My Panny S35 has died! Please help me find a replacement!

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Joseph Bolus, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    208
    My Panasonic S35 player's spindle motor has died, after just eight months of use. The warranty at this point covers parts only, so it'll cost me a minimum of $90 to repair it. Since I only paid $70 for it, I'm in the market for a new player.

    I have rather unique needs for a DVD player since my main display device is my Infocus X1 projector, which already includes outstanding Faroudja DCDi de-interlacing.

    Since I utilize my X1 exclusively as a 16:9 display device, the main feature that I need from my new DVD player is the ability to convert non-anamorphic LBX DVD transfers up to 16:9. The Panny had this feature (which it called "4:3 Shrink Function w/ Letterbox Zoom & Shift"). The Panny also had a two-step Black Level Control which I found useful.

    Can anybody recommend a player under $300.00 with similar features? Remember, I don't need a great progressive scan circuit due to my X1's DCDi.
     
  2. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    0
    So the newer S35 model also has that same spindle motor design defect like the older RP62/RP82 models did? They also died after about 8 months of use. The XP30/XP50 models supposedly have a newer spindle motor design that solved the problem - I wonder why Panasonic still has the defect on the later S35 model? Perhaps that old motor design was a lot cheaper?
     
  3. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    208


    Don:

    I can't answer that question. All I can tell you for sure is that I've only owned the S35 for about eight months, and the spindle motor is dead, and I'm pretty pissed about it. Just for the record, it was utilized for about two hours a day, on average, during that period.

    The player was actually a very good fit as a companion to the X1 since it included some of the 4:3 modes for a 16:9 display that the X1 lacks. I was running it only in its interlaced mode, of course, due to the X1's DCDi circuit.

    I would actually consider purchasing another S35 (or perhaps the F65 multi-disc carousel model) if I could be sure that it would hold up. I also wouldn't mind purchasing something like the Dennon 910 if it had the non-anamorphic letterbox zoom and shift function, but it doesn't seem to have that ability.

    Any ideas that you have would be appreciated.
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joseph,

    I have one of these players and could not get it to properly expand a non-anamorphic letterbox disc--everything was still short and fat. Exactly how did you make this happen? I gave up and put it in the bedroom to replace a nasty little Apex that I got free with my last tv purchase.

    BTW, I then bought a JVC XV-NS77SL (silver, also available in black as XV-NS70BL). It has 2 16/9 modes--"normal" and "auto". If you put it in 16/9 Normal you can leave your set in Full mode as you are forced too, and it will pillarbox 4/3 stuff--it will appear properly proportioned in the center of the screen with black bars on the sides.
    If you put in a non-anamorphic widescreen you can hit the "zoom" button once, and it does a 1.8 times zoom which almost perfectly scales the movie to fit the screen with no appreciable loss in pq--Titanic looks amazingly like a real anamorphic dvd in this mode. When I zoomed with the Panny 35 it not only had wrong geometry but also quite noticeable loss in pq. The JVC was the answer to my prayers as I have lots of nonanamorphic letterbox dvds.

    Only fly in the ointment is that if you fast forward or reverse, the JVC sometimes developes a picture stutter on sideways pans--sorta jerks. This never happens if you just pause or do chapter changes, only after FF or FR so it's not a major problem.

    The de-interlacing is at least as good as the Panny S35, but not quite as good on video as the Faroudja chipped Pannys. Overall pq aside from de-interlacing is also noticeably better than on the S35. The JVC 70 series has 12 bit 108 mhz video sampling as opposed to 10 bit 54mhz on most other players.

    I paid $179 for mine, at a local B&M, but it's probably cheaper on the 'net. It also has DVD-Audio capability and built in DD and DTS decoding, which the Panny lacks, and both optical and coax digital audio outs.
     
  5. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    208
    Steve:

    Thanks for the tip!

    Just so you know, the non-anamorphic 4:3 to 16:9 zoom is activated via the DISPLAY menu on the Panny.

    With the player set to 16:9 via SETUP, while playing a DVD, press the DISPLAY button three times to get to the appropiate on-screen menu, then utilize the right arrow on the remote to select one of three available 4:3 modes: "Auto", "Shrink", and "Zoom". In the "Shrink" mode the 4:3 DVD will appear in the center of the 16:9 frame. The variable zoom can then be used to push off the side bars. In the "Zoom" mode the 4:3 transfer will fill the entire 16:9 frame, without any evident distortion, but the top and/or bottom will be slightly cropped. The "Zoom" can then be shifted up or down with the arrow keys. (This is not needed of course for a LBX non-anamorphic transfer since the only thing being cropped is the black bars.) Once the 4:3 mode is set, the player will remember the setting for subsequent non-anamorphic DVD's (or 4:3 bonus material on 16:9 DVD's). It's really pretty darn cool, but it's definitely not documented too well.

