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Sony 36XBR450 - Is progressive scan DVD player redundant?


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#1 of 30 Allan Mack

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Posted June 15 2001 - 01:23 PM

Hello everyone,

Please excuse my ignorance in this forum... I only recently caught the home theater bug in May of this year when I bought a Panasonic DVD-RV31, mainly to listen to CDs with MP3s on them. Well, when I saw the picture quality of DVD movies, I knew I had to upgrade my 9-inch Sony! So please be patient with me as I am not yet quite up to speed on all the technical jargon.

Anyway, I am planning to upgrade my Sony KV-36FV27 (which I've owned for less than a week) to a KV-36XBR450. I just saw both of these side-by-side today, and the difference was amazing. They were both hooked up via plain old composite outputs (I peeked in the back) and the DVD player was a standard, interlaced (ie., non-progressive) inexpensive ($200) JVC model. Since no salespeople were around, I adjusted both sets to the same settings for a fair comparison.

The movie that was playing was MIB, and it was in 4:3 Pan and Scan mode. Anyway, the XBR450 was MUCH smoother and filmlike than the FV27, which had visible scan lines. I attribute this improvement to the built-in DRC on the XBR450. I then flicked both sets to the same analog cable TV channel, and the XBR450 was by far smoother.

Anyway, the questions I want to ask are:

1) Since the 36XBR450 has DRC and 3:2 pulldown, would it be redundant to get a progressive-scan DVD player, such as Sony's DVP-NS700P, which also has 3:2 pulldown? I'm pretty sure my non-progressive scan Panasonic DVD player will give me the same results as the el cheapo JVC, so why should I spend more money to get a progressive scan DVD player? Would a progressive scan player give me even better results than what I saw? Like I said above, the cheap, interlaced JVC player hooked up to the 36XBR450 via the plain, ubquitous composite connectors yielded VERY pleasing smooth and filmlike images, virtually eliminating scan lines from only about 6 feet away.

2) Some people have mentioned that the Sony DVD-NS700P has the "chroma bug". I am red-green color-blind, so is this something I should be concerned about? If enough of you say that I should get a progressive player to go with the XBR450, then this DVD player is the one I would get.

Anyway, thanks in advance for any advice or opinions you can give me!

#2 of 30 JohnHN

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Posted June 16 2001 - 01:49 AM

Red-green color blind? Then why do you need a color TV?

I'm also red-green color blind and yes, I can easily see the chroma bug.
http://www.hometheat....ug-4-2001.html

There is an example of the bug at the top. (The pictures at the bottom do NOT exhibit the bug so don't strain your eyes trying to see it in them; they are scenes in various movies where the bug will appear.)

The word on the Sony 700 is that the chroma bug is fairly severe in that player. So I'd hold off on buying the 700, at least until we get some feedback on the new Toshibas, to be released within the next two weeks. These will probably also have the bug but perhaps not as severely (one can always hope).

With a longer time frame, there is the upcoming Panasonic 61 (August)which will be probably not have the bug and the tantalizing and mysterious Philips (July? August?)which may or may not have the bug but will have the Faroudja/Sage deinterlacing chip. Both sets will be under $400.

On whether to get a progressive DVD player, the obvious thing to do is experiment, then report what you find! To date, the rule has been that using a good progressive DVD player beats, overall, using the internal deinterlacers even on sets, like the Pioneer Elites, that have 3:2 processing. Likewise, people generally prefer using a progressive DVD player to using the excellent external iscan deinterlacer. The picture from a good progressive DVD player will appear sharper and have better color (even for people like us) than the picture through the iscan.


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#3 of 30 Allan Mack

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Posted June 18 2001 - 07:10 PM

Thanks for the link, John.

I think the XBR450 will be good enough for me for the next year or two, when progressive scan DVD players will be even more affordable. Hopefully by then they'll get rid of the chroma bug completely.

#4 of 30 RyanDinan

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Posted June 19 2001 - 02:21 AM

Quote:

1) Since the 36XBR450 has DRC and 3:2 pulldown, would it be redundant to get a progressive-scan DVD player, such as Sony's DVP-NS700P, which also has 3:2 pulldown? I'm pretty sure my non-progressive scan Panasonic DVD player will give me the same results as the el cheapo JVC, so why should I spend more money to get a progressive scan DVD player? Would a progressive scan player give me even better results than what I saw? Like I said above, the cheap, interlaced JVC player hooked up to the 36XBR450 via the plain, ubquitous composite connectors yielded VERY pleasing smooth and filmlike images, virtually eliminating scan lines from only about 6 feet away.

2) Some people have mentioned that the Sony DVD-NS700P has the "chroma bug". I am red-green color-blind, so is this something I should be concerned about? If enough of you say that I should get a progressive player to go with the XBR450, then this DVD player is the one I would get.

Anyway, thanks in advance for any advice or opinions you can give me!

