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So...how about those $30 DVD players...The Sungale DVD8500


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#1 of 38 Patrick Sun

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Posted November 28 2003 - 05:46 AM

I totally did an impulse buy while I was at MicroCenter today during the Black Friday sales madness. They had a DVD player for $30 (without any of that mail-in rebate garbage), so I went ahead and picked up 2 of them. One goes in my office mainly for CD player duty, and the other will go to my parents for a backup player as a X-Mas gift.

The name of this player is the Sungale DVD8500.

Once I get some time I will hook it up to the HT and see how it looks and sound, but I'm not overly optimistic, and at worst, it'll just be a CD player for me anyhow.

I admit to getting it because it as 2 Mic inputs for Karaoke functionality. Posted Image

It does have a DD 5.1 encoder (with 5.1 outputs), and has component/S-video/composite video outputs, and both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs as well.

It says it's even got Progressive Scan video output via the component video output.

It's supposed to play: DVD, VCD, SVCD, HDCS, MP3, CD-R/RW adn Kodak Picture CD.

All this for $30? Crazy.

(found a link showing what the player looks like and its backside, plus features)
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#2 of 38 Garrett Lundy

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Posted November 28 2003 - 05:54 AM

Reminds me of my parents $40 "Classic" DVD player. Even a ridiculously cheap player will be night & day better compared to VHS. Possible problems (as experienced with a classic):

*May not play some DVDs. Harry Potter worked OK, but Saving Private Ryan came up "No Disk".

*Short life span. Picture turned Black & white, then stopped working in 10 months.

*Worst remote control ever! Some buttons did nothing! but even worse....had a 4' range (With new batteries)!! The horror! My poor parents had to get up off the chouch to play a DVD.
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#3 of 38 larry mac

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Posted November 28 2003 - 06:00 AM

A few months ago I predicted DVD players for $25 by Christmas; looks like it may happen. There were several on sale here in big D today for $26.95.

#4 of 38 Don_Berg

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Posted November 28 2003 - 06:09 AM

This is the latest wave of the "El-Cheapo" players from mainland China! These are targeted for the Walmart crowd.

#5 of 38 Patrick Sun

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Posted November 28 2003 - 06:14 AM

I think the "Karaoke" function gives its origin away. Posted Image

At least the CD portion works. Next up will be some MP3 burned onto a CD-RW...

(Included link for details on this particular DVD player in the first post in the thread)
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#6 of 38 Patrick Sun

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Posted November 28 2003 - 09:06 AM

How about that, I just found out this DVD player also does NTSC/PAL conversion.

And there's a region code hack for it as well.
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#7 of 38 Jim Rakowiecki

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Posted November 28 2003 - 10:55 AM

Hey how about $19.99 after rebates at Best Buy until noon Friday here in Milwaukee. Not sure of the brand but I think it says AMW.
Boy, it looks like I spent a whole bunch of money on my Denon 2200. I could have gotten 30 of these things.

#8 of 38 Patrick Sun

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Posted November 28 2003 - 12:33 PM

Okay, I've been throwing all sorts of DVDs/CDs at this player:

DVD+RW - played fine, no problems.

DVD-R - played fine, no problems.

DVD+R - will test soon once I burn one for testing.
DVD-RW - will test next week when I received some DVD-RWs.

DVD Region 2, PAL - played fine without the need to set the region at all (it appeared to be set on Region 9, which I guess is "all region" when I tried one of the hacks from the webpage sited above). I just popped the DVD in, and the player just starts playing through the start-up stuff on the DVD. The PAL framerates does make the video skip a beat every so often, but I sort of got used to it as I watched more of it, and it's not really a horrendous skip, more like a small blip every now and then.

DVD Region 1, NTSC - played fine, no major problems.

VCD on CD-R - played fine, no problems.

SVCD on CD-RW - played fine, no problems.

Music CD played fine.

Will test MP3 on CD-R/RW soon.

Halleluah, there's a button on the remote that allows you to toggle between progressive and interlaced for the component video output.

The progressive scan mode - the video appears a little brighter and has a light blue/green tint to it. Perhaps the black levels are a tad low on it in this mode.

The interlaced scan mode - the video appears to be a little more rustish in color, and the video is a little more darker and grittier to look at.

I didn't test the composite video or the S-video performance for now. I rarely watch DVDs in those modes, so that's why I didn't think to look at the video quality while I was do my other testing.

I did have one DVD (a music video compilation) that made the player lose lock on the audio if I used any of the transport buttons (FF,REV, Chap Skip). I tested the same DVD on my Panasonic RP-91, and it didn't have any problems with losing audio as such. But on 5 other DVDs I had no audio problems when I used the transport buttons, so maybe it's one of those things where this "cheap" player isn't capable of handling 100% of all DVD authoring jobs out there.

I did note that sometimes if I cycled through the audio streams on a DVD, my preamp needed some help to get back to the DD 5.1 mode (it sometimes went to a 2-channel mode). But it seemed to vary from DVD to DVD, so perhaps the player has a somewhat erratic audio digital output behavior, but not a deal killer. And for the price, definitely not a big deal.

Minor nitpick: Whoever did the menu programming left one character field "active" if you engaged in changing or looking at the settings, so once you cleared out of the menu settings, you'd see one grey character field left on the video screen. But that's easily cleared away by cycling through with the "Display" button on the remote.

So, for $30, this player is a steal, especially considering it does PAL/NTSC conversion and appears to be region free.

