How About $1K - $2K DVD Players for a Change?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Doug_B, Sep 8, 2002.

  1. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    A lot of folks ask what DVD player to get for $500 or so. I don't see a lot of discussion concerning $1K players much, let's say in the vicinity of the Denon 3800. I see even less when going to the next level, whatever the next level is ($1500 - $2000?). Assuming I follow through with a front projector in the next few months, I'd be interested in a new DVD player to go with it. I'd like excellent quality video along with comparable quality DVD-A. Is there a noticeable video quality improvement by spending $500 - $1000 more than a Denon 3800 when applied to front projection? At this point, assume a Sharp 9000 DLP with a 90" diag 16x9 screen.

    Thanks.

    Doug
     
  2. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    DB: I agree, but I'll go a little further.

    When can I buy a *well built* universal player with complete bass management for $1 to $2k? No chroma bug allowed. The Marantz 8300 is close, but not quite.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin, now that would be a sight for sore eyes and ears! [​IMG]
     
  4. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Given my hopeful acquisition of a projector, video becomes more important to me than it was a couple of months ago. From what I've read, the Marantz 8300 is not a noteworthy video performer (same video guts as Pioneer 47A?), so I did not make a mention of this model in my initial post. Also, I can accept not having a universal player, as I'll "make do" with my 555ES for SACD.

    As for the chroma "bug", I have no experience with it so cannot make an assertive claim that I must have a unit that does not exhibit it.

    I have read a recent review in The Perfect Vision of the Arcam DV88 that is very positive from both an audio and a video perspective. This model did not have DVD-A, however the reviewer stated that DVD-A was an impending upgrade. The Arcam web site also mentions such an upgrade as impending. Any info on this item, a potential new list price as a result of this addition (I think the current unit lists for just over $2K), or the performance of the unit in general would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Doug
     
  5. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    Doug,
    If you're going to use an external video processor with that Sharp, then you'll probably need to feed it with interlaced from a DVD player. Looking at just technical specs, the Denon 9000 SHOULD be capable of about the best interlaced signal output at it's ~$3000 (street price) value point. Using video DAC's that are both 108MHz for 8X interlaced over-sampling, and 14-bits for superb detail delineation ....... it's a first in the marketplace - with the possible exception of the Ayre D1. (The ~$1200 Toshiba SD9500 due out soon - and I believe some Sony model due out soon - will use the same video DAC's, however.) Of course the Denon 9000 most likely deals with DVD-A superbly too - beyond what the Toshiba and Sony will probably be capable of.
    My Denon 3800 with "only" 4X interlaced over-sampling does very impressive non-progressive and way beyond impressive in progressive mode ........ and it's only using 12-bit video DAC's for detail delineation - so it SEEMS like the 9000 should be extraordinary. DVD-A is also delightful on the 3800 - so the 9000 therefore will do what with DVD-A ........ ???
    The Denon firmware fix indeed does completely eliminate the chroma bug in my 3800, so this is a non-issue with either unit. [​IMG]
     
  6. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    I will soon be checking 480i sources with the Sharp 9000 to see if its processing is sufficient for such sources (albeit, I suspect my home cable source will be worse than what the dealer has in store for me). If I really think I need an external processor, I may be inclined to go a different route with the projector (the Marantz DLP supposedly has superior deinterlacing, or I'd think more about the Sanyo PLV-70, if I can find it somewhere to see).

    In any case, I'm not sure a move up to the $ level of the Denon 9000 is preferable to me.

    Thanks.

    Doug
     
  7. Michael St. Clair

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    The problem with a $1500 DVD player is that a year from now there will be a $800 player that beats it. Some of us don't like as much depreciation so we'd rather buy a $500 player every year for the next 3 years and end up with a $500 player 3 years from now that beats your $1500 player today. [​IMG]
     
  8. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    Michael,

    Not necessarily true if you do your homework very thoroughly and some intelligent crystal balling so as to make sure you buy a $1500 (or whatever $) DVD player that is "built into the future".

    Here's some situations to help illustrate the approach required:

    1) The RP91 was built into the future enough so as to be well worth the $800 MSRP and could still command nearly that price 2 years later IF - Pany had only put a superb proprietary deinterlacer chip (just like Pioneer did in their Elite RPTV), or a DVDO, or a Faroudja deinterlacer into it right at the start on day one. This is the only thing Pany missed the boat on with their RP91 - thus obsoletely it too quickly in favor of newer models by Pany or the competition that merely add the better deinterlacer.

