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Finally took the plunge on the Philips 963sa DVD/SACD player...

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by ManW_TheUncool, Jun 6, 2003.

  1. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Well, I didn't have much time to do too much w/ my new player last night, but I did find out that mine also has the "dreaded" green vertical stripes bug in grey pattern images, especially near-black ones. So far, I only see it in AVIA patterns, eg. the grey windows and fields as well as the 200 TVL and sharpness patterns (to lesser extent).

    I also see the ghosting issue w/ the display/setup/menu bar icons as reported over on AVSForum. Didn't realize the icons were so big (and the ghosts too). But I didn't notice any such problems w/ other images though so this is probably specific to that menu bar.

    So far, I've set True Life to 0 and Sharpness to -4 (to reduce some EE as seen w/ the AVIA sharpness pattern). Also, ended up setting Chroma Delay to +1 w/ the help of the AVIA Y/C delay pattern.

    Only watched a little bit of Little Women: CE, which happened to be handy since the family had recently watched it. The picture looked a little fuzzy to me, but I'm not sure if it's the DVD or the player. Will need to try something better like LOTR:EE and also compare w/ the Panny RP91.

    Didn't have much opp to try some SACDs yet since it was late. Only sat down for part of the Every Breath You Take SACD and a little bit of DSOTM this morning in 2-channel mode -- don't have 5-channel setup. All I can say is SACD rocks! The sound was definitely more true to life than typical redbook CD me thinks w/ more punch and finer detail throughout and timbre seemed much more true as well. The 2-channel sound on those 2 SACDs did not sound overly processed/veiled like redbook CDs of rock music tend to be. Still have to try out the CD upsampling, but I'll probably save that for later since I bought a bunch of SACDs to try already. Probably should compare the CD layers upsampled though.

    FYI, my modest system is running the player output through an old Rotel analog-only a/v preamp and then a Technics DD/DTS decoder in bypass/through mode to my 5-channel B&K 100Wpc amp driving a pair of Vandersteen 2Ci's. I'm thinking of upgrading my cheapy surrounds to a pair of used Vandersteens also and then upgrading the preamp+decoder combo for MC input from the Philips player, but I'm in no hurry yet since I can focus on 2-channel music for a long while. Would a 4-channel setup be good for SACD multi-channel playback?

    It's too bad though that I might need to send the player in for repair. I'm hoping I can just get it replaced by J&R w/ a newer one w/out the green stripes problem.

    FYI, my player's build date is 2/03. IIRC, firmware is 4.81.18 -- 7.10.0. It's probably one of the 1st batch that J&R received back in March(?). I think it might've been a returned player since the remote batteries were running loose, instead of sealed/wrapped like they usually are. Also, the manual and warranty card were not wrapped in plastic like they usually are.

    Meanwhile, I went and picked up a few region-3 Hong Kong DVDs of some 70's classics. Will need to pick up a cheapy One-for-all remote to try the region-free hack and order some region-2 PAL DVDs from the UK as well. [​IMG]

    _Man_
     
  2. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I just received my DVD963 this week too. I ordered mine from OneCall, as they matched J&R's price and they don't accept returns except for failed items. (This last means that you aren't going to get previously-handled units.)

    So far so good and the video looks really good. Man, how do you have yours configured? I have a CRT FP driven by a scaler, so I'm just using the interlaced output on the 963. I'll post my build date/firmware rev. when I get home from work.

    A true DSD-source recording like the Tilson Thomas SFS Mahler 1st is unbelievable in MC>
     
  3. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Dennis,

    RE: configuration, I'm not sure I understand. I did already mention most everything I could think of that actually required adjusting. [​IMG]

    RE: the Mahler 1st recording, maybe I should finally give Mahler his due in my collection. [​IMG] I've only listened to a Mahler symphony briefly once or twice a very(?) long time ago and didn't care for his music. It's quite possible that I'll feel differently now much like I did w/ opera in between a similar time span. But how is the 2-channel SACD layer of that recording? That's how I'll have to do my listening for the forseeable future although more upgrades might be tempting, but maybe not quite justifiable (yet) -- I've already spent $$$ on a 53" RPTV + my new 2-player combo (Panny RP91 + Philips) + XBox + some software of course + new universal remote and will also need an HD video switcher + other minor stuff and am looking forward to maybe an HD PVR/Tivo sat receiver later this year. I'm sure many others are doing more to "help out the economy", [​IMG] but unfortunately, I think my plate for A/V upgrades is pretty full now.

