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About to go HD...


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#1 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted November 06 2007 - 08:29 AM

I'm thinking about heading to the store after work to get my first entry into the HD format: A Blu-Ray player. I have a relative that works at CC and I can get a good discount.

Since Sony made it, I imagine their players are good? If so, how is their new lower priced BDP-S300? How does it compare to thier higher end model? I did a comparison off their site and they seem largely identical in function. Is the 300 missing anything major?

I can get that player for probably $200 off, or 40%. I'm not new to HT, but am extremely new to HD formats. Is there anything big I need to know before purchasing?

The Blu Ray format still has good ol' Dolby Digital 5.1 does it not? My receiver is a Onkyo TX-SR604. (I'm pretty sure.)

Thanks....

Edit: I am open to other brands if the sony isn't good. Posted Image

#2 of 40 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted November 06 2007 - 11:16 AM

The BDPS300 can't send the latest Audio formats at all. It also is not Profile 1.1 compliant so it will have issues with future extra features.

If I were to buy a BR today, I would wait until the new Panasonic BD30 comes out. It's profile 1.1 compliant and will output all HD audio formats.

The higher end BDPS500 isn't profile 1.1 compliant but will send advanced audio formats out via bitstream to future receivers(except DTS MA which the player is due to be upgraded to in Jan). The player also has 5.1 analog and will decode DTS HD, Dolby True HD and DD+ via analog if your receiver has 5.1 analog ins.

#3 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted November 06 2007 - 03:24 PM

Would you mind going into more detail for me about that, or pointing me to some good sites?

I know I didn't know much about the new formats, but yikes, I know even less than I thouoght. What is profile 1.1?

Looking at the specs comparison on Sony.com, the player seems to almost match the higher end model.

How many next gen audio formats are there? I see it doesn't support Dolby True HD. I have an HDMI receiever, the Onkyo TXSR604 but I know it doesn't have any Next Gen audio formats. it does have the multichannel analogs though...so that means if I get a Blu Ray player with decoding built in, I can pass it through the reciever cant I?

Back to the comparison. I notice it says on a few things, like Dolby Digital Plus the 300 says "Yes." But the 500 says "Yes (HDMI Bitstream out.)" What does that mean?

In getting a next generation player, we are doing it mainly for the picture improvement, not so much the sound. I've alway loved DD and DTS...but perhaps I don't know what i'm missing. We are in an apartment though, so we dont play stuff at theater levels anyway. I'd like a few recommendation on players out now, in the 5-600 range. I also eyeballed the Panny DMP-BD10A a bit. Seems it does have more audio formats onboard.

Any info on this would be great. Gah I miss when I knew all about the DVD audio formats.

Probably looking to buy this tomorrow, if i decide on one. Me and the fiancee are going after work. So I hope to research this to death tonight. Ha ha.

#4 of 40 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted November 06 2007 - 04:38 PM

Profiles:
http://en.wikipedia.....layer_profiles
Quote:
How many next gen audio formats are there?
Lossy: Dolby Digital Plus and DTS HD
Lossless: Dolby True HD and DTS Master Lossless
PCM - pretty much a BR only uncompressed format.

The lossless formats are "supposedly" exactly the same as the lossless formats only the lossless formats take up less space.
Quote:
so that means if I get a Blu Ray player with decoding built in, I can pass it through the reciever cant I?
Yes provided the 604 will accept PCM via HDMI. The 804 does but I'm not sure on the 604.
Quote:
Back to the comparison. I notice it says on a few things, like Dolby Digital Plus the 300 says "Yes." But the 500 says "Yes (HDMI Bitstream out.)" What does that mean?
That means the 300 will decode DD+ and convert it to PCM before sending it over. Since DD+ is non-existent on BR discs, it's a non-issue. The 500 cant' decode it at all. It merely passes the bitstream to a hdmi 1.3 receiver with built in HD decoders.
Quote:
we are doing it mainly for the picture improvement, not so much the sound
Quite a few people will say the HD audio is a bigger improvment.

The profile thing could prevent you from purchasing because if you care about the latest extra features, it will matter, if not the Panasonic is a fine player. Or you could wait a month and get the upgraded model BD30

#5 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted November 06 2007 - 04:46 PM

Thanks for the replies. Just a follow up for now. I was looking at my receivers manual. It'a HDMI 1.1. How if at all does that limit the audio I can get from a Blu Ray Player I buy? If I get the Panny, I can just use the 7.1 analog jacks right? But if my reciever supports the HDMI audio, then HDMI will be preferable right?

What's the word on the Samsung BDP1400? I just found it, only other one in my range it seems.

