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Philips DVD-963SA: SACD, DVD, and 24/192 upsampling of CD, for $400?!

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by KeithH, Oct 26, 2002.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I just read this over on Audio Asylum with a link to another site. It seems that that the Philips DVD-963SA will do DVD, SACD, and upsampling of CD to 24/192 for a mere $400, which is J&R's price. It is not available yet, but wow, that seems like a heck of a deal. Does anyone know if the specs. of the '963SA are for real? Will it really do all that for a mere $400? Here are relevant threads:
    Audio Asylum thread:
    http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/dig...ges/54371.html
    Headphone Hi-Fi thread:
    http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showt...threadid=18640
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    More information. Here is a link to the '963SA on J&R's web site:
    http://www.jandr.com/JRProductPage.p...e,Product_Name
    Note these features listed on J&R's site:
    * Plays SACD, DVD, Video CD, CD-R and CD-RW media
    * Dual Laser Pickup provides best possible picture and sound with DVD and CD Formatted discs, and optimizes laser lifespan
    * Built-in DSD, AC-3, MPEG2 decoders
    * 5.1 channel Output plus Coaxial and Optical Digital outputs
    * Ultra low jitter master audio clock
    * Linear toroidal transformer removes noise generated by power supply or RF generating electronic equipment
    * Resume playback feature
    * Fully separate Analog and Digital processors
    * Separate Audio and Video circuitry
    * Outputs: Composite Video, S-Video, Component Video (Y, Pb, Pr)
    * Upsamples CD audio to 192kHz / 24-bit performance
    * Advanced Bass Management sets each speaker's low-pass crossover point separately
    Is this thing for real? Look at the last bullet point. Adjustable crossovers?! I can't believe this player, on paper at least!
    The person on Headphone Hi-Fi had an interesting bit of information. Here it is:
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    The $400 number must be a typo...

    Keith:

     
  4. Claire Panke

    Claire Panke Second Unit

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    That's no misprint. J&R has the Philips for $399 (MSRP $499).

    The 963SA doesn't play DVD-A. It will upsample Redbook CDs to 192khz and plays SACD, has separate power supplies and circuitry for video and audio - that's a heckuva lot already for a $400 machine. (You expected DVD-A from the Philips-Sony consortium??? C'mon.)

    There is a very long thread over at avsforum.com about this player. ("New Philips 963SA, is there still a hack for PAL progressive?")

    The reason most people are excited about the 963SA is because of its considerable video capabilities:

    * 13 bit 108mhz video DACs
    * No chroma bug
    * Region Free DVD playback
    * PAL/NTSC capable
    * Second generation Sage-Faroudja DCDi de-interlacing/progressive chip (FL2310), which has some very interesting possibilities. One the chip's features that is implemented on the 963 is the "Truelife" adjustment. This is an adaptive sharpness control that will selectively enhance detail without adding video noise. The FL2310 chip is also 720p and PAL progressive capable, a hack *may* enable access these capabilities.

    Everything about the 963SA sounds like good news, whether you want it for audio or video. Except for one thing - the release date keeps getting pushed back. We may be looking at first of the year or later. :-(

    I already have a high end up-sampling CD player. (And I'm not wild about SACD. Yet. PLus I'm not wild about the quality or quantiry of software.)) But if the 963 does turn out to have PAL->NTSC capability, along with its other video features, it might be my dream player. Currently no Sage-Froudja chip players convert PAL to NTSC.
     
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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  6. Aaron H

    Aaron H Supporting Actor

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    I don't know if this is the same for others in the US, but I really don't think I have reason to want the region free playback or the PAL/NTSC switch (but I can certainly understand other's excitement over this), is there anything about this player that makes it stand out over the Panny RP-82?

    Aaron
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin,

    You shouldn't expect Philips to incorporate DVD-Audio. That's as likely as Sony doing it. Ain't going to happen.


    Claire,

    Thanks for the info. The '963SA looks like a heck of a player. I've heard that this player has been delayed a few times. Someone here said that Philips was waiting to deplete its inventory of the '962SA. This has the looks of a stalemate all over it since people in the know, like us, will just wait for the '963SA. In any event, I want the '963SA!


    Aaron,

    I have no interest in PAL to NTSC conversion or region-free playback. For me, all the good movies are Region 1.

    You asked:

     
  8. Aaron H

    Aaron H Supporting Actor

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    Sorry Keith, when I made the statement:

     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Aaron, O.K. Best of luck in your search for the right DVD player. I'm sorry to hear that things haven't worked for you with SACD.
     
  10. John Kotches

    John Kotches Screenwriter

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    Keith,

    The chips that can do Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion from 16/44.1K to 24/192K (like the Analog Devices AD1896) aren't terribly expensive. The sample board is US$12.50 (100 to 500 units).

    I expect Philips to be purchasing in 10,000 unit lots which is going to bring the price down to under US$10 per unit.

    Of course Philips could be doing their own silicon but on a product that will be streeting at the US$400 price mark I seriously doubt this will be the case.

    Regards,
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John, thanks for sharing the "insider information". [​IMG] I know these chips aren't too expensive, which of course begs the question, why aren't more manufacturers doing what Philips is doing?
     
  12. John Kotches

    John Kotches Screenwriter

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    Keith,

    Because that US$10 means US$50 at retail, and that US$50 means the difference between US$250 and US$300 at retail.
    Most consumers won't pay the added costs, and will pocket the US$50.

    This information about pricing isn't "insider information", it is freely available if you know where to look.

    Also, has anyone ever opened up an SACD-1000 chassis? One of the chips has an interesting competing format logo on it. For those that missed the veiled reference, I'll say it outright: The Philips SACD-1000 could well have been a Universal player but for political reasons DVD-Audio is not included.

