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Philips DVP3880 DVD Player – mini review

Created: 27 March 2012 (Last updated: 5 April 2012)





Model: DVP3880/05

Made in Indonesia (Remote is made in China)


This models features a USB socket and HDMI output.


Purchased in March 2012 in the United Kingdom for just under £38. I bought this 2011 model because it supports Last Memory Disc Resume when viewing regular DVDs (Only Pioneer and some Sony models are also able to offer this useful feature), and it supports Divx/Xvid avi file playback and upscaling to 1080P HDMI.


At this price point, its immediate leading brand name competitors include the compact Sony DVP-SR750P and the full width Toshiba SD5010. The Sony was in fact my first choice until I discovered it does not support Divx. Xvid is supported but there is absolutely no support for Divx. It is possible to edit the media info contained in a Divx file so it reports to be a Xvid file to make it play on the Sony, but this seemed like an unnecessary complication. I tend to be biased towards Pioneer DVD players. Unfortunately, Pioneer no longer import them into the UK. However, Richer Sounds do sell the entry level DV-3020v and DV-3022v.


Budget Blu Ray players are not that much more expensive than the DVP3880, but I have no interest in Blu Ray or MKV files at the moment, and a good DVD player will handle DVDs far better than most budget Blu Ray players. An increasing number of Blu Ray players do not seem to support DivX (eg. Sony), or those that are certified for DivX HD, won't play AVI files encoded in Divx (eg. Toshiba).







The usual piano gloss black finish to the front. Measures 36cm wide. The look and feel of the player and remote controller seems to be bordering on the 'cheap' side and so they won't win any prizes in any beauty competition.





Eject, Play/Pause, Power button and USB socket. The Power button glows red when the DVD player is switched off.





The mains power lead has a UK 3 pin mains plug fitted on the end




HDMI and component video, analogue & digital audio outputs.






This is the small remote (RC-5610). It is very light weight in feel. The rubber buttons need a 'positive push' to depress them. The low button count means it is also simple to use.




When holding the remote in the palm of my hand, I can feel the sharp edges of the remote's plastic case.




This is the SCART adapter lead. Note that this lead only provides a composite video signal. It does not provide an alternative better quality RGB video signal. There is no HDMI cable supplied with the DVD player. The lead also does not offer SCART control. ie. You have to manually select the SCART input channel on your TV to view the DVD playback. There is also no automatic aspect ratio switching if wired to an old 4:3 TV.







I couldn't find any pictures of what the menus look like on Philips 3000 series DVD players on the internet, so I have posted some screen shots here for your interest.


This is the page which is presented when the 'Home' button is depressed on the remote. Contrary to what these photos might suggest, the resolution of the text characters is actually very poor – ie. there's no font smoothing.




These are the Setup menu options:




One issue I have with my existing Pioneer DVD player, is the video output through HDMI is darker than when viewed through an RGB SCART connection. To my surprise, this Philips DVD player was no different, but unlike the Pioneer, the DVP3880 offers several 'Picture Settings': Standard, Bright, Soft, Custom. Selecting 'Bright' sets the gamma level to provide a 'brighter' picture without causing the horizontal black bars you see in wide screen cinema movies turning severely grey when you would normally use the 'brightness' control.



It is unusual to be able to adjust the audio volume level on a DVD player using the remote. When I tried to change the volume level for curiosity, although there is a 20 step range of adjustment, I found the audio volume level remained the same for all values except the lowest, which turned off the sound completely ?! The 'Sound Mode' menu option provides access to sound effects such as virtual '3D', 'Church','Arena', etc – none of these effects worked when using audio through the HDMI connection. (see later, HDMI audio bug)


To use the digital coaxial audio output, I believe I read elsewhere that you may have to disable the HDMI audio. I'm not able to verify this myself.





The first DVD player had the '12.11.30.29' firmware installed (March 2011) according to the Philips website. The serial number of this unit commenced 'KG1B1128xxxxxx' (Week 28 of 2011 ?) The photo below was taken after I had changed the DVD player from Region 2 to Region 0 (Multiregion/Region free) using the instructions posted at Videohelp.com. It plays my Region 1 disc of 'Galaxy Quest' without issues.