    RE: the OneCall vs J&R thing, well, maybe I'll see what happens w/ my replacement. If I get the same thing, then maybe I should just return it and give OneCall a shot since I do expect to keep the player now unlike before when I wasn't sure about certain issues. It certainly should beat having to deal w/ Philips for a repair (and lots of lost time).

    _Man_
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Man,

    All I meant by "configuration" is whether you are running interlaced or progressive to your monitor. I'm running interlaced since I have an external scaler.

    How odd, my build date is January 2003. How do you read the firmware rev. level?

    EDIT: from AVS thread "Go to the last menu page, go into it, then all the way down and it appears under the smart power off function."
     
  5. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Ah, I see. Yes, I'm running 480p to my RPTV. And in case you're wondering, I also tried 480i to see if the green stripes problem would disappear and it did.

    Apparently, the green stripes problem is coming from the Faroudjia FLI2300 chip from what I understand. One or two posters over on AVSForum had it fixed and was told that the problem was in the Faroudja chip, which makes perfect sense.

    I suggest checking your 480p output to verify that you don't have the problem unless you really don't care either way since you only use 480i anyway.

    _Man_
     
  6. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I don't even have a good way to check 480p performance - recall I am using a CRT FP and my scaler does the YPrPb to VGA conversion.

    Firmware: 4.81.18 ....... 7.10.0 . So we're all in the same boat.

    I may worry about the firmware once the "final" version is agreed to. Wow, a 75 page thread at AVS! I'll never get through it.
     
  7. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Haha. Tell me about it (RE: 75-page AVS thread). [​IMG] I followed pretty much everything on this player over there (including other side threads), but did not read everything between circa page 10 and page 20 or so.

    Seems like some of the issues might not matter to us in the US, especially if you don't watch VCDs. But there are still plenty of issues nonetheless.

    Anyway, I just got my unit replaced yesterday, and still have the green vertical stripes issue, so I guess I'll send it to Philips for repair/replacement. Seemed like it was from the same batch/shipment as the 1st unit, ie. same 2/03 build date, same firmware, same case of unsealed/unwrapped batteries and manual. BTW, seems like the unsealed/unwrapped batteries and manual thing is fairly common since it happened to at least 2 other owners on AVS, which is one more indication of a sloppy job from Philips. I also noted that my unit was made in Hungary(?!), which seems odd to me -- never heard of A/V equipment being made there.

    Anyway, since it's really not J&R's fault, I decided to just let them keep the sale and take it up w/ Philips directly. I had previously returned a Panny S35 to them and now did the defect replacement for the Philips, so I think they deserve to keep the sale. Even if I return it and buy from OneCall (or somewhere else), there's still no guarantee anyway.

    _Man_
     
  8. Mark Krawiec

    Mark Krawiec Agent

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    Hi Guys,

    I can't comment on the green strips, as I only run interlaced and probably will for the next year or so. I haven't noticed any other bugs except the lame "they sent me a region 2 player thing!"

    Philips authorized a return, but told me I might get a refurbished unit. That didn't exactly please me. Gee, I buy a brand new unit labelled region one from J&R-so it's not J&R's fault-I call Philips and they will be happy to send a refurbished unit region one player for my brand new region 2 player.

    Huh...I paid for a brand new region one player!!!

    Anyway, I have a palm V, so I just downloaded the hack. Works fine now, region free. Normally, I wouldn't resort to this, but Philips return/exchange policy was basically lousy. Hope you have better luck

    I do like this player and actually bought it mostly for the multichannel SACD.
     
  9. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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