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Philips DVD-963SA: SACD, DVD, and 24/192 upsampling of CD, for $400?!


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#1 of 107 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted October 26 2002 - 01:02 AM

I just read this over on Audio Asylum with a link to another site. It seems that that the Philips DVD-963SA will do DVD, SACD, and upsampling of CD to 24/192 for a mere $400, which is J&R's price. It is not available yet, but wow, that seems like a heck of a deal. Does anyone know if the specs. of the '963SA are for real? Will it really do all that for a mere $400? Here are relevant threads:

Audio Asylum thread:

http://www.audioasyl....ges/54371.html

Headphone Hi-Fi thread:

http://www4.head-fi.....threadid=18640
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#2 of 107 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted October 26 2002 - 01:11 AM

More information. Here is a link to the '963SA on J&R's web site:

http://www.jandr.com....e,Product_Name

Note these features listed on J&R's site:

* Plays SACD, DVD, Video CD, CD-R and CD-RW media
* Dual Laser Pickup provides best possible picture and sound with DVD and CD Formatted discs, and optimizes laser lifespan
* Built-in DSD, AC-3, MPEG2 decoders
* 5.1 channel Output plus Coaxial and Optical Digital outputs
* Ultra low jitter master audio clock
* Linear toroidal transformer removes noise generated by power supply or RF generating electronic equipment
* Resume playback feature
* Fully separate Analog and Digital processors
* Separate Audio and Video circuitry
* Outputs: Composite Video, S-Video, Component Video (Y, Pb, Pr)
* Upsamples CD audio to 192kHz / 24-bit performance
* Advanced Bass Management sets each speaker's low-pass crossover point separately

Is this thing for real? Look at the last bullet point. Adjustable crossovers?! I can't believe this player, on paper at least!

The person on Headphone Hi-Fi had an interesting bit of information. Here it is:

[quote] Sorry,about the lack of details,All I know now are the general specs(also on the J&R page) and the fact that it has three power supplies and six DACs.I assume that each format(SACD/CD/DVD has its' own power supply and DACs(one per channel).This unit also had a replaceable power cord and very nice looking blue display.It was heavy and inside I could see a large power supply.We were told that cosmetics would likely be different and possibly a black unit would be offered.It also had some sort of disc recognition that read the titles and songs on CDs which allowed scrolling of the titles and instant playback which was really cool. [quote]

Three power supplies and six DACs in a $400 player? And a detachable power cord? He even said the player was heavy. This player seems to be too good to be true!

Does anyone know if this information is at all accurate?
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#3 of 107 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted October 26 2002 - 09:27 AM

The $400 number must be a typo...

Keith:

[quote] Plays SACD, DVD, Video CD, CD-R and CD-RW media. [quote]
DVD-A?
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#4 of 107 OFFLINE   Claire Panke

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Posted October 26 2002 - 03:11 PM

That's no misprint. J&R has the Philips for $399 (MSRP $499). The 963SA doesn't play DVD-A. It will upsample Redbook CDs to 192khz and plays SACD, has separate power supplies and circuitry for video and audio - that's a heckuva lot already for a $400 machine. (You expected DVD-A from the Philips-Sony consortium??? C'mon.) There is a very long thread over at avsforum.com about this player. ("New Philips 963SA, is there still a hack for PAL progressive?") The reason most people are excited about the 963SA is because of its considerable video capabilities: * 13 bit 108mhz video DACs * No chroma bug * Region Free DVD playback * PAL/NTSC capable * Second generation Sage-Faroudja DCDi de-interlacing/progressive chip (FL2310), which has some very interesting possibilities. One the chip's features that is implemented on the 963 is the "Truelife" adjustment. This is an adaptive sharpness control that will selectively enhance detail without adding video noise. The FL2310 chip is also 720p and PAL progressive capable, a hack *may* enable access these capabilities. Everything about the 963SA sounds like good news, whether you want it for audio or video. Except for one thing - the release date keeps getting pushed back. We may be looking at first of the year or later. :-( I already have a high end up-sampling CD player. (And I'm not wild about SACD. Yet. PLus I'm not wild about the quality or quantiry of software.)) But if the 963 does turn out to have PAL->NTSC capability, along with its other video features, it might be my dream player. Currently no Sage-Froudja chip players convert PAL to NTSC.

#5 of 107 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted October 26 2002 - 05:59 PM

[quote] Everything about the 963SA sounds like good news, whether you want it for audio or video. Except for one thing - [quote]
... No DVD-A. Posted Image
If it's not worth waiting until the last minute to do, then it's not worth doing.