    Thanks for the information on the JVC.
     
  6. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes all the JVC models have that function, I'd recommend them if you are just looking for a under $100 player. The JVCs are superior and have more features than the cheap Panasonics like the S35. The JVC XV-N50BK is on sale at several stores right now under $100 and they have a $20 rebate offer too.
     
  7. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks Joseph!!

    I'm a huge believer in reading the owner's manual but the one that came with the S-35 is about the worst I've ever seen for any product. BTW, I'm a Toyota dealership service tech, so am quite used to deciphering Japlish, but the S-35 manual totally defeated me.

    I just happen to have 2 copies of the non-anamorphic widescreen Dusk Till Dawn with identical transfers and can hook up 2 players at the same time via component switching on my receiver so I will try an A/B comparison between the JVC's 1.8 zoom and the Panasonic S-35's variable zoom. Good weekend project!
     
  8. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    208
    Steve:

    Just to further clarify the instructions above regarding the non-anamorphic to anamorphic conversion ability of the Panny S35:

    After pressing the DISPLAY button three times, you will then need to press the down arrow on the remote once. This will (finally) get you to the so-called DISPLAY sub-menu of the PLAY menu. There you will (finally) find the 4:3 viewing modes described in my post above. Before playing with the various 4:3 options, you should ensure that your regular ZOOM function is set to 1.00.

    BTW, I ended up purchasing the Panny F65 carousel unit as a replacement for the Panny S35. This unit has the exact same feature set that I was used to with the S35, plus a much more rugged spindle motor. (Or so I've been told. I do know that a friend of mine has played his almost eight hours a day, combined audio CD listening and DVD viewing, for about three months, with no problems.) Just to be on the safe side, I purchased the unit at my local Sears (they had it on sale for $109.99), and then paid $17.50 for the extended two year warranty.

    I have to say that I'm very happy. Again, these Panny units seem to be perfect mates for the current crop of inexpensive DLP projectors that are on the market. At least, as long as you can run them in interlaced mode.
     
  9. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks Joseph,

    Since the spindle problem's been reported on the RP-82 as well, I'm glad you posted that the changers don't use the same spindle drive as I own a CP-72 changer version of the Faroudja-equipped RP-82 and was getting paranoid about the spindle drive.

    Thanks also for clarifying the procedure on the S-35 zoom function.

    I also like changers overall better than single disc players what with all the 2 to 4 disc special editions on the market these days.
     
  10. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    208

    I see we think alike!

    The first thing I did with the carousel was load up the entire four disc EE of LOTR:The Two Towers, along with the second disc of the theatrical edition. I then had a ball switching between favorite scenes in the movie and the bonus features!

    As for the spindle drive, it doesn't even sound the same as the one that was in the S35. After the F65 loads a disc from the carousel, it whines for a second or two as it reads the disc, and then settles down into complete silence when the disc menu appears. (Even if the menu is animated). The S35 would continually produce a low rumble while at the disc menu, but would then settle down once a selection was made. The F65 also feels about twice as heavy as the S35. We'll see if it holds up!
     
  11. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    0
    Owners of the CP72 also report failures after about 8-12 months of use with a similar H02 spindle motor error. Only tne later models XP30 and XP50 appear to be free of this H02 error defect.
     
  12. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    208

    I should clarify that the Panny S35 that died never produced an error message of any kind. It simply turned itself off! The disc tray, at least, would open when the open/close button was pressed; and if there was no disc inserted it would remain on. As soon as a disc was inserted, though, it would simply turn off. Very disappointing for a machine only eight months old ...
     
  13. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've used my CP-72 for about 18 months now with no problems, knocking on wood!

    did my A/B between the Panasonic S-35 and JVC 70 series with regard to pq when zooming non-anamorphic letterbox discs last night, results a mixed bag.

    My receiver has 2 component inputs so I connected one player to each, that way I could quickly switch from one to the other for comparison, cables were all about equal in quality==monster for both players into the receiver.

    My tv is a Sony KP57HW40, 57" widescreen HD-capable rptv, which I left in Full mode during the comparison. The set has been AVIA calibrated and I've corrected red push in the service menu.

    I used Progressive output mode on both players, didn't try interlaced with either one. JVC pulldown control was set to Auto, Panasonic to Auto-1.

    I used my 2 copies of Dusk Till Dawn with one cued up about 30 seconds ahead of the other so I could watch a scene on one player and quickly switch to the other and rewatch the same scene. I used "normal" picture mode on both players.

    The Panasonic allows infinite levels of zoom, while the JVC has only a fixed 1.8 zoom. Turns out that as a result one can achieve less overscan with the Panny--advantage Panasonic.

