My results on the Panasonic RP56 vrs. the Sony NS700p

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ron-P, Oct 18, 2001.

  1. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Last night I had the first opportunity to put these two players head-to-head.
    HT System
    Mits 46" 16:9 (calibrated via AVIA and the Spot)
    Sony DVP S530D
    Monster Component Cables
    Marantz SR5000
    Polk Audio Speakers
    I finally had some spending cash and wanted to upgrade my Sony S530D to a Progressive Scan model. Both of these players fit my budget. Last Friday I brought home the RP56. Wednesday, I brought home the 700p.
    Movies I used for testing
    SPR-Opening sequence with Tom Hanks
    Toy Story-Ch.4 Woody gives speech to group
    Toy Story 2- Opening sequence
    Nightmare Before Xmas-Selected scenes throughout the movie
    SuperBit Desperado-Selected scenes throughout the movie
    The Lost World-Opening beach sequence
    SW:TPM-Selected scenes, scrolling intro
    Let me start by saying that both of these Progressive Scan players provide excellent picture and sound quality. For the $300 and under price range one cannot really go wrong with either. Both players have their positives and negatives.
    Build Quality / Remote
    Both are constructed quite well, but the 700p overall has an edge over the RP56. The 700p is very solid, refined and the remote, much more user friendly than the RP56. The buttons on the 700p's remote were solid and firm, the RP56, loose and soft.
    480i
    Here is where the 700p is noticeably superior. The picture quality of this player in interlace mode extremely good, the RP56 has a noisy, grainy look. My old Sony S530D preformed better. One scene that stood out was the Pixar intro in the Toy Story movies. As the desk lamp looks up and the word Pixar fads out, the 700p preforms this fade out smoothy. The RP56 seems to have a little trouble and the fade out is blocky looking. Also, A Nightmare Before Christmas, a movie with lots of dark scenes. The RP56 had a more grainy and noisy look over the 700p.
    I also played around with the lighter/darker setting on the RP56. I do not like this feature, it seems as though neither are correct and I had to make some minor adjustments to my Mits to compensate for the either overly dark or bright picture.
    480p
    Here is where both players preformed very well. I was quite surprised by the picture quality difference between interlace and progressive. This is due in part by the sub-par line-doubler in the Mits TVs.
    The differences in progressive mode between the two players are subtle but noticeable. One thing I discovered with the RP56 is that it defaults to the darker setting in progressive mode. At first I thought I could switch back and forth, that is not the case. But, when I went to switch back to interlace, I had to enter the RP56's menu and manually switch back to the lighter setting if I did not do this the interlaced image was too dark.
    The RP56 puts out a nice picture, but after a couple days of switching back and forth between interlace and progressive, the image seems to be a bit washed out in progressive mode. When I played the 700p, that is when my suspicions were confirmed. The 700p has a mildly richer looking color and they do not change between the interlace and progressive modes. The 700p was basically a plug-n-play. I did not need to enter the menu at all on it or my TV to get a great looking picture, where as with the RP56 I had to.
    During the sequence in SPR when Hanks hands are shaking and he drinks from his canteen, I noticed more detail in his jacket and sleeves viewing with the 700p. The RP56 was darker yet slightly washed out looking, almost overly bright and this was defaulting to the darker setting. This is where I had to addjust the contrast and brightness levels on my Mits.
    I will say that the RP56 can, at times, produce a cleaner picture over the 700p, but it is very minor and not noticeable all the time. Certain scenes looked a bit cleaner. A scene in The Lost World, when the little girl is feeding the baby V-Raptor. I noticed a bit cleaner of an image off the RP56 over the 700p, but that was the only scene I could see a difference. Both produce a very clean, sharp picture. Both players did an excellent job with the Phantom Menace and looked nearly identical. I could not see a difference between the two in progressive mode except for the washed out look that the RP56 gives off. During the stadium shots at the beginning of the pod races, I did notice some stair-stepping edges, but both players showed the exact same problem and it was very minor.
    Bugs
    This is where the RP56 reared its ugly "Flicker Bug". During the scene with woody giving his speech to the group I really could not see the bug, although reports say it is there. But, during the opening of TS2. When the word Toy Story appears and then the number 2 appears you can see a flicker in the blue edging. It was really noticeable in the blue edge at the bottom of the #2. I was not looking for it hear, but it caught my eye.
    As for the chroma bug in the 700p, I looked for exactly what others have pointed out, I have seen pictures of what to look for, but I could not see it. If it is there, it is not nearly as noticeable as the "Flicker Bug".
    Sound
    Both have dd/dts out, the 700p has optical and coax, the RP56 has optical only. Both players were excellent in the sound category. I noticed an improvement in my surrounds with both players. The surrounds were much more active and noticeable with regards to my S530D.
    All-in-all, both players are excellent. But for me, it looks like the Sony NS700p is the better of the two players. The Sony offers switching between interlace and progressive via the remote, the RP56 does not, front panel only. I do not like the lighter/darker setting on the RP56. They need to add an "off" or "normal" option. The "Flicker Bug" is annoying. Although at times the picture was a bit cleaner on the RP56 it is, to me, not enough to justify the other quirks of this player. Sure the picture might be a bit better at times, but setting it up to get a properly calibrated picture is a lot of work and it must be changed, or re-calibrated between interlace and progressive modes.
    In closing, I apologize for the length of this review. I am not a professional reviewer, writer or fluent in all the techo-babble with regards to these players. Just wanted to post my findings.
    I plan on keeping the RP56 over the weekend mainly so I have more time to read the 700p's manual and get into it more. I still want to run some more disks thru both.
    Peace Out~ [​IMG]
    ------------------
    http://home.earthlink.net/~peregrinefalcon
    [Edited last by Ron-P on October 18, 2001 at 10:29 AM]
     
