HTF HARDWARE REVIEW: A detailed A/V look at the Samsung BD-P1000

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Michael Osadciw, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Blu-ray HARDWARE REVIEW



    [​IMG]

    SAMSUNG BD-P1000
    BLU-RAY DISC PLAYER

    Compatible Disc Formats: BD-RE, BD-R, BD-ROM, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R, CD-ROM, CD-R/RW

    BD Playback: 1080p, 1080i, 720p
    DVD Playback: 1080p, 720p, 480p, 480i
    Compatible Video Codecs: MPEG-2, VC-1, H.264 (MPEG-4)
    12 bit/192MHz video DAC
    Video Outputs: HDMI, analogue component, S-video, composite

    Compatible Audio Codecs: Dolby Digital, DTS, MP3
    24 bit/192kHz audio DAC
    Audio Outputs: Coaxial, Optical, HDMI, 6-channel analogue, 2-channel stereo

    Compatible Memory Cards: Compact Flash card, Micro drive, Memorystick (basic, PRO, Duo PRO Duo), Secure Digital, Multi Media, Mini SD, RS MMC (some of these need an adaptor)

    PROS

    -faster start up and accessing than Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player
    -good HD video quality (with good software)
    -very good SD-DVD video
    -very good video processing
    -good sound
    -hourglass icon informs viewer machine is accessing
    -no lock-ups or HDMI errors
    -displays JPEGs uncropped and in high resolution

    CONS
    -no firmware upgrade via Ethernet (most likely need a disc)
    -Genesis microchip video Noise Reduction set to High (not user defeatable)
    -smaller audio soundstage with bright highs and lean bass
    -no DVD processor for DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks (for 6-channel output)
    -internally wired non-replaceable C7 two-pole power chord
    -unfriendly remote (buttons small)
    -INFO button doesn’t tell “time remaining” or video codec used
    -player slow at skipping to next JPEG

    Associated Equipment for review:
    Video: Panasonic PT-AE700 (6500K calibrated), D110" (8-foot wide) Da-Lite Cinema Contour screen (w.Pro-Trim finish) and Da-Mat fabric, 35-foot Monster M1000HDMI, Denon DVD-3910
    Audio: Marantz SR5400 for preamp/pass-through, 2 Anthem MCA-30 amps each on Transparent PowerLink Super, Dunlavy SC-IV (front), Dunlavy SC-I (center), Focus Audio FC-50 (surrounds), Mirage BPS-400 subwoofer (LFE), 4 Paradigm PW-2200 subwoofers on 2 Mirage LFX-3 crossovers (one sub for each main channel for audio
     
  2. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Could you be more specific as to exactly what tests and what version firmware did your Toshiba have when you did them.

    Thanks for the review.
     
  3. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Ron

    Here are the figures I originally chose not to publish in the end...but here they are now!! [​IMG]

    BD-P1000

    Test/Score/Pass-Fail

    Colour Bar - 10/10 - Pass
    Jaggies Pattern 1 - 5/5 - Pass
    Jaggies Pattern 2 - 3/5 - Pass
    Waving Flag Test - 10/10 - Pass
    Detail - smudged (fail)
    Noise Reduction - no adjustment (fail)
    3:2 Detection - 5/10 - pass
    Cadence
    2:2 30fps video - Pass
    2-2-2-4 DVcam - Pass
    2-3-3-2 DVcam - fail
    3-2-3-2-2 varispeed broadcast - fail
    5-5 animation - fail
    6-4 animation - fail
    8-7 anime - fail
    3-2 24fps - pass
    Horizontal Text Crawl - 10/10 - pass
    Verticle Text Crawl - 10/10 - pass


