For $1200 is there any DVD player worth buying?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Gentry, Sep 28, 2002.

  1. Brian Gentry

    Brian Gentry Agent

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    I'm searching for a new DVD player to replace my Sony DVD-S7000, as it doesn't have DTS, DVD-A, SACD, or progressive scan.
    I had originally settled on a Denon DVD-3800 based upon lots of positive comments about it's PQ and SQ. I read about the chroma situation and was prepared to deal with it.
    I seem to have somehow missed the hundreds of posts talking about freezes and lockups. The very first DVD I put in froze. Several others had tiny audio drop outs.
    The picture was gorgeous, the sound was great. User interface was not so great in my opinion, and the remote was just bad. I can live with everything except for the random lockups.
    So, I returned the player, but was willing to trade it for another, as long as it had SN > 1935 and build date > Feb 2002. They didn't have one, so I got my money back.
    Now I'm back to square one in my search. I saw the Pioneer 47A today. Build quality is just ok; very light weight. The picture seemed very detailed, but it's hard to tell compared to the Denon, as this was on the dealer's Grand Wega, not my TV. The chroma bug was evident on the red button and Zorg sign on The Fifth Element superbit. It seems like a pretty good player, but the lack of bass management for DVD-A, the poor reviews on SACD sound quality, and the chroma bug all are pushing me away.
    The Marantz 8300 is essentially this same player with better audio quality. Pass.
    Sony 9000ES. I've read some good things about the video quality of this player, but some have said that it's picture is not as good as the 3800. In addition, it has only SACD stereo, no multichannel, and of course no DVD-A.
    So, what else is available for around $1000 to $1200, with either DVD-A or SACD (both is a major bonus), great PQ, great SQ, no chroma bug, and plays discs consistently (i.e. no random lockups, stutters, or drop outs)?
    I've never had this hard a time spending this much money on a single component before! [​IMG]
    Thanks for any suggestions.
    Brian.
     
  2. Michael St. Clair

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    There's this Yamaha which shows potential:
    The player is $999 MSRP, and ships in October...
    From TWICE:
    "It's also the company's first with built-in bass management for DVD-Audio (and SACD). It features MP3-CD playback, progressive scan output with Faroudja's DCDi processing, 3:2 pulldown, and digital outputs for Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks."
    I don't know who makes the MPEG decoder, but I'm definitely going to be looking closely at this one...
     
  3. Jim Golden

    Jim Golden Stunt Coordinator

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    This has probably already been mentioned but....whatever you buy, be prepared to replace it when HD-DVD comes out. I remember reading in a magazine, that HD-DVD is expected to be available in the fall of 2003.

    Jim
     
  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Brian, in addition to the Yamaha DVD-S2300 that Michael mentioned, consider the Onkyo DV-SP800 and Integra DPS-8.3 universal players. There are two threads running on these players here, so check them out. Also consider the Sony DVP-NS999ES, which will replace the 'S9000ES. The 'NS999ES will do SACD (stereo and multi-channel), but not DVD-Audio. The early word is that the 'NS999ES does not show the build quality of the 'S9000ES, but it still may be a good component. The 'NS999ES is supposed to be out in October.
     
  5. Michael St. Clair

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  6. Jim Golden

    Jim Golden Stunt Coordinator

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    Michael:

    I agree with you that the fall 2003 date may not be set in stone, but if we see players by that time frame, I wouldn't call it a miracle. People have already posted photos of these players from trade shows.

    My understanding is that the current DVD library is supposed to play (i.e. be compatible) on the blue laser players. As far as format wars go...I don't believe they will ever stop. I personnaly have lived through the days of DIVIX, Widescreen Video tape, Beta Max, RCA picture disc, laser disc, and now D-VHS.

    The technology keeps changing so much on DVD players, that I'm on my fifth player since 1997. I still say, unless you have money to burn, it doesn't make alot of sense to spend >$500 on a DVD player. In other words, to tie back to the topic, I don't believe there are any $1200.00 players worth buying. Just my opinion.

    Jim
     
  7. Michael St. Clair

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    I will never spend one red dime on low-bandwidth red-laser HD-DVD. If they manage to kill off blue-laser HD-DVD, I will not buy HD-DVD, PERIOD.
    If HD-DVD ships in fall 2003, it is an attempt to get us to buy an inferior product by beating a better product to market. Just say no.
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jim said:

     
  9. Jim Golden

    Jim Golden Stunt Coordinator

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    KeithH and Michael:

    Okay. Good points...I'll limit my comment to video playback only. Still, if someone wanted to spend $1200.00 and audio playback was a major concern, wouldn't the current recommendation be to spend $600.00 on the Sony C555ES SACD player and the other $600.00 on a good DVD/DVD-A player?

    Again, this is just my opinion, but my response to the question of this topic (For $1200 is there any DVD player worth buying) I still say no!
     
  10. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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    I'm amazed that the DV-47a is getting a bad rap. I've got one and I think the performance is Great! Chroma Bug? Can't say I have seen it. Poor SACD performance? Not in my HT!! The few SACD's that I own sound incredible [​IMG] No bass management, my receiver takes care of that so it is not an issue for me. Light weight? This always cracks me up. I would truly love to see scientific study that PROVES BEYOUND ANY DOUBT that heavy a DVD player sounds/performs better than light weight unit.
    Before you throw out the DV-47a as a option, try it in your home the same way you did with the Denon. You might actually like it, and save a few bucks in the process!
     
