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Appeared on: Friday, May 12, 2006
Packard Bell DVX460 USB


1. Introduction

Packard Bell is a well known manufacturer and has a long tradition in Consumer Electronics products. The latest series supports many Video formats, including Mpeg1/2/4 and of course, NeroDigital. The latest addition is the DVX460 which has evolved from the DVX450 series, adopting a new chipset and incorporating a USB interface.

- Packard Bell DVX 460

The Packard Bell DVX 460 is a player that supports:

The main chipset comes from ESS (ES8380 Phoenix) and is quite powerful:

- Full specifications

Disc Compatibility CD, CD-R/RW, DVD, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW
Video Format Compatibility MPEG 1/2/4, DivX 3/4/5/Pro/6, XviD, NERO
Audio Format Compatibility MP3, Ogg Vorbis, OGM, AC3
Photo Format Compatibility JPEG
Video Output Format Standard PAL, NTSC
Audio Output Format Dolby Digital, DTS, Stereo, Mono
Display VFD, Blue
Languages English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch
Firmware Update Available on the Packard Bell web site
DVD-Video Languages, sub-titles, slow motion, fast forward and backward, multi-angle, zoom
MPEG/DIVX Slow motion, fast forward and backward, zoom, Goto (DivX 6 only)
Audio CD Fast forward and backward, random
Slideshow With background music
Parental Control With password
Power Supply AC-100-240V, 50/60 Hz
Video Connector SCART, S-Video, composite video, component YUV
Audio Connector Audio L/R, digital audio (coaxial, optical)
Power Supply 100 V-240 V AC 50/60 Hz
Power Consumption 20 W
Size (mm) 430 x 38 x 240
Weight 2.5 kg

2. A Closer Look

The player is quite compact. The device includes a touch panel on the front with blue back-light, some basic controls and of course, the USB interface. As you can see in the picture below, the tray does not protrude fully when ejected:

On the right hand side of the front panel, there are several logos, illustrating the formats supported by the player, including Nero Digital. Underneath the logos, is the USB interface.

We removed the mounting screws and took off the cover to gain access to the inside of the player. We don't recommend you do this as it will void the warranty. The layout is very simple and spacious. There are 3 circuit boards (power supply at left, video and audio output at rear, and the main controller at right) and the drive.

The ESS chipset lies underneath the heatsink. When the player is operating, the heatsink becomes quite hot.

On the back of the player, there are several output connections:

1 Coaxial output
2 Center Audio Output
3 Left/Right surround Audio Output
4

Left/Right Front Audio Output

5

Video Output

6

Y Cb/Cb Cr/Pr (HDTV720P) output

7 Scart output
8 Power cable input
9 Optical output
10 Sub-woofer audio output
11 S-video output

The remote control is a typical control and provides all the major functions. Many functions can be accessed with the main 4-way joypad.


3. The Menus

After powering up the device, you will see the Packard Bell logo on your screen:

The main navigation screen is as follows:

Unfortunately, all folders and file names are shortened to 12 characters. The device can switch between DVD/USB with the appropriate button. You can also copy files from the optical disc to the USB device:

Choosing setup, presents you with the device configuration options:

According to the Packard Bell website, you can check the player's firmware with the following procedure:

  1. Ensure that the player is in NO DISC mode: no CD/DVD is in the drive and the tray is closed. Press the numeric sequence "2222" on the remote control.
  2. You will then see briefly the chipset and version number of the firmware installed.

To date, there wasn't a newer firmware release available. We found on the internet, a "trick" that was used on the previous DVX 450 Pro model which made it region free. This does not work 100% with the DVX460 though:

  1. Open the tray
  2. Press 7-5-1-8 on your remote control
  3. Wait until the hand appears
  4. Press 0 for region 0

This change is not permanent though, and when you turn the player off, it is set back to its previous region. But at least it helps if you want to play DVDs from other regions.


