Malata N996 vs Panasonic RP91

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike H, Jul 25, 2001.

  1. Mike H

    Mike H Stunt Coordinator

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    Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with either companies other than I own one of each of the above dvd players.
    Both of these DVD players are great for TVs that lock in full on a progressive signal. The Panasonic RP91 has a much better menu system then the N996.
    The equipment I used was a Mitsu 55807 16:9 TV, Hand made Component & Coaxial Digital Cables. The tv has been set up with Avia and I've done a few tweaks to it. For those familiar with Mitsu, I also used the variable attenuator. It was set at the same location for both viewings.
    Review by the numbers:
    These rankings are X out of 10.
    Malata N996:
    Remote: 2
    Manual: 3
    Video Quality: 8
    Audio Quality: 8
    Build Quality: 5
    Ease of Use: 6
    Panasonic RP91:
    Remote: 9 ( I like the joystick control )
    Manual: 9
    Video Quality: 9
    Audio Quality: 8
    Build Quality: 8
    Ease of Use: 9
    Review in words:
    I like both players a lot. I got the Panasonic for it's Video quality, and I got the Malata N996 for the PAL->NTSC conversion and region-free status.
    Malata is a Chinese company whose DVD players are sold under a few names. Omni & Cine-Ultra are two other names that I know of. As far I can tell the Cine-Ultra has a VGA output that the Malata doesn't. You can find where to purchase it by searching on google or email me. Panasonic is a name brand that almost everyone knows.
    The Malata is a lightweight player like most Chinese import DVD players. The menus are simple text and are confusing at times. The owner's manual is 20 pages long and skims over most of the menu settings. The manual for the RP91 is much nicer and more complete.
    I've read that N996 can be CD upgraded but I have yet to see any binaries available for it. The unit is hard to navigate due to the weak remote. I have to hold it just right in order to get the unit to respond at all.
    The 4:3 downconversion could be better for the N996 could be better. On the RP91 it's really good. The N996 would not leave the 4:3 downconversion for any of the Avia test patterns. I couldn't find a menu option to address that issue. All I could do is set the unit in 4:3 letterbox mode to have the full resolution horizontally of the test patterns.
    I watch a few DVDs that I like to use to test DVD players. I use the beginning of The Rock Criterion edition. I like this because of the rain, the uniforms, the text, etc. I also use the Replacement killers because it can look good or bad depending on the dvd player. Toy Story 2 is another one although that one makes almost any dvd player look good.
    The RP91 and the N996 both look about the same on the Rock although I give the edge to the RP91. Better color on the uniforms makes the picture stand out. On the Replacement Killers the N996 looks better although the colors are more muted. The RP91 looked noisier for the same scene. Toy Story II is the same between the two players. Both of these players are chroma free.
    I could notice no differnce between these two players for Audio quality. I have no DVD-A discs to test, although I understand the next firmware for the N996 has DVD-A support enabled.
    The N996 is a little bit lighter than the RP91. The N996 had some flex in the player where the RP91 felt solid.
    The N996 is not easy to use at all. It is slow to respond to menu options. I've had four dvd players and used about 10 different and the N996 is the slowest by far. The RP91 is fairly responsive to menu commands.
    I would recommend the N996 for those who want region-free progressive display. I've read on AVSForum that the Pal->NTSC conversion is great. I'm still waiting on a few pal discs to try. I would recommend the RP91 for those that want the best affordable picture available now.
    Any questions or comments, plese send me a private message or email.
    Mike
     
  2. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    I posted this question just a few minutes after your post. Doh!
    Anyways, what do you guys think of the RP61 based on specs?
    Who cares about DVD-RAM, especially now that true DVD writers exist?
    And do people have this left sideways shift in progressive mode that I remember seeing?
    Oh yeah, I'm using the Toshiba 34" direct view 16:9 TV.
    http://www.toshiba.com/tacp/tv/CW34X92.html
    Great post by the way.
    [Edited last by Eugene Hsieh on July 25, 2001 at 11:32 PM]
     
  3. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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  4. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Thanks for the review Mike!
    Does this player do the variable zoom? That is, you can zoom and stretch any way you like? I think someone mentioned it was this player that did it, but I'm not sure.
     
  5. Mike H

    Mike H Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes the N996 does variable zoom. It also let's you pan the image left and right so you can adjust it for uneven overscan. The N996 also is dead on for centering in progressive mode.
    Mike
     
  6. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    Please explain "variable zoom". Does this player perform the same sort of scaling on non-enhanced letterboxed transfers as the Panasonic RP91?
     
  7. Mike H

    Mike H Stunt Coordinator

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    You can perform Custom X-Y Scaling on both Anamorphic and Non-Anamorphic pictures. I don't think it has the automatic detection that the RP91 has. So in short, yes you can scale the picture so that TVs that lock in full display Non-anamorphic properly.
    Avia plays in a 4x3 box on my TV when I tell the N996 I have a 16:9 TV. I was able to display the resolution picture such that the circle was about the only thing you saw.
     
  8. Scott Barnhart

    Scott Barnhart Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike,
    Does the variable zoom, custom X-Y scaling, etc., also work in INTERLACED mode (using the SVideo ouput)? My TV is interlaced, has only SVideo input, and does NOT do the 16x9 squeeze, but I very interested in getting a player where I can finally display PAL anamorphic discs on an interlaced TV in the proper aspect ratio.
    Thanks,
    Scott
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    Scott Barnhart
    [email protected]
     
  9. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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  10. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    Mike, have you tested the 996's output for Macrovision?
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  11. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    Is the Apex similar to the other for odd aspect ratios for PAL?
    How is the temporal change for PAL on the Apex vs. the Malata?
    I am still debating getting the Malata to replace my Apex, but my Apex is already rarely used as it is. (As some know I already have a progressive scan DVD with scaling.)
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    Eugene Hsieh, VisorCentral FAQ Editor
    1000 km on a tank of gas??? Check out the Prius and drive the future now!
     

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