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#6 of 107 OFFLINE   Aaron H

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Posted October 26 2002 - 11:26 PM

I don't know if this is the same for others in the US, but I really don't think I have reason to want the region free playback or the PAL/NTSC switch (but I can certainly understand other's excitement over this), is there anything about this player that makes it stand out over the Panny RP-82? Aaron

#7 of 107 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted October 26 2002 - 11:43 PM

Kevin,

You shouldn't expect Philips to incorporate DVD-Audio. That's as likely as Sony doing it. Ain't going to happen.


Claire,

Thanks for the info. The '963SA looks like a heck of a player. I've heard that this player has been delayed a few times. Someone here said that Philips was waiting to deplete its inventory of the '962SA. This has the looks of a stalemate all over it since people in the know, like us, will just wait for the '963SA. In any event, I want the '963SA!


Aaron,

I have no interest in PAL to NTSC conversion or region-free playback. For me, all the good movies are Region 1.

You asked:

[quote] is there anything about this player that makes it stand out over the Panny RP-82? [quote]

Review the features lists that Claire and I posted. First of all, the 'RP82 does DVD-Audio and not SACD. The '963SA does SACD and not DVD-Audio. Also, the '963SA looks to have better internal build quality with the toroidal power supply and separate power supplies for the audio and video sections. I doubt the 'RP82 offers that. It is also said that the '963SA has six audio DACs. The '963SA also has a detachable power cord (though possibly not an IEC type) and a coaxial digital output, which the 'RP82 lacks. Finally, the '963SA upsamples CDs to 24/192. This could be a really great feature, depending on the implementation. The 'RP82 may have Matsushita's Re-Master technology, but I have never been impressed with the feature on my Technics DVD-A10 DVD-Audio player.
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#8 of 107 OFFLINE   Aaron H

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Posted October 27 2002 - 12:07 AM

Sorry Keith, when I made the statement:

[quote] is there anything about this player that makes it stand out over the Panny RP-82? [quote]

I was thinking "video", but, of course, didn't write it. I have given up the hopes of being able to hear differences in high resolution music. I'll be happy with my cheapie cd players.

Anyway, I CAN tell the difference in good video, so I'm still shopping for the perfect player (still debating the '82, the '91 and the 1600). And if it has good audio, then that's a plus.

Aaron

#9 of 107 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted October 27 2002 - 12:23 AM

Aaron, O.K. Best of luck in your search for the right DVD player. I'm sorry to hear that things haven't worked for you with SACD.
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#10 of 107 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted October 27 2002 - 01:55 AM

Keith, The chips that can do Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion from 16/44.1K to 24/192K (like the Analog Devices AD1896) aren't terribly expensive. The sample board is US$12.50 (100 to 500 units). I expect Philips to be purchasing in 10,000 unit lots which is going to bring the price down to under US$10 per unit. Of course Philips could be doing their own silicon but on a product that will be streeting at the US$400 price mark I seriously doubt this will be the case. Regards,
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#11 of 107 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted October 27 2002 - 02:02 AM

John, thanks for sharing the "insider information". Posted Image I know these chips aren't too expensive, which of course begs the question, why aren't more manufacturers doing what Philips is doing?
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#12 of 107 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted October 27 2002 - 03:47 PM

Keith, Because that US$10 means US$50 at retail, and that US$50 means the difference between US$250 and US$300 at retail. Most consumers won't pay the added costs, and will pocket the US$50. This information about pricing isn't "insider information", it is freely available if you know where to look. Also, has anyone ever opened up an SACD-1000 chassis? One of the chips has an interesting competing format logo on it. For those that missed the veiled reference, I'll say it outright: The Philips SACD-1000 could well have been a Universal player but for political reasons DVD-Audio is not included. In case anyone thinks this is idle rumour, the person that verified this owns DVD / SACD / DVD+RW player product planning in the US for Philips. Regards,
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#13 of 107 OFFLINE   Claire Panke

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Posted October 27 2002 - 10:22 PM

John, thanks for sharing that interesting bit of info, lol. Again, don't think we're going to be seeing Philips sporting DVD-A outside the chassis anytime soon. (You'll be happy to know I didn't buy a plasma, nor one of the buggy Samsung DLPs. I may own a FP yet.) Aaron, I thought it was clear from my post what PQ benefits and features the Philips 953SA would offer, but let me try again: * First and foremost, the 963SA has the new, next generation Sage-Faroudja chip FL2310. The Pannys 56-62-82 & Denon 1600 have the old chip FL2200. The new chip has the same superior de-interlacing of the old one, but adds greater capabilities, like the Truelife adjustment, which will let you, in theory, selectively improve detail in your DVD picture (and this is key) without the trade-off of adding video noise. (Does a more life-like, more detailed picture with fewer artifacts sound good to you?) The previous model Philips already had Digital Crystal Clear for picture enhancement, but according to people who've played with the 963SA prototype, the Truelife function derived from the Sage chip offers knockout detail quality, much better than standard 480p, possibly closer to HD. Best of all, it's user controllable. * The FL2310 should offer scaling capabilities. Moreover, if you have interest in Hi Def, the player, through this same chip, may also offer 720p, which is a true HD format.The chip probably can do more, but this is what we know about. * The Philips also appears to have better parts and build quality than you'd expect in a $400 street price player, certainly better, much as I love 'em, than the RP62 or 82. * Check out the video DACs, 13 bits and 108 mhz - those are more resolving DACS than found in the players you're comparing with. The better and more powerful the DACs, the better the PQ. All the audio goodies and multi-region stuff aside, the PQ of the Philips is something you'd expect to find in a much more expensive player. If the FL2310 chip is well implemented, the 962SA could be something rather special, at a very affordable price.

