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Is Faroudja over-rated?


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#1 of 29 OFFLINE   MuneebM

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Posted March 16 2004 - 10:12 AM

I've recently been "forced" into the market for a new DVD player because of a few faults with my current player, a Toshiba SD5700. The SD5700 is an awesome performer with respect to picture quality on my Toshiba 50H82. However, I've recently realized that my SD5700 has trouble transporting the digital stream of DTS ES, DTS, and certain Dolby Digital EX tracks to the point that it causes audio drop outs. It also freezes up on certain discs. It seems that all the Vaddis V MPEG/de-interlacer equipped Toshiba players have the aforementioned audio drop outs; I've tested and successfully reproduced the drop outs on specific scenes of specific movies on an SD4800 and SD3800. As for the disc freezes, it seems that problem is inherent in other SD5700 players as I have found various threads about it on this forum. Well, I've been considering buying one of the top-ranked Faroudja-based players and got my hands on a Denon DVD-910 over the weekend for $400 CDN (taxes in). I brought the player first to a friend's house and we Avia calibrated it on his Toshiba 46HX83. We A/B'd the Denon against a Toshiba SD4900 (not sure yet if it has the Vaddis V inside). We initially expected the differences to be like night & day, and I guess they might have been if the Denon was up against a poorer quality DVD player. Turns out that the differences, if any, were not even noticeable and we actually preferred the overall picture quality of the Toshiba SD4900 as we found the Denon was darker and the flesh tones were pinker (the Avia color decoder check showed that the Denon had a lot more "red push" than the Toshiba). We didn't have the DVDs Secrets uses in which the Faroudja scaler really shines, e.g. Toy Story, Big Momma's House, etc., but we did manage to find a couple of scenes in a couple of movies where the Denon had less "jaggies" than the Toshiba, but we really had to be looking for them and sometimes even had to zoom in to notice the difference. We then brought the Denon to my house and again, Avia calibrated it on my 50H82 and A/B'd it against my SD5700. On the 50H82, the Denon had less "red push" than it did on the 46HX83, which may indicate a calibration error on our parts on the 46HX83. The Denon was still a tad bit darker than the SD5700 on the 50H82, but the flesh tones and colors were pretty much identical with both players. This is where the A/B comparison became really tough: the Toshiba SD5700 and Denon 910 reproduced a picture that was practically identical, the SD5700 even had less "jaggies" than the SD4900 did on the HX83 (this may have been due to the 1080i upscaling on the HX83). The SD5700 really gave the Denon a hard time, and in the end we ended up preferring the overall picture quality on the Toshiba player, mainly because it was just a tad bit brighter and the colors were a little bit better (less "red push" than the Denon). Although the SD5700 had a bit more "jaggies" than the Denon, the difference is so negligible that most people won't ever notice it unless they really look for it. Furthermore, the SD5700 suffers from the chroma bug but I have never yet seen it in 2 years of using the player and probably won't ever see it until someone really points it out to me. All this makes me think that Faroudja is really over-rated and that maybe only certain people, like the experts at Secrets, can really tell the difference enough to give the Denon a 90% score and the SD5700 a 40% score! Either that, or the SD5700/SD4800/SD4900 are such good players (picture-quality wise) that they make it difficult for the Faroudja to beat them. Other than picture quality, the Denon DVD-910 had horribly slow layer changes, as slow as my SD5700: 2-3 seconds, so in that department it wasn't much of an upgrade for me. The Denon 910 also has a horrible interface and remote control when compared to that of the SD5700, so it would be a downgrade for me in that deparment. The Denon also didn't exhibit any audio drop out problems and didn't freeze on any discs we tried, but is that really worth $400 CDN? The Toshiba SD4900, on the other hand, has absolutely seamless layer changes, a wonderful interface, and can be had for as little as $160 CDN! That price tag is much more attractive considering I actually preferred the picture quality on the Toshiba players and that the build quality of the Denon felt very cheap. Well, needless to say I returned the Denon DVD-910 and saved myself $400 CDN. I do still plan to upgrade my DVD player and will most likely end up with the Toshiba SD4900. I was going to dish out up to $500 for a Panasonic XP30 on eBay but now that I've discovered how un-impressed I am by Faroudja, I'll just opt to buy a player that I think produces a wonderful picture at a much lower price.