    Toshiba HD-A1

    Test/Score/Pass-Fail

    Colour Bar - 10/10 - Pass
    Jaggies Pattern 1 - 3/5 - Pass
    Jaggies Pattern 2 - 1/5 - Fail
    Waving Flag Test - 0/10 - Fail (bruatally)
    Detail - 10/10 - pass
    Noise Reduction 10/10 - pass
    3:2 Detection - 10/10 - pass
    Cadence
    2:2 30fps video - Pass
    2-2-2-4 DVcam - Pass
    2-3-3-2 DVcam - fail
    3-2-3-2-2 varispeed broadcast - fail
    5-5 animation - fail
    6-4 animation - fail
    8-7 anime - fail
    3-2 24fps - pass
    Horizontal Text Crawl - 0/10 - fail (brutally)
    Verticle Text Crawl - 5/10 - pass

    This was tested using old firmware, although I don't think the new firmware sets to correct this.
    On the HD-A1, the amplitude of the highest resolution/frequencies (6.5MHz) seem jacked up in comparison to the lower frequencies. Looking at a resolution sweep test pattern one can clearly see that the video frequency response of this player isn't flat at all...giving the impression of more detail on DVD (because fine detail has been given a boost). If this is the case with DVD, then I can also assume the possibility of it being applied to HD discs as well, which is the reason why HD-DVD seems to look 'clearer'. If this is the case, in my opinion, it's a cheat by Toshiba. The resolution sweep on the Samsung looks neutral throughout the range.

    Regards,
    Mike
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    An interesting review Michael. But I’d not let Samsung off the hook so easily on the setting of the noise reduction chip.A couple of things: regardless of terminology, the end result of the setting of the chip to ‘high’, was unexpected (at least according to some press releases by Sony) and results that are unexpected in this world are often, rightly termed ‘bugs’; and I disagree most strongly with the statement that early adopters want to see artifacts. Who among us wants to see artifacts? I wish to see the movie rendered as closely to the original as possible. That does not mean the inclusion of artifacts. Nor does it include the removal of grain.

    If Samsung feels that the mass market wishes not to see any grain, that does not mean that they should not give the broad range of consumers a choice. Samsung made an error in this particular choice and should be held accountable—not the studios as you conclude.
     
  5. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Glad you got yours to work, Michael. Mine would not boot out of the box, so I took it back.

    - Steve
     
  6. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    That's a huge big blu Blu-ray banner on the top of the review. [​IMG] No mistaking that for any other format. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    Interesting and balanced review.

    I have to say that, in many ways, I like the Samsung player. It's ergonomically satisfying, it does a good job upconverting DVD's, and it's a nice looking unit. When the BD disc is nice, the player does fine. GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, STEALTH and UNDERWORLD all look very good, and I see no evidence of "softening" to the image. I personally believe that the Genesis chip issue was a ruse on the part of Sony to deflect blame for their shoddy software(XXX, 5TH ELEMENT, etc.).

    My biggest concern with this player right now is the persistent rumor that it won't play dual layer discs when they become available. Unfortunately, no one in the BD ranks will confirm or deny this.

    That has been my major concern with Blu-Ray so far: every week some new issue related to the software and hardware is voiced, and there aren't any answers available from those who should be able to supply them(in this case, Samsung). It's been pretty frustrating, and I almost returned this player twice.

    If it does play dual layer when they become available, then I'll finally feel that my purchase was justified. If not, I'm going to be a little pissed off. Hopefully, these issues will be resolved soon enough.

    Sorry for the rant.
     
  8. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Hi Lew

    Thanks for reading the review.

    I'll clarify a couple of things:

    Samsung intentionally set the NR to high. That information is directly from Samsung through my source, not from something I've read online elsewhere. If it's intentional, I don't consider it a bug (Samsung was explicit to me on that too). I think it's a stupid mistake in the design and I'm not letting them off the hook for that [​IMG] This NR setting is unexpected to us and other companies (as Sony claimed) so we'd like to think it was a 'bug' of some sort, but Samsung knew exactly what they were doing. They were not in the dark about it.

