines are reasonably solid. But again, it’s not very subtle.
And the Toshiba 5400 seems to have the same attitude to sound as it does to video: it’s a bit shouty.
It’s a loud, brash presentation with a decent amount of detail, but we found the sound hard and often bright. Dynamic reach is decent, but the overall sound is more tiring than it is exciting.
Interface and smart content
A middling audiovisual performance, then, but how about all the smart stuff? Well the system interface is easy to navigate, but not always responsive. This Toshiba Blu-ray player is not the best smart experience we’ve had.
The neat tile layout provides a smattering of apps – YouTube, Picasa, Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Facebook.
But taking centre stage is a massive tile that serves as a shortcut to Acetrax for video on demand. Nice idea, but Acetrax is no more, so this is literally a waste of space.
You can also access your own content, via a USB stick or a networked computer.
We used the unit primarily on wired LAN. There is built-in wi-fi, but it’s picky about connection and not very stable.
At the back is a basic set of connections: digital coaxial, HDMI, LAN. There is a USB port on the side, which means memory sticks are vulnerable.
The build quality is solid enough, although the disc drive is audible
during quieter scenes.
We’re frustrated by this Toshiba. It’s an attempt to be best at both Blu-ray and smart content, neither of which comes off.
It’s hard to recommend, even if you’re tight on space. You can do much better for the money.