Different DVD Players & Picture Quality

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by DaveSp, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. DaveSp

    DaveSp Agent

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    I have a new 51" Toshiba HDTV and I'm using an inexpensive Toshiba SD-3900 progressive scan DVD player. Question: Bells and whistles aside, would picture quality be noticably better with a more expensive player, e.g. the Samsung HD931? Or is the difference marginal?

    Thanks,
    Dave
     
  2. Peter_Al

    Peter_Al Auditioning

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    I'd say marginal but then I'v never had a 51' HDTV to try it on [​IMG]
    Buy the expensive model from a store that has a no questions asked return policy (MAKE SURE! [​IMG] ) and try it out. Or if you can find a friendly mom/pop store they can lend out a demo for you to try.

    Pete.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    With the exception of rock-bottom, ultra-cheap "nameless" players made in Taiwan and bearing an unheard-of brand, DVD-Video players are remarkably consistent in terms of picture quality. Some players may exceed by small degrees in some areas of performance, but it takes a very experienced, trained eye to see them (and a very high-quality display).

    This, then, for me, puts the kibosh of such silliness as those $10K-plus players from small "high-end" manufacturers (players usually based on a modified chassis produced by well-known large brands such as Panasonic and Pioneer). Even if I could afford one I could never justify purchasing, say, the Ayres Acoustics player (or any of those impractical players you see recommended in Stereophile Guide to Home Theater).
     
  4. HienD

    HienD Stunt Coordinator

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    I've never noticed much of a difference between a cheap $50 player vs a $200 player. There was a difference compared with the ps2 dvd output. Mind you, the ps2 is software based. This is on a 24" flatscreen toshiba tv.
     
  5. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

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    There is a big difference if you compare a good de-interlacer DVD player that uses Faroudja or Silicon Image chips. But you have to spend about $250 or higher for that. Below that, indeed they are all similar.
     
  6. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    If you combine Jack and Don’s two posts, you have my view. There is an improvement in players that use certain chips (such as the Faroudja)—you can get this at about $300. After that, I don’t see much.

    I have heard that there is a considerable difference in players that also decode the super audio formats, but I have no experience in that area.

    Some new players internally upconvert the DVD to 1080i and output via a DVI interface. I have read that this is an improvement in picture quality, but have no personal experience.
     
  7. DaveSp

    DaveSp Agent

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    Yeah, I was wondering if the new Faroudja chip made a *visible* difference, enough to warrant another $200 for a unit like the Samsung.

    Dave
     
  8. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    Dave, the difference is not worth $200.
     
  9. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    Dave,

    I have an SD-3900 myself. It is a wonderful player.

    Based on how quickly they keep selling out at BB, the masses agree.

    I am sure it will perform well until it is time to get a HD unit. That's my plan.
     
  10. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    You know, about the only visual difference between nearly all players is with a function that is becoming increasingly irrelevant among home-theater enthusiasts: 16:9 downconversion algorithms. Some players do this superbly (most of them bearing the Sony moniker), while others render a distinctly video-like image.
     
  11. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

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    The Samsung only uses the Faroudja chip on its DVI output but not on the component video output. For a good component video output with Faroudja look for the Panasonic RP82,XP30,XP50 or Denon DVD-1600.
     
  12. Bill Will

    Bill Will Screenwriter

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    Dave, If you don't mind Refurbished products take a look at the Kenwwod DV-605 5-disc changer that www.ecost.com has for only $80.00 with free shipping. This player has gotten very good reviews and it does have the Faroudja chip in it.
     
  13. DaveSp

    DaveSp Agent

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    From what I've read here, I don't see any strong reason to upgrade from my Toshiba SD-3900 (actually, it's a 3950 bought at Best Buy - I don't see references to this model number on Toshiba's site).

    Dave
     
  14. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

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    I have a Philips 963 with the Faroudja chip and a 13-bit/108mhz video DAC.

    The difference over prior Panasonic, Toshiba and JVC players that I've used is very, very noticable. Other players prior have offered somewhat similar picture quality with their own pros and cons, but this player's video quality is considerably better in every regard.
     
  15. David_D

    David_D Stunt Coordinator

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    Aaron -

    I've heard the 963 runs very hot. True?

    Dave
     
  16. SeanA

    SeanA Second Unit

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    I upgraded from the Toshiba SD-4800 to the Denon DVD 1600, and I do believe it was a true upgrade. I have no doubt the Denon picture is cleaner and more detailed. I ran Fellowship of the Rings in both and definitely saw an improvement with the Denon. It wasn't huge, but I still felt it was worth the $100 or so extra (I bought a refurb.).

    I must point out that I bought the Denon DVD 900 with Faroudja chip previous to purchasing the 1600 and I ended up returning it almost immediately. I thought the picture was actually no better and probably worse than the Toshiba. So I think there is more to it than just the Faroudja. The Toshiba SD-4800 was actually a very decent player. In two regards it beats the Denon:
    1) Better, more user friendly menus
    2) Faster layer change
    Amazingly, I hardly ever noticed a layer change with the Toshiba but it is very noticeable with the Denon 1600. Not sure even now how Toshiba managed this with the SD-4800.

    Lastly, don't forget about "audio" quality. I think the Denon is better in this regard as well.
     
  17. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

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    David -

    The 963 does run a little warm (mainly on one side, actually), but it's certainly not very noticable.
     
  18. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Another way to put this into perspective:

    Say someone does purchase one of those ridiculously expensive DVD players that SGHT gives an automatic thumbs-up to (really, these magazines are becoming less and less useful). You've spent anywhere from $5K to nearly $20K for pride-of-ownership reasons. And you most likely have state-of-the-art performance — performance that's probably, objectively speaking, no better than that of a Sony 999.

    Then along comes the first HD-DVD player from a major Japanese OEM. It will probably cost anywhere from $1K to $2K. And it will have clearly, demonstrably superior video performance to that $10K player you saw raved about in SGHT. Then, a year or two later, along come the inevitable cheaper HD-DVD players for around $300-$500 — and they, too, will have vastly superior performance capabilities to that $10K ego-trip you purchased.

    The march of technology...
     
  19. Darryl_B

    Darryl_B Stunt Coordinator

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    Ah....get a player with either a Silicon Image or Faroudja chip and NO chroma issues...I bet you'll see your $200.00 difference.[​IMG]
     
  20. David_D

    David_D Stunt Coordinator

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    Aaron -

    Thanks for the reply. I've been interested in the 963 for a while, given all the accolades I've seen regarding its sound quality. Is the video quality really that good? I've heard stories about green bars (or something like that...) Have you experienced any video anomalies worth mentioning, or had to upgrade the firmware?

    Thanks.

    Dave
     

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