Allan,
Actually, DRC does not have 3-2 pulldown detection built in - This next year's models will however.
You may see a slightly better picture with a progressive scan DVD player that does have 3-2 pulldown detection over Sony's DRC. But to be honest, I have a hard time telling the difference between DRC in 480p mode, and a progressive scan DVD player - DRC is that good - even without 3-2 pulldown detection.

The chroma bug is a problem with the MPEG decoders used in many different DVD players, as allot of manufacturers use the same chips.
Panasonic is one of the very few that uses their own MPEG decoders, and does not have the chroma bug.

-Ryan

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#5 of 30 DaveF

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Posted June 19 2001 - 04:46 AM

Quote:
Actually, DRC does not have 3-2 pulldown detection built in - This next year's models will however.

He was talking about the new Sony models, the XBR450, which do have the 3:2 pulldown detection. From crutchfield.com (since Sony.com is so obtuse)
Quote:
Sony's remarkable XBR450 models produce a picture that is even more seamlessly filmlike than the XBR400 ...The key is Sony's CineMotion™ 3-2 pulldown technology
http://crutchfield.c....836XB450&o=&a=

#6 of 30 Allan Mack

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Posted June 24 2001 - 08:39 AM

Well, I got my Sony KV-36XBR450 on Friday, and I'm happy to report that it is much brighter than the KV-36FV27. I had originally posted my concerns that the KV-36FV27 was too dark out of the box:

http://www.hometheat....ML/007259.html

The XBR450 also produces a much better picture with full-scan (ie., 4:3) and non-anamorphic DVDs. Not only that, but I can add a progressive scan DVD player later on. I figure I'll buy a progressive scan DVD player about 8-10 months from now--I've already blown my budget sky high this year! Posted Image Also, I can add a HDTV box if I want.

The verdict so far:

Interlaced DVD player: Excellent quality, even with non-anamorphic DVDs. Images are very smooth, solid and filmlike. Virtually no scan lines.

Analog cable: Poor quality on most channels. Images look digitized. Only a few channels look good. However, virtually no scan lines. For me, this is a moot point, since I will be ditching my cable service very soon anyway--nothing good on TV these days! (See: The Kill Your TV Website )

I didn't really see much difference in the different DRC modes: Interlaced, Progressive and CineMotion.

Any recommendations on a good progressive DVD player will be greatly appreciated.



#7 of 30 Allan Mack

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Posted June 29 2001 - 08:56 AM

Guess what? I went back on my word and went out and bought a Panasonic DVD-RP91 three days ago. After three days of testing and tweaking with the controls, I've come to the conclusion that I actually prefer the XBR450's DRC.

With the progressive output of the RP91, everything looked just too soft to my eyes. I was also disappointed that combing artifacts became even more noticeble. In order to eliminate them, I had to go into the U3 mode and take the V-sharpness down to -1, but everything became even softer as a result. Even when I turned up the sharpness to +6 in the U1 mode, it still didn't look as good as with the DRC.

Non-anamorphic letterboxed DVDs also looked better with DRC and the RP91 in interlaced mode. I tried the vaunted "zoom" feature with the RP91 (after manually turning on the 16:9 vertical squeeze feature on the XBR450), but the results again were much too soft for my taste.

The conclusion? I will be returning the RP91 and keeping my interlaced Panasonic DVD-RV31. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with the RP91, I just think that the DRC is THAT good. At least to my eyes it's THAT good, and that's what's most important, right? The DRC is not perfect--it still has some minor combing artifacts--but it is well within the tolerance level for me.

I honestly feel that Sony did such a good job with the DRC that you don't need a progressive scan DVD player with the XBR450. Perhaps a true progressive scan player is more necessary with larger, rear-projection sets, but at this size (36 inches), the DRC works just fine. I think it's due to the fact that the DRC upconverts 480i signals up to 960i--that's why it looks sharper than the 480p signal as provided by the RP91.

And yes, I did re-calibrate the TV with Avia with the RP91. The settings were only slightly different than with the RV31. I also experimented with the Auto Transfer modes in U4 mode. The DVD-Audio features meant nothing to me.

#8 of 30 Captain Spaulding

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Posted June 29 2001 - 10:02 AM

Allan, I concur with your observations on the XBR450 and progressive scan. The interlaced output of my JVC progressive scan player looks much sharper and cleaner than the progressive output. Yes,Sony has really done something right with DRC and the built-in 3:2 pulldown detection.

#9 of 30 JasonRH

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Posted June 29 2001 - 12:41 PM

Allan Mack,

Do you find the XBR-450 to be better than the FV model when watching analog cable. I wanted to know because I'm trying to decide between the two sets and that's all I'll have access to for a while. Thanks.

Everyone,

Have any of you tried video games on an XBR 400 or 450? If so, how did they look?
Thanks a lot for any replies.

#10 of 30 Allan Mack

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Posted June 29 2001 - 02:03 PM

JasonRH,

The XBR450 smoothes out the scan lines with analog cable, so I would have to say yes, it is better than the FV model I had. Just make sure to turn down the contrast and sharpness. Some channels are worse than others in terms of the digitization effect.

I don't have any video games, so I don't know what it would look like.

Hope this helps...