And did I mention you can use it for karaoke too? Posted Image
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#9 of 38 Jesse Skeen

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Posted November 28 2003 - 01:02 PM

I got one a couple months ago for Target ($34.99, the average price of a laserdisc movie) and it does tons of cool stuff, but it has two headphone jacks on the front each with its own volume control- looks like they were originally microphone jacks but they changed them to headphone.
What's really cool is it has a pitch control (so you can get Ross Bagdasarian's real voice back on Chipmunk records) and a few echo modes.
Bought it mainly to play PAL discs since my good player can't do that without a converter; it'll be interesting to see how long this thing lasts.
An unadvertised feature it has is CD+Graphics decoding, though you can't turn the time display off so it blocks part of it, and it couldn't handle the graphics on my Jimi Hendrix Smash Hits since there's tons of stuff going on that one.
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#10 of 38 Bill Will

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Posted November 28 2003 - 01:54 PM

In my neck of the woods Saturday only Strawberries has the Coby DVD Player model DVD203 for $19.99 after a mail in rebate which I'm planning on picking up. The add says it will play MP3, CD-R & CD-RW and is NTSC/PAL Compatible. It also states Super Slim Mirror-Front design & the picture of the remote looks exactly like the Samsung DVD Payer remotes. Anyone have any good or bad info on this player? They also have a seperate Karaoke Machine model SM-138 for $19.99 Now instead of those "Sports Phones" how come were not seeing buy a subscription to TV Guide, Sports Ill & etc & get a FREE DVD Player Posted Image Today they had the X-Box for $149.99 after a mail in rebate & a Coby CD Player for $9.99 after the mail in rebate.

#11 of 38 Patrick Sun

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Posted November 28 2003 - 02:26 PM

Here's a couple of shots under da hood:

Closeup of chips - not the Sigma, but a Zoran.

Guts exposed.
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#12 of 38 Bill Will

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Posted November 29 2003 - 03:04 AM

This coming Sunday through Wednesday Strawberries has the Panasonic Model 25 for $49.99 with a mail in rebate & in your choice of Black or Silver which seems like a pretty good deal seeing most places are geting $79.99 for it & I did manage to score one of the Coby $19.99 players but haven't had time to mess with it yet. Happy Hunting Posted Image

#13 of 38 Jack Briggs

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Posted November 29 2003 - 03:44 AM

Lifespan will be the issue here.

Patrick, you have an RP-91, right? How does the PQ compare with that? Concerned about the blue tint you're seeing in progressive mode.

Thing is, for $130 Sony offers the 725. I bet it would last a few years. These units you picked up might last a few months if you use them extensively for DVD-Video playback.

#14 of 38 Jesse Skeen

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Posted November 29 2003 - 06:14 AM

I wonder if the mechanisms in these players wear out, if you could just buy a new DVD-ROM drive and swap it out? Might still be cheaper to buy a new player if they stay at these prices, but the geek in me would want to keep the same one running as long as possible.
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#15 of 38 Rick Jones

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Posted November 29 2003 - 05:32 PM

This again brings up the question... How are there people who don't have dvd yet?

#16 of 38 Jay Blair

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Posted November 29 2003 - 09:24 PM

More importantly, why are there still a large number of people actually buying VHS tapes of films that are out on DVD? That alone should be grounds for locking these people up, because they are obviously certifiable. Posted Image For a little more than the cost of 1 sell through VHS tape you can now buy a DVD player. Pretty soon they'll be throwing in a free player with every DVD you buy. In fact, Hollywood should just give away a free DVD player to every household that doesn't already own one, so that the remaining holdouts would start buying DVDs, where the profit margin is higher.

Jesse, I think we're different breeds of geek, the geek in me buys a new DVD player every few months.

#17 of 38 Patrick Sun

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Posted November 30 2003 - 03:55 AM

Given that I've set my TV's video settings mainly for my Panasonic RP-91, the video from the Sungale is softer (this shows up as you compare the video in Superbit audio menu for "The Fifth Element" DVD, as the letters are clearer on the RP-91, but softer/fuzzier on the Sungale). Also, the colors appear somewhat washed out (as in too much brightness, which I alluded to earlier, and can be corrected by adjusting my TV's brightness setting). The Sungale would probably look decent on a smaller video sized screen where video shortcomings would be minimized. Like I said, for a backup DVD player, or one for the bedroom, the price can't be beat.

For MP3s, I like how the player will output the list of MP3s that can be played from the CD-R or CD-RW, and you can pick and choose (using the arrow keys on the remote, provided you have the TV on to see the display, else, you just hit the play button and listen to the music). Going through subdirectories for each album is easily navigatable using the arrow keys too.
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#18 of 38 Bill Will

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Posted November 30 2003 - 05:50 AM

Jay, my question is why are they even releasing things in the VHS format? If they would just stop using VHS just about everyone who doesn't have a DVD Player would run out & get one.

#19 of 38 Iver

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Posted November 30 2003 - 07:43 AM

That's a really good deal. I have seen some of these unheard-of-brand players at Circuit City (the salesman told me that they were all sold out, what a surprise), but they usually have very minimal connections. Never component. Sometimes S-Video. Usually just R/L for analog audio. And only one type of digital-audio connection. Progressive scan NEVER.

Let us know how the karaoke works out.Posted Image

#20 of 38 Jesse Skeen

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Posted November 30 2003 - 08:45 AM

People who want everything in pan and scan should be able to stick with VHS. In my current retail experience, it seems like VHS movies are already being prematurely phased-out, as people still ask for them when they're not available(same with audio cassettes.)
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