The Philips BDP7200 Blu-ray player made its bow at this year's CES, and is set to hit the UK in October. Our review of the US-based product suggests it could be well worth the wait.

When we saw how good the Blu-ray version of 'The Searchers' looked on Philips' $400 BDP7200, we wrote down: "looks like VistaVision" - because that's truly how clear and crisp we found the image.

John Ford shot his 1956 western in VistaVision, a special process that used twice the usual amount of film to deliver a beautiful, highly detailed image.

Another juror noted the high-quality colour and sharpness of the image. This Philips BDP7200's overall performance score of 85 placed it in the very highest echelons in terms of Blu-ray player image quality.

For sound quality, as well: the Philips BDP7200 scored highly on our audio tests; in particular, our uncompressed PCM test track from 'The Last Waltz' came out well-rounded.

This Philips BDP7200 is Blu-ray BonusView-enabled, so you can play back the picture-in-picture features available on some movie titles.

You'll need patience to use the Philips BDP7200, though. While the unit powered up in less than 20 seconds (reasonably good for a Blu-ray player), it took an additional, mind-numbing 44 seconds to start playing a disc. The total startup time, 64 seconds, is poor. Once running, the Philips BDP7200 responded sluggishly to such remote control commands as popping up the menu and skipping chapters.

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