As a follow-up to its flagship BD8002 Blu-ray player ($2,000), Marantz has now released a more-affordable model: the $800 BD7003. This is a Profile 1.1/BonusView Blu-ray player, which means it contains the secondary audio and video decoders needed for picture-in-picture playback. However, it does not offer the BD-Live Web functionality you get when you move up to Profile 2.0. The BD7003 doesn’t use the Silicon Optix Realta HQV video processor found in the flagship model, and it lacks some of the BD8002’s audio options, as well.
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We have not performed a hands-on review of this product, but here is an overview of the BD7003’s features. Connectivity is more limited than what you get on the BD8002. On the video side, the back panel features HDMI 1.3, component video, and composite video outputs (no S-video). For HDMI, the output-resolution options are Auto, 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and 1080p/24. While many players must be set up to output either 1080p/60 or 1080p/24, the BD7003 offers separate 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 modes, so you can easily switch between the two for comparison. For component video, output-resolution options are 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i, and the player uses a 12-bit/150-MHz video digital-to-analog converter. The BD7003 doesn’t include quite as many advanced picture adjustments as the BD8002, but it does offer MPEG/3D noise reduction, gamma correction, black-level adjustment, and contrast, brightness, sharpness, and color controls.
On the audio side, the BD7003 offers HDMI, coaxial digital audio (no optical), and 2-channel analog audio outputs, but it does not offer 7.1-channel analog audio outputs. The player can pass the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode; however, it lacks internal decoding of these formats. (The BD8002 has internal decoding and 7.1-channel analog audio outputs). The player will pass 7.1-channel PCM audio over HDMI, and the setup menu includes speaker settings for size, level, and delay for a 7.1-channel configuration. For music lovers, the BD7003 features a Pure Direct mode that shuts down unneeded video circuitry to achieve higher-quality audio through the analog audio outputs.
The BD7003’s disc drive supports BD, DVD, CD audio, MP3, WMA, JPEG, and Divx playback, and there’s also a front-panel SD card slot through which you can view JPEGs and listen to MP3/WMA audio files. Because this is not a Profile 2.0 player, it does not have an Ethernet port to perform quick firmware updates or access BD-Live Web content. The player also lacks the RS-232 and IR input/output ports found on the flagship model.
Read about the high points and the low points of the BD7003 on Page 2.