I recently bought a Kogan Blu-Ray 2.0 Player and am really happy with it’s comprehensive features including: Region free Bluray & DVD playback, BD-Live, Full HD 1080P quality, DVD upscaling, USB media center playback of JPG photos and Videos (DIVX, MP4, AVI etc) as well as 7.1 channel sound (Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD & DTS-HD) for $292.50 including postage
Bluray Playback: is generally excellent. Bluray movies provide the best viewing experience when they are new and the source material is recorded in HD by the director eg: the animated movie WALL-E and computer graphics enhanced King Kong. Older movies like Terminator 2 released to Bluray look better than their DVD counterpart but don’t take full advantage of Bluray’s sound and visual capabilities.
Initially some of the movies I tried didn’t playback properly. I told Kogan and they sent me a software upgrade for the player (see firmware upgrade instructions below) the next day which fixed the problem and now all movies playback without issues.
DVD upscaling: is a feature which tries to make DVD’s look better on a High Definition (HD) TV screen and is included in this player. While it definitely helps DVD’s look better on a big HD screen it obviously can’t make up for the big difference in the original quality and resolution of a DVD movie vs Bluray movie image quality.
Region Free: I played a mixture of DVD’s from around the world The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (region 1 NTSC), Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (PAL region 2), and Star Wars: A New Hope (PAL region 4) to test if the player really was region coding unlocked and it passed with flying colours playing each disk automatically. The player is also supposed to allow playback of Bluray disks from different regions (see “Region Unlocking Bluray and DVD” below) but I only had Australian disks to test.
Speed: Some Bluray players are quite slow taking upto a minute to start playing a movie from the moment you press play on the remote. I tested several Bluray movies on this player and they started impressively quickly: King Kong (14 seconds), Terminator 2 (8 seconds) and The International (22 seconds).
USB Media Centre: The Kogan Bluray player has a useful bonus feature of being able to play back the most common types of Audio/Video files via a USB drive including: DIVX, AVI, MP4 and MP3 (possibly also others but I tried all those and they worked fine). WMV and MOV definitely don’t play.
JPG photos can also be viewed via a USB drive and the player can display them in a slideshow which I found quite useful to see my latest digital photos on a big screen in full 1080P high definition.
General usability: The remote is plain and simple, all it lacks is a Zoom button. The on screen display (which can be seen in the photo slideshow above) looks good and is easy to nagivate.
One of my DVD disks The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (region 1 NTSC) got a little scratched when shipped by Amazon.com so while the Kogan Bluray player displays the movie smoothly the actual unit makes an annoying vibrating sound.
If your budget for a Bluray player is around $300 or less than the Kogan Blu-Ray 2.0 Player is a no brainer decision to buy for $292.50 including postage. It matches the image quality and equals the features of Bluray players with a similar price and even manages to beat them in 2 ways: region free DVD/Bluray and 7.1 channel sound (Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD & DTS-HD).
At time of writing the Kogan Blu-Ray 2.0 Player was in stock and available online direct from Kogan for $292.50 including postage
Region Unlocking Bluray and DVD
- Turn the Blu-Ray on and open the Tray Door
- Then press the following number combination on the remote “9113”
- This will bring up a screen which will allow you to change the region. You have the choice of entering a region code for both Blu-Ray and DVD. I recommend you only change the code for the Blu-Ray component and leave the DVD box empty.
- You will need to scroll to the second box and enter either “1” “2” or “3” depending on the region you wish to use.
- Save the settings by pressing OK and you should be able to watch discs from your selected region.
Just to ensure the unit does have the latest Firmware update, please follow the instruction below.
- Please download the upgrade from the following Sendspace link and copy it onto a USB Stick
- Turn on the Blu-Ray player and ensure no disc is inserted
- Connect the USB stick to the Blu-Ray player
- A message will appear on the screen of your TV – Select OK and press Enter
- Once the upgrade has finished please remove the USB stick.
- The Blu-Ray player will then restart and be ready for use.
Other People’s Reviews of the Kogan Blu-Ray 2.0 Player
Kogan products have so far been hit and miss, but we’re happy to say we were quite impressed with this one. For the price it delivers features and performance you’d have to pay a lot more for in a “name” brand. The renewed Kogan Blu-ray player is a bargain, with many of the niceties of much more expensive players but you can’t expect video precision for the price.
– CNET Australia
I have had one of these for a week now and am very happy with it at the price. In buying the Kogan I felt I was taking a punt – but the “boss” didn’t want me to spend more money after the TV and it was such a great price I was able to get away with it
Secondly it has the onboard decoders for Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio which plug straight into the old receiver. So far the picture quality is excellent, the sound is fantastic and the features are as much as we want when watching a movie.
– “Testarossa” on Whirlpool Forums