    Onscreen displays don't work on the JVC when it's zoomed, they do on the Panasonic, and I could not get the JVC to change audio tracks while it was zoomed, either with the onscreen display or the Audio button on the remote. To do anything involving an onscreen display on the JVC one must hit enter first to take it out of zoom and re-zoom it after making the adjustment. chapter skipping or ff/fr does not require taking it out of zoom. The Panasonic lets you do anything with the onscreen displays without affecting it's zoom.

    Overall pq on the JVC was slightly better, however. Dusk Till Dawn is an older port of an LD transfer so it's not the best in the first place, but facial and background details were a little bit better on the JVC than on the Panasonic. The variable zoom on the Panny was set for minimum overscan, JVC was of course fixed at 1.8. The jvc image was, as a result, zoomed a bit more than the Pannys, with a bit of content loss at the edges.

    Wanting to try a disc with a bit better transfer I tried watching A/B loops of the first minute or so of chapter 3 on Titanic, a fly-in shot of the research ship Keldish (sp?) just prior to the openning of the safe retrieved from the shipwreck. This disc required me to switch the JVC's pulldown control to "Film" as some horizontal lines flawed the picture if left in "auto". Again, the JVC looked a bit better than the Panasonic. Edges of the ship's oval portholes seemed to be a bit fuzzier and jumpier on the Panasonic, and the overall picture looked just a tiny bit softer and the colors seemed a tiny bit more "posterized", though both players exhibitted this look to some extent. Again, the Panny was able to display the entire image with no overscan.

    Since I did not try interlaced mode, these very slight comparative deficiencies in the Panny pq vs the JVC may not apply when using interlaced. De-interlacing and zoom are both digital processes, and it's entirely possible that without having to do both zoom and de-interlacing the Panny may have done the superior job.

    JVC players actuall derive their interlaced output from their progressive output, rather than the other way around like Panny and others--the pulldown settings actually affect interlaced as well as progressive output, unlike other players. It's entirely possible that when using interlaced output the Panasonic would have better pq since it would only be doing one digital process while the JVC would still be doing two.

    In addition, the difference in pq may be much less noticeable on a smaller screen monitor or a non-crt type display, and the ability of the Panny to totally eliminate overscan may be more important to some people than any small pq advantage the JVC might have.
     
  14. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Titanic DVD has the alternate-progressive flag bug, so thats why you have to force the JVC to FILM mode for that one. The better Faroudja de-interlacer models can handle it OK.
     
  15. Joe D

    Joe D Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 21, 1999
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Panasonic RV-26 died this week after 2 years, I receieved the H02 error message.

    This is the 2nd DVD Player that I have owned that has died due to the spindle motor, which is kind of annoying.

    I ordered a Denon 910 to replace the Panasonic.
     
  16. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 1999
    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    208

    While this may be considered heresy, I must confess that I frequently utilize the 4:3 "Shrink" function of the Panny, in combination with the variable zoom, to provide an apparent 1.66:1 aspect ratio for my 4:3 TV DVDs! I've found that all the Star Trek TV episodes (from TOS through DS9) seem to have been shot "protected" for 1.66:1 as the framing seems quite natural when viewed this way. This leaves (very slight) side bars within the 1.78:1 frame, but the effect (especially when viewed on a 96" screen) can seem very cinematic and provides a whole new viewing experience for these classic shows. BTW, some of the more recent TV shows on DVD (such as Xena - Warrior Princess) seem to have been shot "protected" for 1.78:1. In fact, in the case of Xena some of the episodes offer "Video Commentary" where you view Producers and Writers of the episode in question watching and commenting on the show together. In every case it's apparent that they're viewing the episode on a fully utilized 16:9 Widescreen display! It makes you wonder why they just didn't release the episodes in 1.78:1 with 16:9 enhancement to begin with!
     
  17. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2000
    Messages:
    4,260
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Nick So
    FWIW, a good deinterlacer in the DVD player (Say the faroudja in the XP30/XP50) will give a better image than the X1's internal deinterlacer. So you may consider that...
     
  18. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    Nick,

    very true, but Joseph needs a player that will zoom non-anamorphic widescreen dvds because his projector won't do it. None of the Faroudja-chipped players have this feature.

    I have both a JVC 70-series with zoom for nonanamorphic discs and a Panny CP-72 with Faroudja chip. For the vast majority of discs the JVC actually puts out a better picture. It's only with problem discs improperly flagged for pulldown or discs with primarily video based stuff that the Panny excels.

    For example, Titanic requires me to manually select Film mode on the JVC, while the Panny handles it just fine on Auto-1, not a major problem.

    I have a few discs, Red Violin being one, that flat won't produce a decent picture on the JVC. The Panasonic does just fine with them. These are by far a small minority of my dvds, however.

    The Faroudja chip is superior for video based stuff and badly flagged discs, but imho is not the be-all and end-all so many people make it out to be.
     

Share This Page