My impressions of the JVC XV-FA900BK (long)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by EdD, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. EdD

    EdD Agent

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    After a good deal of deliberation, I made the decision to go with this unit instead of the PAN CP72K. I was not able to do a side by side comparison since no local dealer carried both. My requirements were as follows:
    DVD changer (for the wife)
    Progressive Scan (of course)
    VCD/SVCD
    CD-R/RW compatibility
    DVD-R compatibility
    No chroma bug
    I didn't care about scaling or zooming. Nor did I need a DD/DTS decoder. At the beginning, my main concern was picture quality but as it turns out, I was not willing to have that at any cost. DVD-A was a "nice to have" not a "must have". I watch primarily film and some progressive video (pixar animation, etc).
    Here's my setup:
    Sony KP-51HW40 RPTV
    B&K 307 Receiver
    AudioQuest YIQ-1 component video cable (connecting the JVC directly to the TV)
    Monster digital coax
    The reason I ended up choosing the JVC was described here.
    My first impression is very good. I feel that I made the right choice...of course I'll keep telling myself that. [​IMG] The first thing I did was load the player up with LOTR, Monsters Inc., a cdr of MP3s (224bps cbr if I remember correctly), a cdr of jpg, and a audio cd (Cirque du Soleil: O). Don't own any DVD-A but hope to get some soon.
    First off, I have not had a chance to do an AVIA or VE calibration yet. I simply adjusted the video by eye. I first checked out LOTR. The pq was impressive. I used the scene where Frodo leaves the Fellowship (Ch. 37 I think). This is my wife's favorite scene. She says it's because of the big uruk-hai but I suspect it's another prominent character in that scene. [​IMG] The motion was smooth and I did not see any combing or stair stepping. Color was well saturated and seemed to have less red push (which this set is guilty of) than my old Pioneer DVL700. Not sure if that's my imagination though. The scene where Frodo is hiding behind a tree and Pippin and Merry are in a bush showed very good depth and clarity. I was very happy with the pq on film content.
    Then I switched to Monsters, Inc. which was my progressive video test case. I used the entry of the "scare'ers"..you know the "Right Stuff" scene for this test (I think this was ch 8). Didn't see any combing during motion and panning but did notice some stair-stepping. Specifically, the slug-like monster with the spikes. The long thin spikes off of his head shows some step artifacts which are visible if you are looking for it but not so bad as to be distracting or even noticeable w/ casual watching. Don't know if the PAN CP72K would suffer from this as well. If anyone has tried it on this specific scene please post the results. Otherwise, the picture was tack sharp and very smooth.
    Audio CD performed well as expected. I was using the D/A converter on the B&K so didn't expect much change there. A more useful test would be to test the players D/A converter.
    IMHO, one of the most underrated least discussed features of this player is the jpeg viewing capability. It is extremely cool! I am an avid photographer. Probably spent more money on photo equip than I have on HT equip. [​IMG] I use film and scan at hi res (at least compared to digital photography) and then create CDs with html index pages to make them easy to view. I often use slide film or only develop the negatives (no prints) which drives my wife nuts because she says she can't enjoy the pictures through a loope. Some people! In any case, I used a CD containing one roll scanned in from slides. Slides provide much more dynamic range than negatives which makes them perfect for scanning. Unfortunately, watching jpg slide show on a video screen does not have the same quality or size of watching a slide projection. There is something lacking in the depth. I have to say I was skeptical of this feature. I figured the pictures would be barely watchable. Afterall, how good can a dvd player resize and display a hi res jpeg image. To my very pleasant surprise, the quality was very good. Don't use very high resolutions however since the scaling slows the image display to a crawl. I used images scaled to 640 pixels along the long axis which diplayed very quickly and produced very rich images with good color depth. I will try my 1024 long axis scaled images tonight to see if it improves the image quality. I now consider this to be a "must have" feature for those with digital cameras and film/photo scanners who burn images to CD for archiving.
    One final thing that I tested accidentally. When I first ran my video tests, I stupidly forgot to set the player to widescreen mode which caused it to do a 4:3 down conversion. The resulting image was decent but with noticeably more step affects. On film content it was not very obvious so unless you looked for it you'd probably miss it. On Monsters, Inc. with the same slug monster scene, it was glaring. After that initial test I was very discouraged but once I realized what I had done and fixed it, the results were much better.
    To sum it all up, I think the pq in general is superb. I do see some areas where the PAN might be better but I haven't tested it so I don't know. I also know that once I calibrate my set, pq will improve even more. I am very happy with this unit. It is a bit loud but we keep all of our components in a cabinet with glass doors so that won't be an issue. Disc changes were not slow enough to be frustrating. Pretty much what I expected. Disc load time is much better than the old player which was slow even for it's time. The depth of the unit is bothersome. I have to cut out the back of the cabinet so the rear can stick out.
    I have not tested layer switch speed which will be next up. Does anybody know a good layer switch location on a popular dvd? Preferably a poorly placed one so I can see the worst case. Thanks.
    Well, that's my initial take. If it seems like I spent much more time talking about the jpeg feature, it is because that was the biggest surprise to me. The pq is pretty much what others had already reported. Without a direct side by side comparison, I cannot say if the PAN wins out over the JVC in one area or another. What I can say is that I found the pq to be very good and couldn't ask for more except for a single case. And even then, it was minor. Oh yeah, one more thing I have yet to try is VCD and SVCD playback. I'll post an update here once I try that.
    Sorry this is so long.
     
  2. TimTurtino

    TimTurtino Stunt Coordinator

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    Don't be sorry! We love the details...

    Me
     
  3. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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    Real Name:
    Paul McElligott
    I'd be very interested to know how the mp3 playback was, too.
     
  4. GarrettMN

    GarrettMN Auditioning

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    question about JPEG - if DO use larger than 640 images - i can zoom in on the image so it wont get pixelated - so is doubling the size to 1280 bearable when it draws it (speed wise?)
     

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