Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Excellent output options, fair handling of MP3s and JPGs
- Doesn't support MP3 DVD-Rs
There's little to fault in either its DVD or VCR functions, but the Sharp DV-NC200X could hardly be described as at the cutting-edge of technology.
Price$ 279.00 (AUD)
With a feature set almost identical to that of the Samsung DVD-V5500, the Sharp DV-NC200X is not at the pinnacle of either DVD or VCR technology, but it does a passable job at both.
It has all the outputs you can stand, supporting composite (RCA), component and S-Video video output as well as stereo RCA or digital audio output via either coaxial or optical cable. It has two sets of stereo RCA inputs--one at the front and one at the back.
An unusually tall product by today's standards, the Sharp DV-NC200X may have trouble fitting into crowded home theatre cabinets. It's solidly built, however, with a bright LCD on the front and stylishly hidden front RCA ports.
The user interface of the Sharp could best be described as minimalist, especially for VCR operations. DVD and VCR setup is not integrated (there are even separate buttons on the remote control), and neither is tremendously well implemented--although you can change setting very quickly if you know what you're doing. In addition, the user manual is laid out and reads more like an engineering textbook, and the remote, while comfortable to use, takes some getting used to, with spongy buttons and a sometimes strange layout.
There was nothing to fault in either its DVD playback or VHS playback. It tuned automatically to Australian channels without hassle and delivered progressive scan output from progressive scan DVDs as advertised. Impressively, it can play back both DVD and VHS tape simultaneously, and you can switch between them at the touch of a button.
The Sharp DV-NC200X, for reasons unfathomable, cannot play MP3 files or show images stored on a DVD--although the player is capable of reading the discs, and showing DVD movies stored on DVD-R. If you want to set up a slide show or an MP3 jukebox, you can only use CD-R and CD-RWs. On a more positive note, it is capable of playing music while viewing images, although in a highly limited fashion. It's also intelligent enough to distinguish folders, and allow you to start playback of specific folders.
Its MP3 playback is quite decent, delivering audio that reflects the quality of the source, and the on-screen appearance of the JPGs is good, evidencing a minimum of flicker. All in all, we found its JPG and MP3 handling a cut above most other devices in this class, although it has a lot of frustrating restrictions, like lack of support for random play, forced slide show viewing and no progressive scan JPG support.
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