#2 of 29 OFFLINE   greg_t

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Posted March 16 2004 - 11:00 AM

Faroudja itself is not over-rated, it's a top of the line deinterlacer. However, I do think that many times people focus soley on whether a player has faroudja or not and forget there are other equally important factors in choosing a dvd player besides the deinterlacer. Faroujda isn't going to make a dvd player with poor basic video output a great player. The other aspect are just as important, if not more important, than deinterlacing.

#3 of 29 OFFLINE   MattWel

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Posted March 16 2004 - 01:06 PM

you can get a XP30 on ebay for alot less than $500. I have an XP30 and I love it. I did notice a difference between it and my old Panny RP62 that also has faroudja. By no means are all faroudja players equal.

#4 of 29 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted March 16 2004 - 01:06 PM

I've had a Panny CP-72 with Faroudja chip for well over a year. The only aspect of it's performance that really shines is it's ability to handle poorly flagged discs and to a noticeably lesser extent video based material like special features documentaries and such. I have a grand total of 2 dvds of theatrical movies that look mediocre on a JVC and very good on the Panny, one is Red Violin and I can't remember the other off hand. The Panny does look noticeably better for special features, but won't scale or pillarbox like the JVC will, so I'm constantly having to switch aspect ratio settings on my tv and put up with gray instead of black bars on 4/3 stuff. Film based 4/3 dvds, like classic 30s and 40s films are imho unwatchable with gray bars as the Panny requires, while my JVC nicely puts black bars on the sides. Since these aren't video based they look very nice indeed. I'm glad I have both players in my system, don't get me wrong, but I just don't see the Faroudja chip as being an absolute must-have unless you have many more "problem" discs than I, or have a large collection of video based dvds. I'm certain that as with so many other areas of HT, the Faroudja chip's reputed superiority is somewhat blown out of proportion.
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#5 of 29 OFFLINE   Don_Berg

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Posted March 16 2004 - 01:52 PM

The Denon DVD-910 is not the best Faroudja-based model it has some issues as you saw. I got a used Panasonic XP30 that has a sharper picture (flat freq response) with Faroudja de-interlacer and a CUE-free MPEG decoder, its perfect! Check on EBAY for the Pansonic RP82, XP30 and XP50 models.

#6 of 29 OFFLINE   Kevin. W

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Posted March 16 2004 - 02:45 PM

If your interested in a RP82 I know someone who has one forsale for $400CDN with 2yr extended warranty. Its not just the deinterlacer that makes the PQ good you need a top notch MPEG card inside as well. This is what the Panasonic RP82 has. Kevin

#7 of 29 OFFLINE   MuneebM

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Posted March 16 2004 - 03:23 PM

Before I went in to trying the Denon DVD-910, I was expecting a huge improvement over my Toshiba SD5700 based on all the great things I'd read about Faroudja on these forums. I was disappointed by the fact that I could barely tell a difference, and worse, I thought my player actually looked better overall. If it weren't for my SD5700's occasional audio drop-outs and disc freezes, I'd keep it as long as it can last.
Don_Berg, why do you say this? Secrets gave the 910 a 90% rating and the Panny XP30/RP82 a 91%. The Panny's can't possibly be much better if the score differential is 1 point, especially considering I couldn't tell the difference between a 50 point differential between my SD5700 rated 40% vs. the 910 rated 90%. I'm very reluctant to shell out $400-500 CDN on eBay after the disappointing results of the 910. Can anyone who A/B'd the Denon 910 against the Panasonic XP30/RP82 please confirm that the PQ is really better?

#8 of 29 OFFLINE   MattWel

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Posted March 16 2004 - 03:32 PM

I thought the Denon 910 scored 85 and not 90. I know it's not a huge deal, but still it's a difference of 5 points.

#9 of 29 OFFLINE   MuneebM

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Posted March 16 2004 - 04:29 PM

Yes you're right, I don't know why I saw 90 and rememberd that number! Well, 85 is still much higher than 40, which is the score given to the Toshiba SD5700 and yet I couldn't see much, if any, difference between both Avia-calibrated pictures.