    In case anyone thinks this is idle rumour, the person that verified this owns DVD / SACD / DVD+RW player product planning in the US for Philips.

    Regards,
     
  13. Claire Panke

    Claire Panke Second Unit

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    John, thanks for sharing that interesting bit of info, lol. Again, don't think we're going to be seeing Philips sporting DVD-A outside the chassis anytime soon. (You'll be happy to know I didn't buy a plasma, nor one of the buggy Samsung DLPs. I may own a FP yet.)

    Aaron, I thought it was clear from my post what PQ benefits and features the Philips 953SA would offer, but let me try again:

    * First and foremost, the 963SA has the new, next generation Sage-Faroudja chip FL2310. The Pannys 56-62-82 & Denon 1600 have the old chip FL2200.

    The new chip has the same superior de-interlacing of the old one, but adds greater capabilities, like the Truelife adjustment, which will let you, in theory, selectively improve detail in your DVD picture (and this is key) without the trade-off of adding video noise. (Does a more life-like, more detailed picture with fewer artifacts sound good to you?) The previous model Philips already had Digital Crystal Clear for picture enhancement, but according to people who've played with the 963SA prototype, the Truelife function derived from the Sage chip offers knockout detail quality, much better than standard 480p, possibly closer to HD. Best of all, it's user controllable.

    * The FL2310 should offer scaling capabilities. Moreover, if you have interest in Hi Def, the player, through this same chip, may also offer 720p, which is a true HD format.The chip probably can do more, but this is what we know about.

    * The Philips also appears to have better parts and build quality than you'd expect in a $400 street price player, certainly better, much as I love 'em, than the RP62 or 82.

    * Check out the video DACs, 13 bits and 108 mhz - those are more resolving DACS than found in the players you're comparing with. The better and more powerful the DACs, the better the PQ.

    All the audio goodies and multi-region stuff aside, the PQ of the Philips is something you'd expect to find in a much more expensive player. If the FL2310 chip is well implemented, the 962SA could be something rather special, at a very affordable price.
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Claire asked:
     
  15. Han

    Han Second Unit

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    I wonder when the 963 will really come out, since there's that talk of delays to clear out 962 inventory. Then there's talk over at HometheaterSPot about how no FLI2300 DVD players will come out for a long time to allow Faroudja to sell their own 2300 DVD player.
     
  16. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    I was the one who started the threads, both here and at AVS, that the 963SA has been delayed until late December/January. I got this info from Oade Bros. last week when I called to inquire about ordering the player. According to them (and they got this from their Philips rep) Philips wants to clear out the 962SA inventory before releasing the 963SA. As things stand, the 963SA is in the country, sitting around in warehouses. It all sounds batty to me, but there you go. That's what I was told, and I'm just passing it on.
     
  17. John Kotches

    John Kotches Screenwriter

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    Han,

    Given that Faroudja's players are well into the 1000s of dollars I don't buy that logic, since they are selling into radically different price categories. That doesn't mean it isn't true, just that your statement is a bitter pill to swallow.

    Eujin,

    The problem with your information chain is you're getting the information 2nd hand. Does that mean its invalid? No, just hard to verify the accuracy of the statement.

    Regards,
     
  18. Claire Panke

    Claire Panke Second Unit

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    I've never seen a 963SA, much less opened one up, but according to someone who has, the chip is the FLI2310. I also think I remember that the FLI2200 doesn't offer the Trulife adjustment...nor 720p nor PAL progressive.

    John's right. While it's a given Faroudja wants to sell their own players, since they are also partners in the chip business, I'm guessing that they want to sell chips too. In fact, through their partners, they'll sell many *thousands* more chips than they will Faroudja DVD players. You can bet their own players will be tricked out to the max, with superior electronics, and will be targeted to the high end AV and custom installation market. Meanwhile, why not sell tons of chips? In this economic climate, I'd think mutiple income streams would be "desirable".

    The delayed release of the 963SA is another brilliant example of Philips bumbling marketing prowess, especially in North America. Ahem.

    ATTENTION, Philips guys: CHRISTMAS IS COMING. ARE YOU IN THE RETAIL ELECTRONICS BUSINESS???? Take a page from rival Panasonic and blow out the old model, you already screwed up with its delay. The 962 is like, so "OVER". Give the consumer a better product at a better price...NOW. That's the way to make and earn respect. You'll sell more of the 962s at clearance anyway, it's time to cut your losses on this baby, and get the respect and market share that could be yours with the new 963. It's gonna be a big screen Christmas, civilian consumers and videophiles are gonna be moving up. The 963SA is the perect player to cream the RP91, the Denons and the Kenwood. ARE YOU IDIOTS LISTENING????

    (Sigh...I didn't think so.)
    It'll be here when it's here.
     
  19. John Kotches

    John Kotches Screenwriter

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    Claire:

    To be fair to Philips, at this point its rumored as being delayed -- I have sent e-mails to my Philips sources (see above), but don't know that they'll comment on the topic.

    Regards,
     
  20. Claire Panke

    Claire Panke Second Unit

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    Thanks John, let us know what Philips' response is. Get 'em to send you a review sample!

    I know Philips TV division is floundering in North America. Heck, I couldn't find a 34PT9818 to view within a 150 miles of my hometown (a metro area of 1.4 million.) Not good. I don't want to see a company with a better mousetrap fail. Being in sales myself, I don't want to see Philips miss the Christmas window.

    Also, I'm sitting here with around 20 PAL DVDs, and I really don't want to buy a Malata.

    At least it'd be nice to know this *is* a better mousetrap.
     

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