  2. Shade Watson

    Shade Watson Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,
    You said that the sound in the surrounds for both players was improved over your old player. Is this through a digital connection using the new players as transports?
     
  3. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Yes, nice review--thanks.
    I do have one question about the RP56. Does it have different picture modes? The reason I ask is because I know the RP91 has them as well as the Technics DVD-A10 that I own and they can have a dramatic effect on the output.
    If it has them(Normal, User, Cinema, Fine, and Soft)did you experiment with them at all? I know with my player, they can make or break the perceived quality on some discs.
    DJ
     
  4. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Ron, no need to apologize. The length gives us insight into exactly what differences you noticed in the players. Don't worry about techno-babble either. You did an excellent review, which is an objective, detailed comparison and then your reasons for picking one above the other. Thanks! You have helped me in that I will definitely keep the Sony on my short list.
    ------------------
    "Do you expect me to talk?"
    "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"
     
  5. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

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    Hi Ron,
    Thanks for the review. I've been contemplating between these two players myself.
    I thought the switch to select between progressive and interlace for the Sony was on the back. It's nice to know it's on the remote.
    How did either player handle layer changes? Was the start-up reading time faster in one player over the other?
    Anyway, thanks again for the review from a layman's point of view.
     
  6. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Thanks guys!
    Shade
    quote: You said that the sound in the surrounds for both players was improved over your old player. Is this through a digital connection using the new players as transports?[/quote]
    I connected these units up just like my S530D. Using an Optical connection. For the last 6 months or so I did use a coax cable on my 530, but it made no difference in sound quality.
    Both players (RP56/NS700p) had the same type of increase in the surrounds. They were more prominent and open sounding. I do not know why, just figure newer models, different processing. It definitely is an improvement over my 530D, the surrounds are more enveloping.
     
  7. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    quote: I thought the switch to select between progressive and interlace for the Sony was on the back. It's nice to know it's on the remote.
    How did either player handle layer changes? Was the start-up reading time faster in one player over the other?[/quote]
    Allen
    The Sony has a switch on the back of the player that lets you select between interlace/progressive/selectable. With the selectable switch set to selectable, you can select between interlace and progressive via the remote. (I had fun with the word selectable [​IMG] )
    Neither one out-preformed the other as far as menu access or layer changes. The RP56 was a bit slower on the initial start-up of the disk but not by much.
     
  8. Mark Z

    Mark Z Stunt Coordinator

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    Nice review Ron!
    I just have a couple of questions for you. I have the same widescreen tv as you and I also have the same Sony dvd player you just picked up. I also read The Spot and am going to try to do some tweaks to the tv. I've read some of the posts on The Spot with you praising your tv after you tweaked the geometry, etc., and you said that the picture is now beautiful. I am just asking about your picture, because I seem to have some problems with mine. I was thinking of getting a different player because I thought it was causing some of the problems.
    When I play Unbreakable (the scene were Bruce goes to the train station with the green poncho on) I see some stange blotches in the poncho. I'm not sure what is called but it almost looks like some "moving mosaic patches" in the dark spots. I've also seen this in the scene right before this when Sam Jackson is on the phone. I can see it in the left (shaded)side of his face. Have you ever noticed this on your set up? Also, I just bought The Phantom Menace and thought the picture seemed blurry or out of focus on objects in the background (close ups look great). One other problem I have noticed is the chroma bug. It doesn't bother me that much, but no one else seems to notice it.
    Will tweaking my set fix some of these problems, or is this the way projection tvs work? Also, which tweak most improved your picture? I could ask these questions on The Spot, but I thought I'd ask you directly since you have the same setup.
    Thanks,
    Mark Z
     