#10 of 29 OFFLINE   David Judah

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Posted March 16 2004 - 04:37 PM

Overall picture quality is subjective. The guys at Secrets run the DVD players through tests that can be scored on an objective basis. For most of the discs in your collection and perhaps the few you tested, the issues that Secrets had in their weighted scoring system might not have sprung up. They estimate that 10% of the discs out there are the ones that are going to give some players problems, so that leaves around 90% that will look great on a majority of players. The information is valuable because it lets us know a particular players weaknesses. If that players weaknesses don't apply to a majority of the discs you own, then it's not really an issue to you, but it may be to someone else. As you found out, you didn't need to get a new player for your purposes, but if you are the type who's real picky about all aspects of your video reproduction, a test DVD that has alot of different torture tests on it(there are several I've seen--one made by Kenwood, for example)might have shown more differences between the players. DJ

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#11 of 29 OFFLINE   Kwang Suh

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Posted March 16 2004 - 04:49 PM

The last batch of Toshibas I messed around with were okay; some of them did have major problems with combing on video material, something that Faroudja based players are very very good at. The Toshibas actually have a fairly decent MPEG decoder and deinterlacer, not the best, but certainly very good for the price.

#12 of 29 OFFLINE   JeremySt

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Posted March 16 2004 - 04:49 PM

Secret gave the 910 points off for not passing the blacker than black test. That is actually a mistake on their part, they were not able to find the setting that enabled the darker mode in the setup menu. Thats because its not there! There is a button on the remote that enables it directly. Maybe if they read the instruction manual. Posted Image

#13 of 29 OFFLINE   Charles Gurganus

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Posted March 16 2004 - 11:37 PM

So lets cut to the chase. The scores at the Secrets site reflect how the players did with just a few specific scenes in even fewer movies. If you don't watch much video based movies, you wouldn't notice the difference MOST of the time. In other words, it is a big to do about nothing. I wonder if people who swear by these DCDi machines could tell the difference in blind A/B tests without pausing the movie and eyeballing the red outline in Toy Story? For film based movies they would not likely be able to tell even when pausing.
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#14 of 29 OFFLINE   Ralph B

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Posted March 17 2004 - 12:33 AM

side by side you can. just for fun i ran my new Pioneer 563A against my XP50 and yes the XP50 won but the Pioneer(i dont care what tests say, my eyes can tell me) did a real nice job but the little details is where the XP50 shined!

#15 of 29 OFFLINE   Charles Gurganus

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Posted March 17 2004 - 01:22 AM

Was this a blind test Ralph or did you know which player was which?
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#16 of 29 OFFLINE   MattWel

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Posted March 17 2004 - 03:24 AM

so are you suggesting if he knew which one was the xp50 and which one was the Pioneer he would just see what he wanted to see? I would give him more credit than that, unless he is being paid by Faroudja.Posted Image

#17 of 29 OFFLINE   Jim-M

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Posted March 17 2004 - 03:51 AM

Secrets originally gave the 910 a score of 90. Kris Deering went back last weekend and retested for passing blacker than black because a number of us could not get it to pass below black. He came to the same findings and lowered the score to 85 over the weekend. Enabling the darker mode via the remote didn't change whether it could pass below black, at least for me. If you have a 910 that is passing below black, what is the manufacturing date of it? The one I returned was August 2003. Many others at AVS Forum also couldn't get it to pass below black, so we're not just imagining it. Some have speculated that there may have been some production change if some are passing below black.

#18 of 29 OFFLINE   MuneebM

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Posted March 17 2004 - 03:52 AM

Well no, but I think his mind would subconciously want the XP50 to look better, so it would. Which might explain why my SD5700 actually looked better in my eyes to the Denon 910.

#19 of 29 OFFLINE   Ralph B

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Posted March 17 2004 - 04:06 AM

not a blind test.

well for one I only paid $70 shipped private sale for the XP50 so its not like I wanted it to look better cause I paid more for it or I know its suppose to be a better player, infact I could care less cause I think for the most part dvd in general looks good! Posted Image

but anyone with a decent set of eyes playing over and over the same scenes you can tell. for one on I think it was the last crusade where indy is in the sweet looking at a tablet the letter where easy to make out and clear on the XP50 but on the pioneer there was some motion detected around the letters. its really not a difficult thing to see and point out differences on 2 different players. not brain science. I only paid $70 open box for the Pioneer at CC too so really it didnt matter what one did better as I got a great deal on both. I think when you over pay you tend to favor the big purchase. Posted Image

#20 of 29 OFFLINE   Kwang Suh

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Posted March 17 2004 - 04:09 AM

Hmm, I had one that was manufactured in Sept 2003 that seemed to pass BTB fine. Then again, I didn't really test for it.




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