Cool Look, Hot Performance: Philips DVD Q50

Which is more important in a DVD player, styling or performance?

If your answer is "both," Philips has a machine for you, due to arrive at dealers later this summer. The Dutch technology giant has recently announced its DVD Q50, a sleek machine with an aluminum-and-glass face---and a price tag below $500.

Style-wise, the DVD Q50 adheres to its Euro-tech roots, with a slim profile and elegant detail. Performance-wise, the machine is clearly on the cutting edge, with advanced video processing and high-resolution audio capabilities that compare to those of much pricier gear. One such advancement is Philips' "Digital Crystal Clear" video processing technology with 10-bit word depth and 54Mhz bandwidth. First introduced in the company's top-of-the-line television sets, the technique is said to render a "visibly clearer, purer and sharper picture." The player includes user-adjustable tweaks such as "Chroma Luma delay" to prevent bleeding of color, as well as contrast and sharpness adjustments. A dynamic noise reduction circuit cleans up low-level noise for pristine images.

User-friendly features include a "Resume" function that restarts a disc from the point at which it was paused or stopped, and a digital zoom that offers a variety of viewing perspectives. A parental control feature with an 80-disc memory prevents viewing of inappropriate material by children. Parallel video outputs include RGB and component video. DVD-video and Video CD discs will play equally well on the DVD Q50.

The DVD Q50 offers full decoding for AC-3, DTS and Dolby Digital, with coaxial and optical digital outputs, and analog outputs for 5.1 systems. The machine has been designed to accommodate a wide range of audio formats, including standard CD, CD-R, CD-RW, and recordable CDs encoded as MP3's. A linear stereo PCM digital output can be used to feed external DAC's, upconverters, and other types of digital processors. The Philips DVD Q50 will ship to dealers in late July for a retail debut in August.