#6 of 40 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted November 07 2007 - 12:34 AM

Quote:
How if at all does that limit the audio I can get from a Blu Ray Player I buy? If I get the Panny, I can just use the 7.1 analog jacks right? But if my reciever supports the HDMI audio, then HDMI will be preferable right?
HDMI 1.1 means your receiver doesn't have the latest codecs however it might accept PCM over HDMI from a BR/HD player which decodes the signal and passes it on. The thing you want to focus on is the decoders the player has.

#7 of 40 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted November 07 2007 - 01:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Sanchez
I know I didn't know much about the new formats, but yikes, I know even less than I thouoght. What is profile 1.1?


Just to answer this. No Blu-ray player at this time is compliant with Profile 1.1. The PS3 is the only current player that is upgradable to 1.1. Profile 1.1 requires (at minimum) the ability for the following:

Built-in persistent memory - 64KB
Local storage capability - 256 MB (currently the requirement is none).
Secondary audio decoder - Mandatory (required for PiP content, currently the requirement is optional and none have it except PS3)
Virtual file system - Mandatory (currently optional)
Internet connection capability - Optional (currently, none have it except PS3)

There's also a worry that current players are not able to handle the entire feature set of BD Java (BDJ) , the language used for interactive menu coding. I know when I had the S300, it took a long, long time to process the BDJ menus for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and wouldn't play the Java game without an update.

#8 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted November 07 2007 - 03:11 AM

Thanks everyone again for all the information. I am enjoying learning this stuff.

Back to the player choosing. If I can manage a bit more money, then how is the Sony 500 compared to all the others I mentioned? Would it be "The best" choice?

One thing that takes the 300 pretty much out of my options is that it doesn't save a movie spot when you turn off the player. I almost never finish a movie in one sitting that really irks me. I know the Panasonic will save the spot, not to mention has more decoding, so it's my top choice at the moment. But now I am thinking about paying more and seeing about a better model, which naturally opens my options...

Quote:
That means the 300 will decode DD+ and convert it to PCM before sending it over. Since DD+ is non-existent on BR discs, it's a non-issue. The 500 cant' decode it at all. It merely passes the bitstream to a hdmi 1.3 receiver with built in HD decoders.

Since I'm looking at this player, I wanted to ask more about this. When you say the 500 can't decode this at all, DD+ for example, does that mean in this sense the 300 is actually BETTER? It says the "Yes (Bitstream out) on a few more audio options, the one I'd be most concerned with is Dolby® TrueHD Decoding it does through bitstream. So if I understand that, that hooked up via HDMI, the player would decode the TrueHD before it hits the receiever, which means my receiver would be able to play the sound, correct?

My reciever isn't very old, but wasn't that much and has no current gen audio. It's newest thing is PLIIx, 7.1, but nothing newer. So a BR player that has on board decoding is going to save me I believe? If my new player has 7.1 analog inputs, will I want to use those, or HDMI? Optical wouldn't be my best option, would it?

Sorry, I feel like I'm bombaring everyone. Just want to get the right player. Posted Image

#9 of 40 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted November 07 2007 - 04:46 AM

If your receiver does not have HD audio (DD+, TrueHD, DTS-HD/MA) decoding, then the 500 is not for you. If what Shane says is correct, the 500 has no internal decoders, it only sends bitstream to the receiver via HDMI. You would require a receiver that has DD+, TrueHD, and DTS-HD/MA decoder on board (i.e. the Onkyo X05 series) ino rder to obtain any HD audio other than LPCM from the 500.

If you are looking for a recomendation and you don't mind buying a non-Profile 1.1 player, I can heartily supprt the Panasonic DMP-BD10A. It decodes all HD audio (except DTS-HD MA, which nothing decodes right now) and if you buy it soon, it still comes with 5 free titles in the box, most of which are pretty good. It isn't 1.1 compliant though, and as I begin to utilize the HDi extras on my HD DVD's more and more, I sometimes regret paying so much for what I can't help feeling is a "crippled" player in the HDM-BD10A. Other than that, I really like the player.

#10 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted November 07 2007 - 06:08 AM

Thank you Jeff.

I thought the 500 might be out because of the audio options. Am I misreading or does the 300 actually do more than the 500? That seems very misleading.

How is the samsung BDP1400? I can't find much on it. It's pretty much the only other option so I might as well ask about it.

#11 of 40 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted November 07 2007 - 06:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Sanchez
Thank you Jeff.

I thought the 500 might be out because of the audio options. Am I misreading or does the 300 actually do more than the 500? That seems very misleading.

How is the samsung BDP1400? I can't find much on it. It's pretty much the only other option so I might as well ask about it.

