Marantz BD 5004 Blu Ray Player

Thursday, 7 January 2010 |


Marantz's 2009 Blu-ray line up includes four new models: two lower-priced players (the BD5004 and BD7004) and two high-end, reference models (the BD8004 and UD9004 universal disc player). The BD5004 is Marantz's least expensive Blu-ray model to date. We have not performed a hands-on review of the BD5004, but here is an overview of the player's features. This Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player supports Bonus View/picture-in-picture playback and BD-Live Web functionality, and it offers both onboard decoding and bit stream output of Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The BD5004 does not support any type of video-on-demand streaming or download service, such as those offered by Netflix, Amazon, and CinemaNow.

In terms of video connections, the BD5004 offers HDMI, component video and composite video outputs (no S-video). This player supports both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI, and it has a Source Direct mode that allows it to output all discs at their native resolution. The menu includes a solid assortment of picture adjustments: contrast, brightness, sharpness, gamma correction, colour, black level, and noise reduction.

Audio outputs include HDMI, coaxial digital (no optical), and stereo analog. As I mentioned, the BD5004 has onboard Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. The player lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so the only way to pass decoded high-resolution audio formats is via HDMI. The setup menu allows you to adjust speaker size, level, and delay for LPCM output over HDMI. For those who also plan to use this device as a music player, the BD5004 features a Pure Direct mode that shuts down unneeded video circuitry to achieve higher-quality audio performance.

The BD5004's disc drive supports the following formats: BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, JPEG, MP3, WMA, and Divx. The back panel features an Ethernet port for BD-Live Web features, as well as quick firmware updates. The player doesn't include a wireless network connection option. The BD5004 lacks internal memory, so the addition of an external storage device is required to download BD-Live features; an SD card slot is provided for this purpose. The front-panel SD card slot also supports playback of AVCHD, JPEG, MP3, and WMA files. Finally, the BD5004 sports IR in/out ports for integration with an advanced control system.

The step-up BD7004 adds Anchor Bay's VRS video processing chip, with a more comprehensive set of picture adjustments, as well as a higher-quality 12-bit/297-MHz video DAC, multichannel analog audio outputs, and an RS-232 port.

High Points
• The BD5004 supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.
• The player has internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and can pass these formats in bitstream form over HDMI.
• It supports BD-Live Web content and can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
• This player offers a Source Direct mode to output all discs at their native resolution via HDMI.
• The SD card slot allows for easy playback of digital movies, music, and photos.
• IR in/out ports are provided.

Low Points
• The BD5004 lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so it's not the best choice for someone who owns an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver.
• This player does not support any type of video-on-demand or music streaming, nor does it feature a wireless option for connection to your home network.
• The player lacks internal memory, and Marantz does not supply an SD card for storage of downloadable BD-Live content.

Conclusion
The BD5004 has the Blu-ray essentials--like BD-Live support, 1080p/24 output, and onboard high-resolution audio decoding--but you can find less-expensive models that add multichannel analog audio outputs, video-on-demand, and wireless network connectivity. This Marantz product has better build quality than you'll find in many budget models, and the company puts a greater emphasis on analog audio quality, for those who also wish to use their Blu-ray player for music playback.