    I agree that Samsung should be held accountable for not giving us a choice in the amount of NR applied. What I meant was that the player shouldn't be held accountable to "clean up" a dirty transfer on BD sold by the studio. The studio should be held accountable for their crappy transfers (eg. Sony with The Fifth Element) and clean it up before releasing it. I shouldn't have to rely on my player to fix bad software.

    ...and RE: early adopters wanting to see artefacts, all I meant was that many of us would prefer to see the video as unaltered as possible. If that wasn't the case no one would be complaining about the NR. Some films are intentionally grainy or grainy because of their age (grain is an artefact)...in either of these cases, I'd rather see it then have the player eliminate it at the expense of fine detail. I will agree that none of us want to see artefacts from compression, edge enhancement, or anything else that doesn't belong in the original image.

    Regards
    Mike
     
  9. dkny75

    dkny75 Stunt Coordinator

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    That was a very informative review and I'm happy I didn't see things like "what a beautiful looking player, etc."

    I've been holding off on Blu-ray for better players (as most reviews slam the Samsung), cheaper pricing, BD-50's, and better software (getting there thx to Warner). That being said I own the Toshiba which I couldn't pass up at a good discounted price. Firmware 2.0 on the Toshiba fixes the 720p problem that made it look so awful originally. It used to downconvert to 480p before going to 720p. Now it just goes straight to 720p. Also, many have stated the picture overall looks better with the new firmware outputing 1080i. Personally I think it sounds more like a placebo effect since I really can't tell the difference but then again I'm not a reviewer of equipment.

    I was wondering if it was possible for you to install the new firmware on the Toshiba and take it though it's paces again. I'd like to hear what you see as a difference. Thanks.
     
  10. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Very good review.

    Minor typo: the new Denon 3910 replacement is the 3930ci (not 3920).
     
  11. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Dave

    I just checked, you are correct. They changed the name. Preliminary info in May said 3920.

    Mike
     
  12. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Thanks Michael.

    As I see it, the Samsung (at twice the price) should deliver a better picture then the Toshiba and so far, from my experience, it does not. While it may past tests that the Toshiba does not, the Toshiba in my opinion is the better player.

    I'd love to jump into Blu-ray but there are just way too many issues with the player and software to do so at this time. Hopefully by this time next year prices will have dropped and PQ will at least match that of HD-DVDs.
     
  13. Austan

    Austan Second Unit

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    Keep in mind that there have been reports that Toshiba is subsidizing the HD-A1... and preliminary prices for the 2nd generation HD DVD players are closer to Blu Ray player prices.
     
  14. Hayes Preston

    Hayes Preston Stunt Coordinator

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    Both of those "facts" have been disputed and largely reported as rumor.
     
  15. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    I thought I read an official quote that they are subsidizing the cost. How long can they do that for? Think about it - $500 retail on a machine...dealers buy for less, there is no way that machine cost less than $350 to make. How long can they do this for when they are the only company doing it? (the other machines on the market are Toshiba clones, which are probably sold to RCA at the subsidized cost. You don't see RCA coming out with their own player different in design. It's very different on the Blu-ray side.

    Mike
     
  16. Austan

    Austan Second Unit

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    Those reports were never stated at "facts"... so please keep this on the friendly side. As far as a consumer point of view, it doesn't matter $500 is 1/2 the price of $1000 and we could careless about subsidies. But this debate is a long term debate that wont be settled with the HD-A1 vs BP1000.

    As much as people declared HD DVD death by paper specs, there are as many people have have declared Blu Ray death by BP1000 release. Lets just wait until the Official Sony Blu Ray launch in November and see how sales are doing during the Holiday season.
     
  17. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Michael,

    Aside from the test patterns, how does the Samsung SD DVD upconversion picture quality compare (in terms of color rendition, etc.) to the Toshiba? (Just a note, I recently spent a good amount of time recently A/Bing the Toshiba against the Denon 2930ci and the Denon was definitely better).
     
  18. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Austan

    I always keep it friendly!

    Mike
     
  19. dkny75

    dkny75 Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike, any thoughts on my previous post?
     

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