The 500 is actually more advanced than the 300, being it is the first generation BD player that actually can pass the HD formats as bitstream via HDMI. It just requires a more advanced receiver to process the bitstream. The X05 series Onkyos have the new codecs, so you missed by one generation. But that doesn't matter, the other players all decode (most of) the HD formats and send them via LPCM, which your receiver handles fine. In the s300's case, it won't decode TrueHD, which is more common on HD DVD (it is required by the player spec), but is starting to show up more on BD. I really don't know much about the Samsungs, I never really researched them.

As an aside, the reason the 1st and 2nd gen players all decode at the player rather than the receiver is because both the HD DVD and BD spec allows for mixing two soundtracks into one, so you can mix a commentary into a standard soundtrack on the fly, instead of recording an entirely new soundtrack that contains both and storing the brand new (mixed) track on the disk. Since it is impossible to send two soundtracks via bitstream over HDMI, and decoding them and re-encoding them was impractical then, the manufacturers just defaulted to decoding both on the player and mixing the LPCM. I don't know what the current BD players do in order to pass this mix as bitstream, but the A35 HD DVD player decodes, mixes, re-encodes as standard DD and then sends bitstream in order to do commentary+soundtrack.

#12 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted November 07 2007 - 07:40 AM

Thanks again Jeff. I know just about all i need too.

Regarding LPCM... is that a multichannel format? Like 5.1? How does it compare to DD or DTS? You said my receiver will be able to do it?

Thanks for the info about the generation player differences. The audio mixing is interesting.

I'm just anxious to get into HD. I'm probably going to end up getting HD players for both formats. I really don't care which format "wins." They both don't seem to be going anywhere.

I'm also entertaining the idea of getting an Onkyo 605 and Ebaying my 604 or something. That's get me "current" on my Receiver. When I bought the 604, I guess i wasn't thinking. My first (and only) DD DTS receiver was a Sony STR DE935, which I still have and works. But I was having a major shortage of inputs, especially in video, so I got a new receiver. I guess I got the best of the old generation sound formats receiver. But I may remedy that.

Sorry I took a major aside there myself.

If I was to get the Panasonic, with my current receiver, how best would I want to hook up the audio? HDMI or 7.1 analogs?

#13 of 40 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted November 07 2007 - 08:11 AM

LPCM is indeed Multichannel PCM. Think of it as the decoded digital audio standard (like a CD) except in up to 5/7.1 channels. Now, I checked up on the 604, it does not handle HDMI audio, so with that receiver you would be limited to the 5/7.1 analog ins. Sorry, I mistook the model number and led you astray. The 605 would allow HDMI audio, both LPCM and the undecoded DD+/TrueHD/DTS-HD. If you were to upgrade to the 605 (I got mine for $399 on sale at CC), you could choose any model of HDM player and would be fully compatible (and then some).

#14 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted November 07 2007 - 08:28 AM

At home currently, my DVD Player (Upcoverting) hooks right to my TV via HDMI. I didn't go through the receiver at all, didn't see much reason too. I've barely even looked at the receiver's HDMI details, but I could of sworn it supports audio via the HDMI. It doesn't... at all? Yikes.

Guess it's good it has the analog inputs if I decide not to get a reciever now too. Money is an option, unfortunately. :-.

#15 of 40 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted November 07 2007 - 09:03 AM

Quote:
Now, I checked up on the 604, it does not handle HDMI audio,
It does, actually.
SVS Customer Service
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#16 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted November 07 2007 - 09:25 AM

Welcome to my confusion.

#17 of 40 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted November 07 2007 - 09:54 AM

Posted Image On page 31 of your owner's manual it goes into what audio it accepts via HDMI. The 604 can accept 5.1 channels of (up to) 96/24 PCM.
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#18 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted November 07 2007 - 10:01 AM

Ah thanks.

I've decided on the 10A Panasonic. It having 5 movies INSIDE (2 being the Pirate movies) is not too shabby at all.

So for my setup, I'll want to use the HDMI cable alone and that should do it? Or is there any reason I still would want to use the analog inputs or even optical?

This player decoding so much on board really saves me. I can't be getting a new reciever right now. Fiancee already scowling. Posted Image

#19 of 40 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted November 07 2007 - 10:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Gilvey
Posted Image On page 31 of your owner's manual it goes into what audio it accepts via HDMI. The 604 can accept 5.1 channels of (up to) 96/24 PCM.


That's what I get for trusting another forum. I guess I was right the first time. Posted Image

Adam, I just have mine going BD10A->HDMI->receiver->HDMI->TV

#20 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted November 07 2007 - 11:02 AM

With that setup will it handle all the hd audio my receiver cant do before the reciver gets the sound? I dont want it downmixing anything its not suppose to of course. Whole reason im getting a player with so much decoding onboard. Posted Image


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