  11. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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  12. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Brian,

    Unless you need everything in one unit, I would say go for the Denon DVD-1600 for video/DVD-A, which in my opinion, has better video and audio quality than the Rp-91, and the SONY 555ES for SACD playback. Both units should run you under 1,100.00 shipped. Very Good DVD-A playback and excellent SACD playback in two different units. As far as single unit Universal players, you should wait to see what the forthcoming ones mentioned here in terms of bass management. I feel with the prices of the Universal players being as high as they are, they have yet to eliminate the need to have two great separate components instead of one mediocre one which doesn't live up to the expectations of the formats. It may just be better in the end to buy an ICBM for around 200.00 and let that handle bass management for DVD-A/SACD, though I'll say it again, THESE HI-RES FORMATS WERE DESIGNED TO BE USED WITH FULL RANGE SPEAKERS ALL AROUND. That being said, I still believe two separate components for audio and video represent the best value.

    Reg
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jim,
    If I were going to spend $1200, and my criteria were excellent DVD, DVD-Audio, and SACD playback, I would first get the 'C555ES for $600. Then I would spend the other $600 on a DVD-Audio player like the Panasonic 'RP91 or Denon '1600 (which cost less than $600 [​IMG]). However, if someone insisted on having one player and could spend up to $1200, I would tell them to buy a $1200 player, not a $500 player. Still, I would not necessarily recommend that they buy a universal player based on the mixed reviews the Pioneer Elite '47A and Marantz '8300 have received.
    Frank,
    I'm not trying to be argumentative, but have you tried other SACD players in your system? For example, have you tried the 'C555ES? I focused my question on SACD because most of the criticism of the '47A seems to center on its handling of SACD. My experience with the '47A is limited, so I can't say how it compares to the 'C555ES. However, the 'C555ES is an exceptional player, especially at its current price of $600. I know you are impressed with the '47A as an SACD player, but I would be curious to see how it would compare to the 'C555ES. Of course, you could tell me to go out and grab a '47A for comparison to my 'C555ES. [​IMG]
    As for the issue of build quality, the argument of weight and isolation influencing or not influencing sound quality could go on for years with no one budging one way or the other, so let's pass on that for now. [​IMG] My issue all along with the lightweight chassis of the '47A, frankly, is that it feels cheap for the price. I just won't pay $1000 (Tweeter price) for a player that looks and feels like a $300 component. Just my $0.02.
     
  14. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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    Keith,
    I did not get a chance to try any other SACD players in my home before I got mine, it was a gift from my wife for Fathers Day. I did go out and listen to a few others including the Marantz player, I don't recall the model number. I was not able to find a dealer that had both the 47a and Polk Rt800i speakers that I owned at the time so it was kind of a hit or miss audition. I was able to check out the progressive scan performance on the same tv that I own and was very pleased with what I saw.
    Lets face facts, everyone's opinion on this subject, or any HT subject is going to be very SUBJECTIVE! We can all talk about spec's until we are blue in the face but the bottom line is that one man's sonic paradise is another man's tin can and string! My point regarding the DV-47a was strictly MY opinion, no more no less. As for the Chroma bug seen on the dealers TV, When was the last time any of us saw a picture in a showroom that was not overly bright or tweaked to look good as far as fooling the average consumer. The best way to compare any component is to do so in our own homes with our own movies/music. I wish that I had a dealer that would let me take home any thing in the store just to try it out!I would hate to see anyone buy a piece of gear based soley off one review that they read. Obviously Scott is free to listen to any suggestions made or he can ignore any that don't fit into his requirements.
    BTW Keith, I did not feel that your comments were argumentative at all. But I'm still right and you're wrong[​IMG]
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    In my system, audio shall be handled primarily by audio equipment, while video will be handled by video equipment.

    I don't really need a >$500 video device with outstanding audio, because I would rather have a dedicated piece of audio equipment handling that, particularly for CDs and certainly SACD. On the opposite side, I'm not looking for a device based on it's audio performance which also handles video.

    IMO, when you start with a combo device, there are invariably going to be compromises on one, the other, or both, audio and video.

    What I'm considering right now are the 222ES and the RP82.
     
  16. Michael St. Clair

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    John,

    I agree with you 100% in principle, and that is what I'd ultimately like to do once I can handle the switching and bass management of everything in all modes (including 2 channel hi-res bass management).

    But, there will never be a DVD-A player with no video section. And I certainly cannot turn my back on DVD-A...I'd like to, but music is about the performance first, and many artists are not going to be available on SACD for the forseeable future.
     
  17. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  18. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Frank,

     
  19. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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    Doug_B,
    Yep I got a bypass mode and that is what I generally use. My receiver is a Pioneer Elite VSX-37TX.
     
  20. Brian Gentry

    Brian Gentry Agent

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    Thanks to all that have replied so far.

    There seems to be a lot of talk about the price point I mentioned and whether or not it's really necessary. I choose this price point because:

    1. This seems to be the point where you get into a player at the top end of most lines.
    2. Players in this range *should* have a better picture than players in the $500 - $600 range. If I'm wrong here, I'd be happy to hear it.
    3. I'll be using this player as the only 5.25" transport in my system. It'll definitely be called upon to play DVD, CD, some DVD-A, and possibly SACD. So, it needs to have a good audio section.
    4. I can afford about this much for a DVD player. I could pay more, but I'm not sure I can justify a lot more. Less would be better of course.

    In short, I'm trying to reach that magic price point (which exists with almost every product), where you get 80% - 95% of the possible "best" performance for 20% - 50% of the price of the best. To make a car analogy, I'm looking for the Audi S4 or BMW M3 of DVD players.

    So, I don't have to pay $1200 for a player. I just want to get a player that has a picture that's nearly as good as the best available, and sound that's nearly as good as the best.

    Have I chosen a price category that'll get me what I'm looking for, or should I be looking lower, higher, or otherwise?

    Brian.
     

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