About to Buy a DVD Player - Advice!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Paolozza, Oct 19, 2001.

  1. Dan Paolozza

    Dan Paolozza Stunt Coordinator

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    I've read through a couple similar threads, but still have some lingering questions. I hope you guys can/will lend a hand.
    I'm not new to DVD's - I've been watching them for years on a Creative Labs 12x drive, S-video-out to my tv (800x600). I've been more than happy with the picture quality - no flicker, no skipping, no noticable frame dropping.
    I'm interested solely in a single-disc player, and I'll be using it (at least for a couple years) on a "regular" 4:3 tv set (about a year old) - I need a few things cleared up:
    1. Progressive Scan. From what I understand, this is only beneficial if you're using a widescreen tv, and therefore would only be a "plan for the future" thing for me. Correct me if I'm wrong, and if I am, let me know what it will do for me in the meantime.
    2. The Chroma Bug. I can't get a good idea of what this exactly is.
    3. Downconversion. Is this still an issue with modern players? Again, I'm not to clear on what it is and hoe it might affect me and my tv.
    4. Flicker. Is this a problem? Still? It seems to me any player that skips or flickers (on a non-hacked-up disc) is unacceptable - to me anyway.
    As stated, I've been learning as much as possible. I'm looking at the Panasonic RP-56, the Toshiba SD3750 for "progressive scan" models. For NON-PS models, I'm leaning towards: Pioneer DV-343, Panasonic DRV31k, Toshiba SD2710.
    Are my choices sound? Any help here is welcome. Thanks!
     
  2. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    The chroma bug is where strong reds and blues create an odd window-blind pattern on the screen. My old GE player had this problem, but I didn't understand what people were talking about until I got my Panasonic DVD-RV31k (which does NOT have the chroma bug) and could see the difference for myself.
    Downconversion refers to how a player converts anamorphic titles to properly display on 4:3 ratio screens. Toshibas have very sharp downconversion, which frankly detracts from the image in my opinion. Every Toshiba I've seen creates obvious and glaring artifacts like stair-stepping of diagonal lines, etc. The Pioneers, on the other hand, I found to be a little soft. The reason I got the Panasonic was because the downconversion was a nice compromise between soft and sharp, and was the best looking of the bunch. Also, it has component video out, which will come in handy if I ever upgrade my TV (which is inevitable).
    Plus, the Panasonic plays MP3 discs, which is a feature I've gotten way more use out of than I thought I would.
     
  3. Dan Paolozza

    Dan Paolozza Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks so much for your help!
    Well, I had been leaning towards the Panasonic models as it was. However, I read a review of the two mentioned Panasonic models which griped about it not having a "zoom" feature, which was a real bonus when using a 4:3 tv.
    So, what am I giving up if I opt out of Progressive Scan, and just how important is this "zoom" feature that the Panny doesn't have, but the Toshibas do? I never used the zoom feature with my DVD software, so unless it's a drastically different feature on a standalone player, I can't see myself caring about it too much.
     
  4. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Second Unit

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    I have a Panasonic RV31, and it has performed flawlessly with all of my DVDs so far.
    The zoom feature lets you set the level of zoom from none to high-zoom, where the objects on screen get progressively bigger at the cost of losing picture on the sides and an increasingly worse blurring from the processing that the DVD player has to do to achieve the zoom. If you can't tell already, I'm not a big fan of the feature. It's more of a detriment than a feature if you ask me. I don't know who else has it besides Toshiba.
    As far as progressive or not, I would say if you're not buying a progressive-capable display device within the next year just forget about it. Each year newer models come out, cheaper, with more features. It would be pointless to put money into a feature you won't be using for at least a year if within a year you can get a newer DVD player with better features for cheaper. Just get a good interlaced player like the Panasonic RV31.
     
  5. Dan Paolozza

    Dan Paolozza Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Yohan - I just got back from round 1 of price shopping, and your advice was well heeded. I'm pretty much sold on the Panasonics, and it was (is?) down to the 31, 56, or 65.
    Seeing as I will most certainly not be buying a PS tv in the next two years, I don't think I'm going to throw an extra $100 into the progressive scan feature. I have a decoder, and I plan to buy a new receiver in the next year anyway, so I don't need it in my DVD player. And my next TV will be a nice $6000 16:9 job, so I doubt I'll take issue with having to throw in a PS DVD player at that time.
    I never used the zoom on my DVD software, and I didn't mind watching letterboxed format movies before. I was just surprised to see some guy who appeared to be a movie/videophile complain about the lack of a zoom, and that he was taking his Panny 56 back to get a Toshiba. Grainier picture and the loss of some side-shot seems counter-point to a DVD to me, and I was only checking to see that I wasn't missing something in my analysis.
    Thanks again.
     
  6. Jonathan_M

    Jonathan_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan,
    I've got a Panasonic RV31K as well and have been EXTREMELY pleased with it. It surprising to have such good technology at this price point.
    -Jonathan
    ------------------
    "We're hosed. We lost the remote."
     
  7. Thomas F

    Thomas F Stunt Coordinator

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    One more vote for the RV31!
     
  8. BradZ

    BradZ Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan,
    If you can you should really go to a store where they have several brands of players you can look at yourself-
    definitely skip the progressive player now, the cheap ones aren't that good anyway.
    as far as brands go, i personally prefer the sharpness of the TOSHIBA's. I find the Sony's softer. Pioneer's in the middle. Panasonic's between Tosh and Pioneer. That said, you may prefer what I think is too soft. you really owe it to yourself to check them out for yourself. but when you're talking about these cheaper players there isn't a whole lot of difference- stick with one of the bigger electronics brands and get the features you want- you'll be happy.
    ------------------
    zaphod
    end of transmission...
     
  9. DavidY

    DavidY Supporting Actor

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    Dan,
    What TV model do you have? If it has the ability to do the anamorphic squeeze, then you don't have to worry about DVD players that don't do downconversion very well. If your TV doesn't do the squeeze, then you should probably stay away from the Toshiba DVD players. They have a reputation of doing a poor job of downcoversion.
    Dave
     
  10. Dan Paolozza

    Dan Paolozza Stunt Coordinator

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    I looked at quite a few today, and Sony's made a lot of noise, but I wasn't too keen on them anyhow. Frankly, I didn't see too much difference between the players' picture quality - at least not on the 20" 4:3 tv's in the store.
    For the life of me, I couldn't see any significant sharp/softness between the players at all - again, maybe a prog scan tv might bring this out more, but I won't have that problem (a good one to have) to worry about.
    As Brad pointed out, it's become an issue of features, and I'm still leaning on the Panasonics (both the look and the features).
    Downconversion was something I was wondering about...but I'm pretty sure my TV doesn't do the "squeeze" thing, unless it's something that would not be stated in the manual or on the set. It's a Sharp 27" CN27S14. And since it looks like it'll be the Panasonic RV31, well, you get the point.
     
  11. DavidY

    DavidY Supporting Actor

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    I was in Vancouver recently....CDN$280 (before taxes) appeared to be the best advertised price around for the Panny RV31 (sorry, I forgot which store it was at). The price could be lower, but I wasn't really shopping for one. Had my eye on the DVDs this time around.
    Dave
    [Edited last by DavidY on October 20, 2001 at 01:19 AM]
     

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