Overall, the sound quality on the DD-3 is pretty solid, given the admittedly lower expectations we have for a virtual-surround system. As with any home-cinema system, compromises have been made and audiophiles won't be ditching their full 5.1 systems anytime soon. The DD-3 definitely sounds better when playing DVDs, but that criticism can be applied to almost every home-cinema system.
Moving on to video, we started off our testing of the DD-3's DVD upconversion by looking at Silicon Optix's HQV test suite. The test didn't start off very well -- it failed the initial resolution test, which means it cannot display the full resolution of DVDs. Where we should have seen detail, there were flashing boxes, and several of the lines were unstable. Things didn't go so well after that -- there were tonnes of nasty-looking jaggies on a test with a rotating line, as well as a test with three shifting lines.
We moved on to the 2:3 pull-down test, which the DD-3 failed, as it never kicked into film mode, resulting in moire in the grandstands as the racing car drove by. The bottom line with the DVD player is that it's nowhere near as good as other dedicated players -- videophiles should definitely look elsewhere. Again, that's a disappointment relative to the DD-3's price tag -- but the casual viewers to whom the product is targeted aren't likely to even notice.
The network-streaming performance of the DD-3 was pretty good overall. We were able to stream videos and music over the wired connection and didn't run into any snags. The caveat here is that because the DD-3 doesn't support hi-def videos and it only uses a wired connection, none of the streaming is very taxing. That being said, for someone who just wants to do basic media streaming and has Ethernet connectivity in their home, the DD-3 can handle the task and we never saw it falter.
Performance from the USB drive was disappointing. We had a couple of DivX clips we tried to play directly from the USB drive, and while a few of them played without a hitch, others had choppy playback with audio dropouts. We initially had some trouble finding where our MP3 and JPEG files were -- that's because you need to go into the setup menu and change the setting in the picture category from video to audio, or to still picture. It's not intuitive and annoying if you are switching between media, but we didn't have any problems playing back the files once we found them.
Edited by John P. Falcone
Additional editing by Nick Hide