Anyone compared the Panasonic 500 vs the Sony 790?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Sam Posten, May 14, 2012.

  1. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Curious on your thoughts regarding these two. I've been very happy with my PS3 as my only Bluray player, but have been told that the 2011/2012 era BD decks beat it hands down. Might pick one up to try it out and see how much different it is.
     
  2. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Sam, I currently have the S790 and will be taking delivery of the BDT500 tomorrow. I'll be comparing them over the weekend. The S790 is very good, so much so that I got rid of my Oppo BDP-93 in favor of the Sony. It'll be interesting to see how the Panasonic stacks up.
     
  3. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Sam, is there some special feature these 2 players have that you need? Because those 2 players will be overkill and wasted money for most people. I do love the Panny players.
     
  4. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Both of these players are superior to the PS3 for Blu-ray playback. No question. As for being overkill, as you mention Jim that depends on what your needs are. Like the Oppo players, the S790 and BDT500 both have dual HDMI outputs for people that wish to do 3D on their displays but are hampered by a legacy receiver. AFAIK these two machines are the only sub $500 offerings on the market that offer dual HDMI.

    The BDT500 also has 7.1 analog outputs for sending multichannel audio to an older receiver or preamp and its analog audio quality on these outputs is receiving a good amount of praise. The Panasonic will decode FLAC audio from storage devices plugged into its USB ports or SD card slot, as well as FLAC streamed over your network from a DLNA server. The Sony doesn't support FLAC. The S790 has a 3.5mm IR input for integration with a remote control base station and 4K upscaling, which is useless unless you have a 4K display and even then its value is questionable. The Panny lacks both of these features. Both players have excellent streaming app support. The player interfaces are pretty good with the Sony's mimicking the PS3's XMB appearance, although I find it rather crude looking. The Panasonic's interface is much more polished. Both seem to be more complex and clunky than they need to be.

    As for BD playback, both units are *excellent* and I don't think you can go wrong with either. Comparing the two side-by-side with all video controls disabled, I think the Sony produces a slightly more detailed image than the Panny. The BDT500 may be slightly richer looking than the S790. Most people will say that bit-perfect is bit-perfect as far as BD playback is concerned, but I can see differences between players. The PS3 Slim for example is softer than both of these players on BD content. Noticeably so.

    So IMO if you need dual HDMI outputs but aren't concerned with analog audio or FLAC playback, the Sony would be a great choice. If you're looking for a player that can compete with the Oppo BDP-93 in many ways but is more affordable, the BDT500 will fill the bill.
     
  5. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    Some players are not bit-perfect. In particular, the current generation of Sony players (390/590/790) have a bug when the default RGB output encoding is selected. Their RGB encoding has a reduced color gamut. Their YUV encodings are correct, though.
    Supposedly a similar problem was found in and fixed in a previous generation of Sony BD players.
    This problem with the x90 players was described in a review on the "Secrets" web site and was reported to and acknowledged by Sony. The review is temporarily unavailable. Supposedly the review will be available again in a few days.
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Why did you get rid of the Oppo?
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I am only interested in them because people swear they are better than the PS3 for BD playback, which I find hard to believe. I personally believe that to be placebo. =)
     
  8. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    It's streaming app support is too limited, particularly their Netflix client, and I felt that the performance per dollar ratio wasn't worth it for me when I could get the S790 for half the price. LOVED the Oppo's build quality and their customer service though.
     
  9. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Well, I had all three in my rack side-by-side and I've got to say that BD playback on both was noticeably better than the PS3. Noticeable enough that I sold my PS3. The whole "bit-perfect" BD playback argument is a bit of a red herring IMO. After evaluating several BD players I'm firmly convinced that most manufacturers tweak the output of their products to achieve a particular look.
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I just bought the Panny 500 player.
     
  11. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Congrats Robert. You should like it. It's a very solid player. I ended up keeping the S790 myself, for a couple of reasons. The main issue I had with the Panny was the lack of a 3.5mm IR input on the back panel. It would have been a pain to integrate into my URC RF remote system if I had to stick an IR emitter on that moving front door.
     
  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    By the way, I also bought the Oppo-93 for my main HT setup. I will be converted this player to region-free so I can move my Sherwood 5004 to my bedroom HT for region-free playback while using the Panny 500 for domestic releases.






    Crawdaddy
     
  13. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Crawdaddy,
    What's your take on the BDT-500 compared to the Oppo?
     
  14. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Performance-wise I prefer the Oppo 93 on video/audtio playback, but some of the optional stuff like some of the streaming services is better on the Panny. Also, the region-free mod on the Oppo makes it even better. If the same region-free mod can take place with the new Oppo 103, I might buy that unit and then place the 93 in my bedroom in place of the Panny 500 and Sherwood 5004.






    Crawdaddy
     
  15. mark_anderson_us

    mark_anderson_us New User

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    Hi dpippel

    My S790 will be here tomorrow. I need to integrate with MSC-400 (URC). I'm interested that you said you'd use the 3.5mm IR input, is that because you have a Sony TV, or can you connect a URC base station directly to the S790 via cable?

    thanks

    Mark
     

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