#14 of 107 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted October 27 2002 - 10:29 PM

Claire asked:

[quote] Does a more life-like, more detailed picture with fewer artifacts sound good to you? [quote]

Yes. I would like that. Posted Image

Claire, the '963SA looks like it could be real killer piece, especially at its price point. If Philips comes through with this player, I would like to think that the competition will take notice. It's high time that component manufacturers took the stand that the chroma bug is unnacceptable. That would be a very good start.
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#15 of 107 OFFLINE   Han

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Posted October 28 2002 - 01:16 AM

I wonder when the 963 will really come out, since there's that talk of delays to clear out 962 inventory. Then there's talk over at HometheaterSPot about how no FLI2300 DVD players will come out for a long time to allow Faroudja to sell their own 2300 DVD player.

#16 of 107 OFFLINE   Eujin

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Posted October 28 2002 - 01:43 AM

I was the one who started the threads, both here and at AVS, that the 963SA has been delayed until late December/January. I got this info from Oade Bros. last week when I called to inquire about ordering the player. According to them (and they got this from their Philips rep) Philips wants to clear out the 962SA inventory before releasing the 963SA. As things stand, the 963SA is in the country, sitting around in warehouses. It all sounds batty to me, but there you go. That's what I was told, and I'm just passing it on.

#17 of 107 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted October 28 2002 - 05:36 AM

Han, Given that Faroudja's players are well into the 1000s of dollars I don't buy that logic, since they are selling into radically different price categories. That doesn't mean it isn't true, just that your statement is a bitter pill to swallow. Eujin, The problem with your information chain is you're getting the information 2nd hand. Does that mean its invalid? No, just hard to verify the accuracy of the statement. Regards,
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#18 of 107 OFFLINE   Claire Panke

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Posted October 28 2002 - 06:30 AM

I've never seen a 963SA, much less opened one up, but according to someone who has, the chip is the FLI2310. I also think I remember that the FLI2200 doesn't offer the Trulife adjustment...nor 720p nor PAL progressive. John's right. While it's a given Faroudja wants to sell their own players, since they are also partners in the chip business, I'm guessing that they want to sell chips too. In fact, through their partners, they'll sell many *thousands* more chips than they will Faroudja DVD players. You can bet their own players will be tricked out to the max, with superior electronics, and will be targeted to the high end AV and custom installation market. Meanwhile, why not sell tons of chips? In this economic climate, I'd think mutiple income streams would be "desirable". The delayed release of the 963SA is another brilliant example of Philips bumbling marketing prowess, especially in North America. Ahem. ATTENTION, Philips guys: CHRISTMAS IS COMING. ARE YOU IN THE RETAIL ELECTRONICS BUSINESS???? Take a page from rival Panasonic and blow out the old model, you already screwed up with its delay. The 962 is like, so "OVER". Give the consumer a better product at a better price...NOW. That's the way to make and earn respect. You'll sell more of the 962s at clearance anyway, it's time to cut your losses on this baby, and get the respect and market share that could be yours with the new 963. It's gonna be a big screen Christmas, civilian consumers and videophiles are gonna be moving up. The 963SA is the perect player to cream the RP91, the Denons and the Kenwood. ARE YOU IDIOTS LISTENING???? (Sigh...I didn't think so.) It'll be here when it's here.

#19 of 107 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted October 28 2002 - 06:35 AM

Claire: To be fair to Philips, at this point its rumored as being delayed -- I have sent e-mails to my Philips sources (see above), but don't know that they'll comment on the topic. Regards,
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#20 of 107 OFFLINE   Claire Panke

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Posted October 28 2002 - 06:51 AM

Thanks John, let us know what Philips' response is. Get 'em to send you a review sample! I know Philips TV division is floundering in North America. Heck, I couldn't find a 34PT9818 to view within a 150 miles of my hometown (a metro area of 1.4 million.) Not good. I don't want to see a company with a better mousetrap fail. Being in sales myself, I don't want to see Philips miss the Christmas window. Also, I'm sitting here with around 20 PAL DVDs, and I really don't want to buy a Malata. At least it'd be nice to know this *is* a better mousetrap.




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