    2) The Philips Q50 was built into the future enough so as
    to be well worth the $500 MSRP and could still command nearly that price 2 years later IF - they had only launched it without lock-up problems or the chroma bug - thus obsoletely it too quickly. 12-bit video DAC's along with Faroudja deinterlacing in it produced superb images ahead of it's time. (Most Faroudja deinterlacer players to date STILL do not use 12 bit video DAC's.)

    3) The Denon 3800 (without lock-up problems or chroma bug) at $1200 MSRP is built into the future. Some owners say it exploits doggone near all you can get out of the NTSC DVD medium. If you have one that is, and keeps on, working with its over-sampling and flat video channel response (I think - without bench measurements to confirm) ...... what need is there to replace it in 1-2 years?

    4) The Camelot Roundtable is time-less with respect to picture quality, as it exploits doggone near all you can get out of the NTSC DVD medium. Why replace it if you purchased one 1-2-3 years ago and it's still working?

    OEM's like for us to discover that their 2-yr old product we naively bought is obsolete so we churn the market for them. The trick is to find a player from an OEM that goof's up and builds into the future enough so that if we happen to discover their product and buy it - we wind up happy for longer than 1-2 years and don't churn the market for them. These kind of players do exist - but you have to search hard for them at purchase time.

    I'd rather buy quality every 3 years instead of junk every year - but boy is it difficult wading through all the junk looking for a hidden jewel when it is time for you to buy.
     
  9. Michael St. Clair

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    Phil,
    I disagree. I'll wager that within 2 years I'll be able to buy a player that beats anything on the market now in terms of DACs, MPEG decoder, and deinterlacer, AND
    ...plays DVD-A and SACD
    ...has bass management in the digital domain for ALL sources
    ...has DVI outputs
    ...scales 480i/480p to 540p/720p/1080i
    for around a thousand dollars. And for half that a year later. It might also even be a recorder that can apply adaptive 3D comb filtering and Sage/Faroudja-level scaling to external sources like laserdisc, cable, and S-VHS.
    And players will come that do stuff that most of us can't use yet, like play film sources at 72fps for judder-free playback on compatible displays.
    The technology is moving fast. I'm on my 4th DVD player...and LOVING IT!
    A DVD player is not a car. I won't buy a cheap disposable automobile like much of the auto industry loves. But the whole DVD player paradigm is changing.
    There's no player on the market now that I won't consider worthless in 3 years.
    Phil, I mean no offense by this, but to put your comments in perspective for the others in the thread, I believe you've skipped the last 4+ years of DVD and stuck with VHS. I don't think most of us can relate to taking that long to find the 'perfect' player, which I still guarantee you will be obsolete quick!
     
  10. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    Michael,
    The fact you're having fun shopping, trying, and short-term owning a DVD player in itself is a consumer style that can, and must, stand on it's own merits as a choice.
    If SACD doesn't win, it won't be wanted in 2 years.
    Bass management for all functions I will expect in a built for the future receiver when I finally buy.
    DVI I may be forced to buy - but that's beyond the scope of this discussion and is infuriating for other reasons.
    Scaling (of anamorphics) I'm not supposed to ever want so I no longer consider it something to want - at least as long as I own a fixed shape/size RPTV. (tee hee on this one - I love the 16X9 shape and wish I could indeed chop off 2.35:1 sides to make them fit 16X9 without artifacts!)
    Judder free displays? Until (and IF) flat displays ever solve their black level and contrast difficiencies, I plan to own CRT projectors for a time into the future yet. (.....and I work in a flat displays group, to boot!)
    I don't have cable, LD, and my built for the future S-VHS player (designed in 1991) already exploits the S-VHS medium to it's fullest.
    Enough ranting/defending a choice! [​IMG]
    Whats important is you're having fun and this is what HT is (supposed to be) all about.
    I hate shopping for DVD players - but have fun watching movies without artifacts or deficiencies - which so far I'm doing until my 3800 goes South.
     
  11. Michael St. Clair

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    Phil,

    We have different needs, and there's nothing wrong with that. Like I said, when I buy a car, it's just the opposite; I buy one to last for years!

    In the HT world I'm always upgrading based on features, and they are features that I want. I can't afford to buy a $1500 player every year, but I can buy a $300-$600 player every year. Sure, eventually I'd like to see this merry go round slow down and let me buy a higher end player and keep it for a few years, but I can't do that until I get a few more features that I want.

    At this point, I'm not worried about SACD's future, but rather DVD-A. Things sure change in a year!

    I don't need anamorphic scaling or any resolution conversion...for now. But things like 540p conversion will be a blessing to many people with Toshiba HD sets, for example.