Unfortunately, I had to return the above unit after just one day of use. The replacement had newer firmware with a serial number commencing 'KG1B1138xxxxxx' (Week 38 of 2011 ?)





Navigating the media





When viewing the contents of a data Disc or a USB memory stick, if the filename is greater than 10+ characters in length, the highlighted filename scrolls horizontally to reveal the entire filename.





When viewing regular DVD movies, pressing the 'Goto' button on the remote permits you to jump directly to a particular chapter within a title. If you press the button again, the option to go direct to a particular time index is also possible.


It is not possible to go directly to a particular time index when playing a divx/xvid AVI file. The DVD player can fast forward at up to 32x speed, so if you specifically wish to view just the end of an AVI file, fast forwarding is the only way I've found to get to the end of the file. eg. It could take up to 2 minutes to fast forward to the end of a 1 hour long AVI file.


Using a Kingston Data Traveller G3 16GB usb memory stick inserted into the USB2 socket, I found fast forwarding & reversing through a xvid movie to be very quick and responsive. There was none of the lag which I've experienced when using the same memory stick in a 2010 model year Pioneer DVD player.



The Options button on the remote opens a menu to allow you to view the current programme info., change the volume etc.



When playing a DVD movie, the current title, chapter and time elapsed are displayed.



For Divx/xvid AVI files, the time elapsed and time remaining can also be viewed.





Picture Quality

The upscaled 1080P pictures from regular DVDs and xvid AVI files look fine to me on my Sony Bravia LED edge lit LCD TV. As mentioned earlier, I have to use the 'Bright' Picture Setting on the DVP3880 to achieve a picture with decent level of brightness when viewing the TV in normal daylight. Different TVs behave differently, so you may find the 'Standard' Picture Setting works best for your TV.



HDMI audio bug


With regards to sound quality, I don't have a surround sound system connected to the TV. I make do with a Logitech 2.1 subwoofer intended for PC use connected directly to my TV.


Unfortunately, there appears to be a fault or a bug in the firmware. When the DVP3880 is connected to my TV using a HDMI cable, I observed all of the audio setup menu options for sound enhancements had no effect when the settings were altered. They do work when connected to a TV via SCART cable.


The problem is 'Night Mode' appears to be permanently enabled when HDMI is used despite the audio setup menu reporting it to be switched 'Off'. 'Night mode' is the alternative description for Audio DRC (Dynamic Range Compression) – it should be disabled by default. As a consequence, the Dolby Digital sound track from some DVD movies sound flat when using an HDMI audio connection. This affected the player with firmware 12.11.30.34 when investigated, and I'm sure the issue was present with the first player which had 12.11.30.29 but I hadn't realised at the time there was a problem with Night mode.


If I had been using the built-in loudspeakers of my TV, the issue probably would have gone unnoticed and the use of 'Night mode' at all times is probably more preferable given the poor quality of loudspeakers fitted to flat panel TVs.


I'm pretty sure the issue has nothing to do with my TV as these sound manipulations are produced at source within the DVD player before it is transmitted to the TV via HDMI. I also have no problems with a Pioneer DV-220v DVD player connected via HDMI where Audio DRC is disabled by default. When I enable Audio DRC on the Pioneer, the sound from the speakers exhibits the same flat volume response as the DVP3880.


Update 2 April 2012: I received what appears to be a standard 1st line response from Philips Customer Care regarding the above issue with HDMI audio:


Thank you for your email.

Philips does welcome feedback about all aspects of our products.

The operation you describe is not a bug and is perfectly normal for this products operation and specifications.

I have passed your comments about this matter to the appropriate department.

Kind Regards,

Philips Customer Care



Reading between the lines, it appears they are well aware of the problem and perhaps have no plans to resolve it, otherwise Philips would have released a fix for the issue long ago.


