My Sony DVP-NC875V/B Review

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by MikeEckman, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    I posted this over at AVSForums, but thought I would repost it here for those of you who are looking for info on this player.

    I just picked up this player last night to replace a ~3 year old Sony DVP-NS300P 5 disc carousel. I recently upgraded to a Sony 32HS420 HD monitor, and was still using my old non-progressive model since the TV handed interlaced film quite well. I have been on the fence about getting an upconverting player, but it just seems like the technology is too new and each player out there has compromises, and I just think it would be better to wait a little while longer, especially considering I have a CRT monitor and supposedly upconverting players dont really get to shine on CRTs.

    Anywhoo...heres my impressions of the 875 compared to my old 300.

    1. As others have said, the loading mechanism is painfully slow. Whereas my old player would begin displaying video within 2-3 seconds of loading a disc, this one seems to take at least 2-3 times longer. I haven't actually timed it, but it is significantly slower.

    2. I hate the display on the unit (the thing that displays the time and status of the player, not the video output). My DVD player happens to sit at the bottom of my equipment rack, which puts it about a foot and a half off the ground, and because the actual display is recessed about an inch or two behind the plastic panel, you can't even see the display from my sitting position. I literally have to bend over to be able to see it. And even still, because it is behind a plastic panel, it can look a bit distorted unless you are looking straight at it. I find this an incredibly annoying thing, and this might be a dealbreaker for me, if I cant get over and decide to live with it.

    3. I've heard others mention that the LEDs are distractingly bright. There is a dimmer you can activate through the setup menu which helps quite a bit, but then it also dims the main display, which makes it even harder to read (on top of the issues I complained about in number 2). The LEDs are tolerable, but I just think that Sony's approach to the physical setup is a huge step backward from my 3 year old player which had a normal display and no superbright LEDs.

    4. OKay, now for the good news. Being as I am comparing a modern progressive scan player with a 12-bit/108MHz video DAC compared to a non-progressive scan 10-bit/52 MHz (I believe) unit, the picture is noticeably better. I was actually impressed with the smoothness offered by the new player. I watched MGM's Antitrust last night, which in my opinion is a very colorful movie with good picture quality and no edge enhancement on the disc. The image is very filmlike, and this player seems to handle MPEG compression a lot better as I didnt see a single artifact whereas my old player would pass those on to the TV quite drastically (especially during title sequences). The exceptional smoothness might be perceived by some people as a lack of detail, but I honestly feel as though this player displays video as it was meant to be seen. There is no artificial softening of the picture. If you don't like the filmlike smoothness, there are actually two sharpness settings you can turn on within the player's setup which adds a small amount (but very tolerable) of edge enhancement to your display.

    5. In addition to number 4, I like the additional controls that the player offers you to tweak the video. For whatever reason, my particular TV happens to have a hard time with black levels, and when I calibrate my TV (using VE) for DVD playback, my other video sources are way too bright. So I always had a bit of a compromise in my setup which makes non DVD sources just a little too bright, and DVD just a little too dark...that way, neither would be drastically off. However, with this new player, I am able to slightly bump up black levels and tweak colors to make DVD playback much closer to how I like it, without sacrificing the output from my Replay, VCR, or Xbox.

    6. In terms of sound, I am still using the digital coax output as I did on the old player. I didn't notice any improvement or change whatsoever...which is a good thing because I never had any complaints with my old setup. BTW - I am using a Sony STRDE845 Dolby/DTS 5.1 receiver hooked up to a complete JBL Southridge setup.

    7. I briefly played with the MP3/JPG playback and don't see it as a feature I would use too often since I have XBox Media Center on my XBox, and that is piped through my network, so I already have that functionality within my HT. However, I have seen some very lackluster MP3 support from some cheap Chinese brand players and I would say the Sony is a bit easier to use...although I feel this is still one thing that vendors aren't putting enough effort into to make it user friendly.

    8. I do not have any SACDs so I cant comment on this, but I might have to pick up a title or two to try it out.

    Thats about it so far. I really cant stand the display, the LEDs are tolerable in dim mode, and the player loads discs very slowly. I have no complaints about the remote. The setup of the player is simple enough, it offers a decent amount of features to tweak your setup, and the video output is very good in my opinion.

    Overall, I think this is a good player with a nice suite of features for the price. If you want a good progressive scan 5-disc player with SACD support, you really cant go wrong for $130. If anyone has any followup questions, I will do my best to answer them.
     
