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Confused, which DVD player?

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3 replies to this topic

#1 of 4 OFFLINE   Khaled_H



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  • Join Date: Jan 02 2001

Posted May 01 2003 - 05:47 AM


With all the advancements in DVD technology with regard to Audio/Video over the last few years, I finally got the upgrade bug/itch to replace my Tosh 3109. I have been reading all the relevent threads to see what is available that meets my needs (or wish list), and I am confused. Just to give you some background:

My system:
TV: Pioneer Elite 610
DVD(current): Toshiba 3109
CD: Marantz 63
Pre-Pro: Outlaw 950
Amps: Parasound 1500A (fronts)/Parasound 1205A (rest)
Speakers: NHT 2.9 (front)/AC-2 (center)/1.5 (surr)/ SVS CS20-39 (sub)
As you can see I have not changed my source for sometime now. I am looking for a player with overall good audio/video performance. I am looking for something for $500 or less and have narrowed down to these:
1. Denon 1600
2. Pioneer 45A
3. Philips 963SA
What else should I look at? I am not sure how to interpret the reviews posted by a lot of you commenting pictures being digital or film like (could this be the due to how the source mate with the display?). I think 610's built-in doubler is reasonably good, but may not be upto par with recent DVD players. Have any of you have experience with any of these players with this TV (or any other that I should look into)? If you have upgraded from similar DVD (Tosh 3109), did you see significant improvement? Also, how do these players compare with regards to audio? I read 963SA is highly praised for audio in some forums, Denon is also considered to be competent, haven't heard much about the pioneer. Overall, I am looking for good video reproduction with minimum artifacts AND reasonable audio performance (with CD and DVD-A or SACD). Can I get it for <$500 or do I have to move up in my budget.

Thanks in advance for your inputs.
-KhaledPosted Image

#2 of 4 OFFLINE   AaronJB


    Second Unit

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Posted May 01 2003 - 07:55 AM

I just wrote a fairly lengthy response to this post and then proceeded to accidentally lose it (I still think my computer did it).

Anyways, to try again:

I purchased the Philips 963 this week. I had the 3109 in the past, but it's been a few years, so I don't remember everything about it (although it was a perfectly fine player, from what I do generally remember). I don't have any experience with the other players, so I can't do a comparison. Below are my "Pros" and "Cons" about the Philips after a few days of using it. In other words, a basic review.


1. I've seen reports of a handful of different bugs with the player (lip-sync, angle icon, etc.). The only "reported" issue with the player that I've noticed is the "angle icon" issue. If you play a movie with multi-angle material, the "angle" icon will pop up in the upper corner...and stay there Posted Image . I've tested this with the "Clerks: Animated" DVDs (the material within is essentially all multi-angle) and it's there.

2. The user interface (and, along the same lines, the remote) are awkward. The remote is comfortable and the interface offers lots of options, but the buttons are laid out in a manner that's not right - I suppose I'll get used to it, but I've found myself hitting the wrong buttons when I'm trying to navigate through the interface and not looking down at the remote. Another remote issue: hit the chapter forward/back button too hard and you'll find yourself 2-3 chapters ahead instead of one.


1. I am using this player with a 32-inch TV that, while very nice, is nothing exceptional. The TV has offered a very pleasant picture through the component inputs from a series of DVD players that have come and gone (been sold). The picture on this player was impressive from the first moments, but after a little tweaking, I was stunned by the image quality. Sharpness, detail and color reproduction are stellar - the picture remains rock-solid, while still smooth and film-like. I'm very impressed, with both the audio and video.

2. The build quality is very nice. This is not a tank by any means, but the player (I'm guessing it's 10 pounds or so) is built quite well. Looks-wise, it's subtle, but sharp. It's not thin, it's not tiny or space-age looking, it's just a sharp, attractive piece of equipment.

3. I've only got one SACD (I'm jumping from DVD-A (the former player, which I just sold today) to SACD - both formats are terrific, but SACD has more titles I want), but the SACD performance on that particular SACD seems wonderful, with no concerns.

4. CD Upsampling (the player can upsample CDs to 24-bit/96khz or 24-bit/192khz, although most receivers do not accept 24/192 through the digital input) also adds a good deal to the sound quality of regular CDs. Some CDs benefit from this more than others, but has certainly made a difference on every CD I've tried so far.

Oddities/Neat Little Things:

1. The player offers a quick, fairly quiet series of little electronic "dialogue" twice before the tray opens. I don't know what it is, but it's just a sound that amuses me each time.

2. Some players offer a bit-rate meter for video (I believe the 3109 did); this player offers a bit-rate meter for both audio and video, as well as one for the "total".


There are a few issues with this player that should not have been (the angle icon thing), but I'm so pleased with the performance of the player otherwise that my overall impression is very positive.

My advice is to do a lot of research (hometheaterhifi.com, avsforum.com, audioasylum.com, ecoustics.com, epinions.com, audioreview.com, this site and others are good places to start) - I did two weeks straight of reading through reviews before deciding that this was the right player for me.
Webmaster,A Guide To Current DVD

#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Khaled_H



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Posted May 02 2003 - 04:48 AM


Thanks for your in-depth review of 963. Based on your feedback, it seems you are pretty happy with the audio/video perofrmance. I don't know how much the "allways on" angle icon will bother me. In general I do not like anything (subtitle or other onscreen info) when viewing movies. How many DVD's are out there with angle options? IF there are only few, it may not be a big deal afterall.

Thanks again,

#4 of 4 OFFLINE   AaronJB


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Posted May 03 2003 - 09:22 AM

Two titles with major amounts of multi-angle during the actual presentation (not supplements) are "Clerks: Animated Series" and - although I don't remember details - "Tomorrow Never Dies". There are probably a few more, but nothing that's coming to mind.
Webmaster,A Guide To Current DVD