I notice details are starting to emerge for a new 2012 model DVP3680. The specification looks identical to the DVP3880. The more basic DVP3600 is already on sale in the UK.








Disc playback problems

I discovered an intermittent issue when trying to skip to the next chapter of a DVD movie. Normally, when you press the >>| button to advance to the next chapter, the player responds immediately and completes the operation within a second. Unfortunately, this didn't always happen with this particular unit, there was a lot of motor noise and eventually within 10 seconds, it would find the next chapter. If I repeated the operation to jump to the following chapter on the same disc, the same symptoms would occur.


The replacement DVP3880 doesn't suffer from this issue.





Remote Control handset

The supplied RC-5610 remote controller emits a rather narrow and weak infra red beam. Combined with the need to depress the buttons firmly, I've observed I have had to press a button more than once on a number of occasions, only succeeding after I've carefully aimed the remote towards the DVD player. It doesn't bode well the remote is powered by a single 1.5v AAA battery so the intensity of the IR beam is probably weak too. The IR receive sensor in the DVP3880 may also have a narrow vision of reception too. My observations applied to both DVP3880 and remote controllers I tested. When I look at the IR transmitter on the end of the remote, it is evident the IR beam is also being elevated slightly too.


(Update: 5 April 2012): Philips appear to offer what looks like a newer model in the Far East. The DVP3680 appears to have the same specifications as the DVP3880 but one key difference is the remote supplied with the DVP3680 is powered by a pair of 1.5v AAA batteries.


I normally use a OneForAll universal remote to operate all my AV equipment as it has a far more powerful wide angle IR beam. I use an URC-7556 universal learning remote and this does seem to offer a better angle of operation than the original Philips remote. I'm still evaluating these remote control issues at the time of writing.


After contacting OneForAll customer care, they confirmed device code 0539 should be used as recommended on their website for the DVP3880. This replicates most of the basic functions on the original Philips RC-5610 remote but some key functions such as Power and Eject either didn't work or were not available. Click here for more information about how to add the missing functions to a OneForAll Universal remote.





For alternative Universal remotes to the supplied Philips remote, OneForAll currently offer the URC-7557 (Amazon UK £17), and the newer Smartcontrol URC-7960 (Amazon UK £15). The Logitech Harmony range of programmable remotes are also very popular but cost more, starting with the entry level Harmony 300i (£30 approx)




By default the DVP3880 has HDMI-CEC enabled (Philips Easylink) too, this allows some basic DVD players operations to be achievable using my Sony Bravia TV's remote (or my OFA universal remote emulating a Sony TV remote) such as Play/Pause, Stop, Fast Forward/Reverse, 'Goto', and Power on/off. Some functions appear to be missing including: 'Eject', DVD root 'Menu', subtitles and audio.


It also enables the TV to come on or switch off, or change HDMI channel automatically for you when you power the DVD player on or off respectively.


(Added 30 Mar 12): It all works reasonably well, but I have encountered one minor side effect. Specifically if you have not used the original Philips in a while, the DVD player will not respond to the first button press on the Philips remote. At first, I thought it was due to poor aim of the remote at the DVD player, but it later became clear this is a separate issue. Disabling Easylink on the DVD player appears to resolve this issue.






Last Memory Disc Resume


This convenience feature is only available when viewing DVD discs. It does not work with divx/xvid AVI files. If you stop a movie and switch off the DVD player. When you subsequently switch the DVD player on again, it will resume playback from when it was previously stopped.


Contrary to the description, the DVP3880 appears to remember more than one DVDs when I tested it. Generally speaking, previous Sony, Pioneer and Philips DVD players could save the positions to memory of up to 6 DVDs.





Conclusion


A good DVD player. Build Quality is only average. The HDMI audio bug and poor remote could be issues for some owners.


The entry level DVP3600 has recently started to go on sale in the UK. I speculate the new DVP3680 may appear later in 2012 in the UK and will replace the DVP3880. These newer models are supplied with a remote which is powered by a pair of AAA batteries which may suggest improvements with remote control usage.





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