The main attraction of this player is its ability to upscale standard-definition DVDs to 720p and 1080i standards, which gives you near high-definition picture quality. You'll need a compatible digital display but improvements to performance are obvious with more detail and depth than regular players can claim.
You can select which scaling format to use with easily accessible controls on the front panel. For flat screens with a typical WXGA resolution of 1,366x768, 720p produces a smoother image, especially with fast action scenes, while 1080i offers more detail, despite being downscaled to fit.
Disc compatibility stretches from standard to -R/RW recordable DVD and CD formats -- including discs carrying MP3, WMA and JPEG files. You can also play DivX encoded discs, which use advanced high-compression technology that allows you to burn entire films from your PC onto a single CD.
Only the highest quality internal components have been used with analogue and discreet digital circuitry separated to reduce cross interference and enhance overall performance.
The on-screen menu system is ordinarily presented but incredibly easy to use. You can scroll between various icon-based options and a graphic of the remote highlights the keys you need to use to access settings. There isn't an overwhelming range of settings but if you're playing upscaled images then try selecting HDMI enhancement, which improves black levels for greater contrast.
If you're not planning to play upscaled DVD images then spending less on a conventional player makes more sense. But if you want to improve the film quality from your new flat screen using HDMI then the DVD-1730 offers the finest picture performance at this price.
Upscaled 720p and 1080i images expose startling detail compared to traditional analogue connections. Distinct black levels instil images with solid definition and enhance contrast for a more realistic, three-dimensional picture. There's noticeably fewer digital artefacts and background noise.
Performance using alternative analogue outputs such as component or Scart is still capable, but detail and density softens while instability returns. But the same can be said of any DVD player and up against similarly priced models with the same specification, the DVD-1730 is a clear class leader.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Kate Macefield