  9. Shanthi

    Shanthi Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Ron,
    I guess I made a right choice. I have 700P for over 4 months and love it.
     
  10. Jim A. Banville

    Jim A. Banville Supporting Actor

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    You cannot adjust brightness, color, etc. from the RP56's 480p output. You can adjust them throught the 480i output. This is one difference between the RP56 and RP91.
    The NS700p does conform to the 0 IRE black level standard for 480p. There is a slight darking of the picture (and increased saturation of colors - they go hand-in-hand) when going from 480i to 480p, but it doesn't seem as severe as the difference between the RP56's light/dark (7.5 IRE/0 IRE) settings.
     
  11. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Mark,
    Any tweaks you preform will improve your picture. The most dramatic changes came from calibrating with AVIA, performing the electrostatic focus and fixing the geometry. Also, turning off the SVM helped. I also plan on doing the manual focus, which I hear will improve the picture greatly, just have yet to find a 2 or 3 hour block of time.
    I have not noticed any of those problems you see. Please give me the chapter and time locations and I can check it out on my rig.
    I also noticed that certain scenes in SW:TPM were out of focus. One in particular is when Jar-Jar and Qui-Gon(?) are walking in the forest when they first meet. The shot starts from far off and they walk toward the camera. When they are in the distance, they are out of focus. I think this has to do with the fact that projection TVs are softer and that the TV is most likely out of focus a bit.
    I tried to find the Chroma Bug, I looked hard and long but could not see it. I'm not going to look anymore. Ignorance is Bliss [​IMG]
    Peace Out~ [​IMG]
    ------------------
    http://home.earthlink.net/~peregrinefalcon
    [Edited last by Ron-P on October 18, 2001 at 02:35 PM]
     
  12. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

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    Ron-P - thanks a lot for the comparison. Glad you tried the same tests as me on the RP56 and got the same results!
    Now you just need to try a Toshiba 3750 and we'll be all set. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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  14. Marc Alexander

    Marc Alexander Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,
    Regarding your comments on color and brightness between the two players. Did you recalibrate video with AVIA for each new player? If not, doing so should level the playing field a bit.
    Great review, thanks. [​IMG]
     
  15. Ted Kontos

    Ted Kontos Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Ron
    I've been considering both of these players and now I think I've come down on the side of the Sony. Since I don't have a progressive-scan capable TV (and won't for awhile), the interlaced picture is important to me. Sounds like the Sony fits the bill!
    Enjoy your new purchase(s)!
    ------------------
    --------
    Ted K.
    "Wait here. Be right back"
    -Godot
     
  16. Tom J. Davis

    Tom J. Davis Second Unit

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    I am leaning more and more towards the Sony. Thanks Ron for an excellent objective review. With your comments and Jim Banville's about the Sony HS series having less problems with a Sony dvd player I think my mind has been made up.
     
  17. David Ki

    David Ki Agent

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    Thanks many times over for providing an interlaced review.
    I have a quick question for anyone. Does anybody think there would be a difference in the playback of the sonys DVP-NS700p and DVP-NS400D while in interlaced mode?
     
  18. Dave Barretto

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    Ron: Just had to let you know that you did an excellent objective review. For the amount of time you must have spent the review is not too long. Thank You for the review:
     
  19. Joseph_W

    Joseph_W Stunt Coordinator

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    Great job Ron!!! Your review was exactly right for my taste. Sometimes more technical reviews "miss the point".
    I have been kind of following your wake for awhile. I waited on my purchase of my Mits until you were happy with yours. I love mine.
    I haven't yet got into the tweaking. I have an old Toshiba DVD player with no component output, so I couldn't install a red push attenuator. I was going to buy a new subwoofer first, but with the price of either of these units, I will probably rearrange my priorities. (My wife is looking over my shoulder - she said she would like to rearrange my priorities!!!)
    Sooo, what's our next upgrade???
    Thanks again,
    Joe
     

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