Equipment Review No. 3  -  March 2003

Philips DVDQ35AT Progressive Scan DVD Player

Philips Consumer Electronics
P.O. Box 14810, Knoxville, TN 37914-1810
1-800-326-6586; http://www.philips.com

Compatible formats: DVD-video, Video CD, SVCD, Picture CD, MP3-CD, CD (CD-R and CD-RW)
Scan display options: Interlaced or Progressive Scan (3:2 and 2:2 Pulldown)
Digital audio outputs: Coaxial and Optical
Video outputs: Progressive component (Y, Pb, Pr), S-Video, Composite
Analog stereo audio outputs: 2 sets of L+R
Remote control
Dimensions: 17”W x 11”D x 3”H
Weight: 6.6 pounds
Warranty: 90 days
MSRP.: $179.99
Purchase Here

Until such time as high-definition DVD hits the market, the best video quality for DVD is achieved through the combined use of a progressive scan DVD player with a monitor capable of receiving and displaying a progressive scan signal. Progressive scan DVD players deliver clearer, more film-like, flicker-free images than do standard interlaced players. They are able to achieve an increased video quality because they update all of the horizontal scan lines at one time in a single frame when displaying a picture. By contrast, interlaced players only update half of the horizontal scan lines at one time in a single frame (odd-numbered lines are updated in the first field followed by the even-numbered lines in the second field).

Philips Electronics is among the leaders in making progressive scan technology available to the consumer public. Not including its DVD-recordable decks, Philips’ current line-up of progressive DVD players boasts four different models with M.S.R.P.’s ranging from $149.00 up to $399.00. I will be examining the DVDQ35AT, a single disc model that has a highly affordable price point of $179.99.

Construction

Out of the box, it is immediately evident that the Q35AT is designed to be streamlined and contemporary in appearance. The unit’s dimensions are 17”x11”x3” (WxDxH) and it weighs in at 6.6 pounds. The silver front panel is elegant and uncluttered with only four buttons on its face (Power, Open/Close, Stop, Play/Pause). A removable, two-prong A/C power cord is included.

Features

Undeniably, the single best feature of the Q35AT is its 3:2 and 2:2 pulldown, progressive scan capability. When playing a DVD, this superior form of progressive scan technology adjusts the picture to more closely match the original quality of the film or video-based source material. Other notable features include a semiconductor AIGaAs laser that supports playback of DVD-video, Video CD, SVCD, Picture CD, MP3-CD, CD, CD-R, and CD-RW formats; 5.1 channel on-board decoding; parental controls; 5-disc resume; Smart Navigator; multiple setup options (TV display/type, picture brightness, picture source, speaker setup, 3D sound, digital audio setup, OSD, display dimmer, and screen saver); 96kHz/24-bit audio DAC; and a 33-button remote control.

Connectivity

The Q35AT has all of the basic connections necessary to accommodate most home theater setup. On the video side, this player has one set of progressive component video outputs (Y, Pb, Pr), one S-video output, and one composite video output. On the audio side, the Q35AT has two sets of analog outputs, one digital coaxial output, and one optical digital output. These two digital outputs enable Dolby Digital and DTS signals to be passed through to an external receiver or processor for decoding.

Performance

I auditioned the Q35AT with our reference equipment which consists of a NetTV DTV-34XRT 32” digital monitor, Sherwood Newcastle R-963T A/V receiver, BIC America’s 5.1 channel speaker system (DV62si mains, DV62CLRsi center, Adatto DV52si rears, and V-1210R subwoofer), and Bettercables.com A/V cables. With my test DVDs, “The Mask of Zorro: Superbit Collection” and “Monsters, Inc.,” I first examined the player’s video playback in the interlaced mode by connecting the Q35AT to the monitor via the S-Video connections. The resulting picture quality for playback of both DVDs was sharp, with fine detail, nice contrast and robust color. Next, I connected the Q35AT to the monitor via the progressive component (Y, Pb, Pr) video connections. (As the NetTV DTV-34XRT does not have RCA-type progressive component video inputs, I used a Key Digital Clear Video-2 transcoder to pass the Q35AT’s progressive component signals on through to the monitor’s VGA input). The picture quality in the progressive scan mode was markedly better than the interlaced picture. In general, playback in progressive mode for both of the test DVDs appeared smoother with an excellent overall clarity. Images were razor sharp and highly-detailed while colors were vivid with fully saturated hues. In terms of the Q35AT’s overall performance relative to other DVD players I have reviewed, this unit is a better than average performer in terms of interlaced output and a very good performer in terms of progressive scan output.

With regard to audio playback, this unit performed equally well with almost all of the different disc formats currently available. The Q35AT encountered no difficulties reading the soundtracks of either the Dolby Digital or DTS DVD that I tested. Pre-recorded music CDs, whether the standard two-channel stereo or the multichannel, 96 kHz/24 bit variety, were also read without complication. While I am not one that burns a lot of music CD-Rs, the few that I had on hand played without a skip or freezeup. Overall, clean highs, pronounced channel separation, and an extended dynamic range characterized playback for each of these various audio disc formats. While the Q35AT does play most of the audio formats currently available, it does not play DVD-Audio and SACD discs. (Note: For those audiophiles out there looking for SACD playback, Philips Electronics does offer other player models which accommodate that format).

Conclusion

For those interested in upgrading to progressive scan technology, Philips Electronics’ Q35AT is a commendable option. The unit is streamlined and stylish, feature-packed, and contains all of the audio/video connections needed for today’s state-of-the-art home theater systems. Plus, when utilized in conjunction with a video monitor that is capable of displaying progressive scan output, the Q35AT puts forth excellent video quality. With a MSRP of only $179.99, the Q35AT is a solid purchase.

- Calvin Harding Jr.

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