4. The Tests - Page 1

The player has been tested with several test files of different formats. All tests were carried out with the DVD player connected to a Samsung 32R51B 32" HDTV, either using an AV or Component cable.

Disc Compatibility:

Audio compatibility:

Video Tests:

To connect to a TV using HDTV mode (with a compatible TV only):

  1. Connect the DVD player to your TV set using the Y Cb/Pb Cr/Pr and YUV connectors.
  2. Set the TV to HDTV mode
  3. Press the remote control Video Out button repeatedly to select 'CVBS+YUV'.
  4. Press the 'Display Mode' button twice to switch to HDTV 720P mode.

The picture quality was very good. However, we had a major issue when connecting via the component output (and using progressive scan). When playing several files or trying FF/RW, the picture was distorted. This happened with all AVI, DIVX and MP4 files, indicating a rather strange bug.

When connected via the component output, you cannot use the "Zoom" function. There's also no special info available about the current file, only the elapsed/remaining time.

Looking at the tests results, we were satisfied with the performance of the ESS 8380 chipset. In short, the chipset supports both Qpel and GMC advanced settings for both the DivX and Xvid formats. This isn't something you can find easily elsewhere.

The player is being advertised as DivX certified. We confirmed this claim, since we didn't have any problems playing back DivX encoded files, at up to 8Mbit rates. DivX format is supported, in terms of Audio tracks and Subtitles, but there is no menu support. Slideshows also are not supported. DivX encoded tracks with two Audio tracks (VBR Mp3 and AC3) are also not a problem for the DVX460. Lastly, DivX HD files cannot be played, due to chipset limitation. Xvid files are also not a problem for the player. 8Mbit, QPel and GMC 3 way points are supported, making it ideal for enthusiast users.

When trying Mpeg files, we didn't face any problems with our Mpeg1 test files. However, we did notice a problem with Mpeg2 files. After using the FF/RW function, sound had become out of synch. The ESS 8380 chipset can handle up to 12Mbit encoded Mpeg2 files, which is typical for this category.

Subtitles are supported, mostly in the SRT format but not IFO/Sub format. Greek characters are not recognized, so your only choice here would be to use the NeroDigital format. Pictures can be displayed, but only Jpeg files captured at up to 2272x1704 pixels resolution.


5. The Tests - Page 2

One of the major advantages of the player is its Nero Digital support. The player is advertised as Nero Digital Standard profile certified. Below we can see the major specs for each Nero Digital profile:

For our tests, we used several files, both encoded and downloaded from the www.nerodigital.com website. For encode, we used as a source, the movie Gladiator, chapter 19. We used the latest Nero 7.2.0.3b package, that includes the latest Nero Recode version. Using all available ASP profiles, we created several test files with default settings. That included files with two Audio tracks (Main and Commentary) and two subtitles (English/Greek). That is valid of course, only for the Standard profile. All files tested were playable on the Packard Bell DVX460, the Audio tracks switchable and the Subtitles were displayed perfectly. Both English and Greek characters were recognized, so this might be the only way to view subtitles in case your language is not officially supported.

The downloaded trailers from www.nerodigital.com also played perfectly. Please note that only ASP profile files are supported, not AVC.


6. Conclusion

The Packard Bell DVX460 is a DVD player that includes a number of interesting features. The chipset from ESS, the ES8380 Pheonix, drives the Packard Bell DVX 460 and seems to be a wise choice.

The device is low priced, around €69, so it is ideal for everyday users. The device was able to play back most of our test files without any problems. The DivX certified logo was confirmed from our tests, but the device cannot play DivX HD files. Xvid encoded files are not a problem either, since even advanced features like Qpel and GMC are fully supported. Mpeg1/2 files are not a problem, just don't use FF and RW as it puts the sound out of sync.

The most annoying problem with the player is that when it is connected via the component output to a HD TV, the display becomes distorted when fast forwarding or fast rewinding.

- The Good

- The Bad



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