#11 of 30 JasonRH

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Posted June 29 2001 - 02:19 PM

Allan Mack,

Thanks for the quick reply. Have you noticed and geometry, convergence, or other problems with the set? Do you have the Avia disc? Lastly, what stand are you using?
Sorry for all the questions.

#12 of 30 Allan Mack

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Posted June 29 2001 - 03:06 PM

I have seen no problems with my set so far, and yes, I do have the Avia disc.

The stand I have is the Tech-Craft BET48:
http://www.dynadirec...fn-tcbet48.html

Cheers!

#13 of 30 JasonRH

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Posted June 30 2001 - 01:53 AM

Allan,

If you have time, using Avia, could you check the grey field test pattern (100 IRE field is best) and see if you get a uniform white colored screen? I've yet to see a lower end Wega with good color uniformity and I was wondering if the XBR series is better in this regard. Thanks.

#14 of 30 RANDY FISHER

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Posted June 30 2001 - 02:47 AM

Allan...that's really cool to hear your story. I have had my 36XBR400 for 2 months now and I have been wrestling with the same issues. Even though the 400 does not have the Cinemotion mode for DRC it seems to do a great job on 95% of the material I have tried when looking for de-interlacing artifacts like jaggies. The only disk I saw jaggies on was Titanic during the camera pull back scene. It seems that with most disks especially anamorphic ones that the DRC up converting 480i to 960i can't be beat. I tested out a Sony 700p on my set and confirmed what everyone else has been saying in that a progressive scan player can not compete with the DRC at 960i in terms or pure sharpness. Plus with a progressive scan player you lose the cool 16:9 auto detect. I love to see that some of the menu's and other sections of the disk are 4:3 and see it switch back and forth and display the correct aspect ratio on the fly...Sony engineering at it's best. I have been actively searching for a progressive player that has the build quality of my Sony 7700 but everything looks and works so well with my 7700/XBR combo that I am afraid I will drop $1000 and not like the new setup as much. I guess it's an interlaced player and DRC or bust.

Have you tried a disk like the above mentioned Titanic scene and flipped through the DRC settings to see if the Cinemotion reduces the jaggies further than interlaced/progressive settings? I was wondering how big a difference the DRC upgrade has made.

Thanks Randy

Randy J. Fisher, CTS-D

#15 of 30 RaulT

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Posted June 30 2001 - 08:11 AM

I just got my new toys. 36XBR450 and R91.

Wanted to know what's the best set up on the TV and DVD player.

On the dvd player:
1)Should I set the "TV Aspect" on 4:3 Pan&Scan, 4:3 Letterbox?
2)Digital picture mode: Currently have it on Cinema mode, should I go with User mode and tweak the contrast, etc myself?
3)Transfer mode: I currently have it on "Auto2"
4)4:3 aspect I have it on "Normal"

Also, any advice on the tv set up will be greatly appreciated and I apologize for the rookie questions.

Thanks.

#16 of 30 Allan Mack

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Posted June 30 2001 - 08:16 AM

JasonRH:

Yes, my XBR450 does have excellent color uniformity... I certainly did not see anything unusual...

#17 of 30 Allan Mack

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Posted June 30 2001 - 08:24 AM

RaulT,

1) Set the RP91's TV Aspect to 16:9
2) Most people prefer using the User modes
3) Auto2 sounds about right. Use Auto3 for animations.
4) Set the Aspect mode to "Auto"

Don't forget to turn on the 16:9 Enhanced Mode on your XBR when viewing anamorphic DVDs.

Good luck with your new set-up. I personally did not like the softer picture that the progressive scan player puts out, but you may actually prefer it. Try switching back and forth between Progressive and Interlaced modes on the RP91, and you may actually end up preferring the DRC as I did.

#18 of 30 RaulT

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Posted June 30 2001 - 10:10 AM

Awesome. Thank you very much Allan for the info.

One last thing, As for switching to progressive and interlaced, it's just a matter of pressing the button on the dvd unit right?

Thanks again!

#19 of 30 Allan Mack

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Posted June 30 2001 - 10:26 AM

RaulT,

Yup, just press the "Progressive Out" button on the unit's front panel.

#20 of 30 Allan Mack

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Posted June 30 2001 - 10:34 AM

Randy,

Yes, I noticed the difference between the different DRC modes in the XBR450. I popped in "Toy Story 1" and, at the beginning of chapter 6, near the top of the screen, you can see door opening as the camera pans from right to left. In either "Interlaced" or "Progressive" modes, the angled line in the moulding of the door appears jagged. In "CineMotion" mode, which has the 3:2 pull down, the line appears to be smoother.

I also tried chapter 12, where the "Dinoco" sign is spinning. The difference is also quite noticeable here. CineMotion is definitely smoother than with the other two DRC modes.

I tried these with the progressive output of the Panasonic DVD-RP91 as well, and the angled lines did appear to be even smoother still, but at the expense of overall sharpness. I'm still going to return the RP91. Too bad--I kind of liked the champagne finish--it went well with my silver XBR450...





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