Covered in a brushed-metal silver finish, the sleek and functional Philips DVP5986K comes loaded with the standard array of functions and ports, including karaoke and DivX playback support but most importantly, upscaling functions that allow your DVD to be played back at 1080p.
In keeping with its minimalistic design, the front of the DVP5986K has only a few shiny silver buttons which are slim and none too obtrusive. The USB slot and microphone slots are located on the far right, jarring an otherwise smooth finish of the unit; though putting them at the side wouldn't make sense either.
We were expecting the DVP5986K to perform well and we were not left disappointed by our tests. Through a HDMI connection, we tested its capabilities on a Samsung F8 40-inch TV which features both 1080i and 1080p support. Using two two movie titles: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Swordfish, there was definitely a noticeable difference in quality between the upscaled version of both DVDs as compared to their non-upscaled playback.
Notably, ambient noise in the video also got 'upscaled', though we felt the player handled it as best as it could. While HDMI quality was superb, the same could not be said of the component connections as the quality degradation was obvious even when compared to the non-upscaled HDMI output. Also note that component output does not allow for upscaling.
As for DivX support, the DVP5986K is limited to a maximum 720 x 576 resolution and the good news is that you can either burn the video to a CD or DVD or play it straight from the flash drive. The bad news is the player does not offer support for disks in NTFS format, so make sure your flash drive is in FAT32 (which shouldn't be a problem for disks under 4GB anyway). Playback quality for DivX files is of course largely dependent on your video's encoding and there could be buffering pauses as well if the video bitrates are a little high.
Menu options are relatively simple and intuitive, allowing a user to easily set up the various display and audio modes. Similarly, the convenient HD upscale button on the player lets you toggle the resolution upwards from standard 480p to a maximum of 1080p, even during video playback.
The Philips DVP5986K is a decent player that does it job well with a minimum of fuss, making it a superb player in our book for those still waiting for the format war to end. There's a limit to how much upscaling a player can do given the source material but the DVP5986K has done plenty in that department, as the difference in quality in upscaled and non-upscaled video is immediately noticeable. At S$202, consumers will find that the DVP5986K will deliver for its price in both form and function.