The first thing that strikes you about Yamada's extremely affordable DVD player/Freeview receiver combi is just how slimline it is. Not an unusual feature in low-cost players, but the DVD-7600XTV is almost paper thin in comparison.
There's no room on the all-black fascia for any controls other than the on-off button and two small access ports for an SD card and a USB connector. These are accessible by pulling open the grey rubber protectors, much like those on a camera or mobile phone.
The other problem is the size of the blue LCD display window. With its whisper-quiet operation, you'll certainly need your reading glasses to see whether the disc is actually spinning or not. More effort has been made with the remote control, as its coloured buttons make set-up easy.
Press Display on the remote control while playing a DVD and a handy menu appears in the black bar at the top of the screen (on 16:9 aspect ratio only) listing chapter, playing time and disc type. Press the Display button twice and a second menu appears with language, audio type and subtitle details.
Being able to access these functions while watching the movie is not standard on many other players, and the sort of technology that you'd only expect to find on an HD player. The Yamada also has outputs for a 5.1 surround sound amplifier (accessible through the Speaker setup menu) and soundtracks can be further enhanced by selecting the Audio Effects menu.
Keeping both the Scart and the component video connected and switching back and forth between the two betrayed only a small amount of picture degradation with the former. The opening scenes in of our test DVD of Nostradamus looked vivid and colourful.
The Freeview part of the player is accessible by pressing the Source button on the remote. Yamada's First Time Installation Wizard system automatically speeds through the channel settings while the Channel Guide lists the programmes on the left of the screen with a pop-up thumbnail on the right displaying a miniature version of the selected channel.
Picture quality on our 42in Panasonic plasma was variable across the main channels with soft images on outside broadcast material, such as news and sports coverage, but stronger, solid images on studio-made programmes. As with DVD, the best results were when using the component cable.
Continual pressing of the Source button will activate the Card Reader functions for MPEG4, MP3 music and JPEG images. Viewing an MPEG movie recorded on a USB stick, the picture did suffer from some blocking, but the better the source material then the better the picture.
All-in-all, the DVD-7600XTV represents excellent value for money. But with the absence of any operating buttons on the player itself, it's imperative that you take care of the remote control. Lose it or break it and the unit is as good as useless.