  2. Marvin Richardson

    Marvin Richardson Supporting Actor

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    I just recently bought a new HD display (the Sony KP-57WS520) and tried several DVD players. First up was the Panasonic DVD-F87S. Like the physical look of the player, and the menus were nice, but the picture quality was not that great, certainly no better than my aging Sony DVP-NS700V/S. So, that went back to Circuit City. My next attempt was the Sony DVP-NC875V/S that you reveiwed here. Ultimately, the picture quality was decent, but the transition from disc to disc and starting each disc was painfully slow. Too slow to put up with, so that went back as well. Finally, though, I'm happy. Got the Yamaha DV-C6770. It was more expensive ($300 rather than $150), but does DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD, and fixes a few minor problems I had with the Sony and Panasonic. The Yamaha's disc tray allows you to put all the discs in at one time without having to rotate, and the discs slots are clearly labelled 1-5 in white on black background, so you can actually read it in the dark. The picture quality is great, and the sound quality is great as well. Transitions from disc to disc are still a little slow, but much faster than the Sony or Panasonic. Very happy with this player, plus its universal, which is a nice bonus.
    Edit: Oh, and the remote for the Yamaha sucks, but I don't care as my new Sony RM-AV3100 takes care of that little problem!
     
  3. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    You are definitely right, the disc transitions and loading times on the Sony are unnecessarily slow, but if you can live with that and the crappy display, its a great unit for the price.

    You said the picture was merely "decent". In my opinion, what kept you from saying it was good? I think the 875 is a considerable step up from older Sony players. Supposedly the 875 has the exact deinterlacer and video chips as the 775, and from what I was reading on the net, as far as consumer level progressive scan players go, the 775 has good picture quality, so the same should apply to the 875.

    Either way, I am very happy with PQ and sound on mine. I have absolutely no need for SACD or DVD-A, so thats a non issue for me. I'm glad you were happy with the Yamaha, but for my needs, I wouldnt be able to justify spending more than double the price just to fix 2 non technical nuances.
     
  4. Marvin Richardson

    Marvin Richardson Supporting Actor

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    Please understand that my complaints (if you can call them that) about the video are from a non-videophile perspective. I don't delude myself into thinking that I know what really looks better in the professional Secrets of Hifi shootout kind of way. I thought the picture quality was decent because I couldn't tell any improvement over my 2+ year old Sony. The Yamaha has a more film-like quality to me. Now, I'm not saying that in fact the 875 did not have an improved de-interlacer and what have you, nor that the Yamaha has a technically better picture. I just know what looks good to my eyes.
    Besides, I just spent $1800 on a Sony KP-57WS520, so spending $300 instead of $150 on a DVD player didn't bother me.[​IMG]
     
  5. Dennis_N

    Dennis_N Agent

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    Hmmm, i am looking at the Sony as well as the Panasonic. It looks like out of those two, I would have to go with the Sony. I would like to get the Yamaha, but it is out of my price range (max $150). Any updates about this demo? Would you still recommend the Sony or is there another player that you have switched to? My current DVD player is pretty slow at switching and loading disks, and it really peeves me. I wonder if the SOny is really going to break my heart with that 'feature'? Thanks for the review!!!
     
  6. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I've had this Sony for several months now and the slow loading is annoying. It replaced a Panny CP-72 with the Faroudja chip but in most cases does put out a better picture than the Panny did. I have also tried one of the newer non-Faroudja Panny single disc players which quickly got relegated to the bedroom as it's pq was definitely inferior to any progressive scan player I've tried. De-interlacing was ok but the overall pq lacked punch.

    One really good thing about the Sony is that it can be set to "pillarbox" 4/3 movies, so I can watch classic films with black bars instead of gray on the sides which is much less distracting. Since I am a great fan of films of the 30s and 40s this is a major consideration for me. It would also be very useful if you have a lot of tv series box sets, most of which are 4/3.
     
  7. DeanWG

    DeanWG Stunt Coordinator

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    I also have this player, and purhcased it with my new Sony 55" LCD set.

    I will echo the setiments of the display problem. Since We have a much larger TV in a fairly limited space, we were forced to use the valuable storage area underneath the set for components, meaning that the DVD player is below the display. While still about 12-14" off the ground, it is VERY difficult to see the display for anything other than 11 feet away at decent angle. I'm not sure why it was designed this way, as it seems overly complicated and seemingly MORE expensive that a standard display set-up.

    It is also much slower that our previous 5 disc player, which was also a Sony.

    Why did we go with the Sony? Well . . . the price was definately a start. I have no question that we'll be replacing it at some point, but I wanted to start with a progressive scan player, I love changers, so this was the choice. We went with Sony because the second DVD player we bought back in 1998 was a single disc Sony that still works like a pro, the second player was a 5 disc changer we bought in 2000. We gave the first one to Goodwill, fully operational, and the other five disc now sits in our bedroom set-up. I couldn't ignore the reliablity that we've had with the name.

    Quality wise, I can't say that I have any complaints whatsoever. As a previous person mentioned, I feel that this is one of the closest players that produces a very film-like presentation that reminds me very closely of a theatrical broadcast minus all the dirt and dust on the print. I've been extremely impressed with this area of the player, and since it's by far the most important aspect, I'm definately willing to accept the annoyances to reap this benefit.
     

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