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JVC XV-BP11 Blu-ray Player First Look



  • Product Name: XV-BP11
  • Manufacturer: JVC
  • Review Date: November 05, 2009 02:40
  • MSRP: $199
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
  • BD Profile 1.1
  • Playable Media: BD-ROM, BD-R/RE, DVD-Video, DVD-R/RW, +R/+RW, CD, CD-R/RW, USB
  • 1080/24p Playback
  • HDMI with x.v.Color/Deep Color
  • Dolby Digital+/Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Decoding

JVC has an enduring name in the Home Theater market. They've been around forever and have great brand recognition. While hardcore enthusiasts only really look at their vintage gear, casual consumers surely see the name and associate it with quality. JVC has decided to expand their Blu-ray line to include a $199 Profile 1.1 player. The XV-BP11 has just about all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a current generation Blu-ray player except for BD-Live.

The XV-BP11 has a limited compliment of outputs most notably omitting Component Video. For video outputs you have the choice of HDMI or Composite (talk about a world of difference in video quality. For audio, you again have HDMI or Coaxial Digital or stereo audio RCA. The Ethernet port you'd need for BD-Live connectivity is missing (as you'd expect) but there is a USB port. JVC claims that the USB port will be compatiable with most USB flash memory devices, HDD, multimedia card readers, digital cameras, etc. though they aren't promising universal connectivity. We also assume that firmware updates will be available via the USB port.

While we like the fact that you can stream media off a USB hard drive (they promise AVCHD, MP3, WMA, and JPEG playback support), what is nice is that all decoding can be done internally. In addition, the JVC XV-BP11 can bitstream HD audio formats (Dobly TrueHD and DTS HD) over HDMI. While you can't expect a player at this price point to support SACD or DVD-A, you can bet that it will play just about everything else. JVC lists BD-ROM, BD-R/RE, DVD-Video, DVD-R/RW, +R/+RW, CD, and CD-R/RW though they specify that Dual Discs may not work and suggest they may actually damage the player ("Please note that the user takes full responsibility for the use of DualDisc, and JVC is not liable for any resulting damage.").

What is interesting is that JVC has another player, the XV-BP1, that is BD-Live ready (usually means that you need to add memory via USB flash key) and is only $30 more. But for the general consumer, BD-Live very well may not be that big of a deal. Getting an Ethernet run into a living room is just not standard practice for builders yet so the $30 savings may be money they didn't want to spend on a feature they aren't going to use.

Our suspicion however is that the new JVC XV-BP11 is ripe for the Black Friday picking. While it is new, it is low profile, has enough features to attract most users (even enthusiasts if the price is right), and is missing only a big, fat, sale sticker on the front. At $200 it isn't the most competitive (there are competitor offerings at the same price that are Profile 2.0 and stream Netflix), place it at $149 or preferably $99 on Black Friday and watch them fly off the shelves. With 1080p upconversion (no guarantee on quality of the upconversion), 192kHz/24-bit D/A conversion (again, no promise on the quality), internal decoding and bitstreaming of HD audio... it is only lacking the right price to become the next great AV stocking stuffer. We'll see if JVC comes through or if these will sit on shelves until they have to put them on sale just to make room for more inventory.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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