    I used to think high-end LD players were future proof, but the 3D comb filters in these DVD recorders blow away any of them. Of course, LD is a composite medium and can always benefit from these improvements, VHS/SVHS are NOT native composite.

    As far as bass management goes, if the industry doesn't allow receivers to do the digital/analog conversion (I'm talking SACD), the best quality solution will be digital bass management in the player.

    Anyhow, if any player really has all the features you'll need for the next few years, none of these would be concerns of you and like-minded people.
     
  12. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    Michael,
    ......ooooops! I forgot to mention a minor issue of mine.
    My wife understands buying a $1500 player every 3 years - but she does not understand buying a $500 player every year. This may have something to do with my mind set! [​IMG]
     
  13. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Phil,
    If you are going $1K+ for a DVD player on a projector, I would suggest dropping the standalone players altogether and getting an HTPC. Software these days gives a better picture than almost any hardware DVD player, and it you get this for free: line double or quadruple your 480i/p signals, serve as an MP3 jukebox, cruise the web on your big screen, play quicktime/divx movies, and record programs (PVR) in HDTV. Plus as the software gets patched, you get updating performance for free forever. You need only replace your $1500 HTPC every 6 years or so instead of replacing a $3000 DVD player every 3.
    Here's a place to check it all out:
    http://www.digitalconnection.com/Computer.htm
    From what I hear, HTPCs can run neck in neck with a $3000 Faruda. www.avsforums.com is also a great place for HTPC info.
    Best...
     
  14. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    Joe,
    I happen to be as we speak setting up a 2.54GHz P4 PC in my den 20 feet from my RPTV:
    1) The NVIDIA video card in it has a "TV Out" connector (RGBHV? - not sure yet).
    2) I don't relish crawling around in my attic to run cables.
    So.......how do I transmit, via RF, 20 feet from my new PC the equivalent of a Component or RGBHV feed from the PC's DVD player through the PC's NVIDIA video card to my RPTV?
    ......Then I can use my PC's DVD drive for remotely playing DVD's on the RPTV and just use the Denon 3800 for backup! [​IMG]
     
  15. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I believe that good sound is good sound, and that *technology* will definately move forward, but in my humble opinion, SACD and DVD-A (with the right players) can approach the sound of the lp *today* (without the problems) such that, sure, there will always be more *features* in future units, but that much better sound? I don't know about that...
    Sorry about the length of the first sentence there... [​IMG]
     
  16. Michael St. Clair

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  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Michael,

    I agree with you. For the money, I don't think you can beat the Denon DVD-1600/Sony SCD-C555ES combo. You get a quality DVD-Video/DVD-Audio player with no chroma bug and a quality CD and SACD changer.


    All,

    I think $1000 will buy you a better DVD player in two years than it will today. For one thing, I think (hope) there will be more universal players by then. However, I don't think the sound quality of DVD players will improve much, if at all, with DVDs and CDs. Newer universal players could very well be better with SACD and DVD-Audio than the couple models we have available now. That could simply happen as a result of having more manufacturers trying their hand at the implementation of SACD and DVD-Audio in one box. Some improvements would hopefully result. Also, video quality will hopefully improve over the next two years. Many pricey DVD players today still show the chroma bug. Hopefully the chroma bug will be extinct within two years.
     
  18. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Jeff Talmadge from Denon has revealed that Denon will release a universal dvd-a/sacd player early next year. It will not be meant as a replacement for the Denon 1600, 3800 or 9000. I don't know what it'll retail for, but it will depend on the quality. I.e, Will it simply be a re-worked DVD-1600 with SACD capability added, or will it be a DVD-3800/9000 with SACD added and a digital interface for both formats. Two universal players at different price levels could be in the offering. Jeff has hinted that there will definitely be a digital interface for DVD-A/SACD playback on one of the players, but we'll have to wait and see.

    Reg
     
  19. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Reggie, thanks for the information. I would be very interested to see what Denon would churn out.

    It's too bad Denon Jeff doesn't participate here. Oh well.
     
  20. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    I hear ya Keith.
    Jeff did speak in the plural during his reference to the forthcoming universal players. My prediction is that there will be one expensive one in the 9000's territory with a digital interface, and then there'll be another more affordable unit sandwiched somewhere between the 1600 and 3800, but probably won't give you the digital link option. Knowing Denon, this will probably be how they do it, eventhough Pioneer will have the 47ai in the sub 1k territory which will have the firwire option. Anyway, I know Cedia is coming up and sure hope Denon announces the 2803-4803 receivers here.[​IMG]
    Reg
     

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