Not impressed so far with video quality from Panasonic RP91 DVD player...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by PaulKH, Nov 28, 2001.

  1. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

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    It arrived today... did some back to back tests of the RP91 against a Toshiba 4700 and in my opinion, besides the fact that the 4700 has the red chroma bug and the RP91 doesn't, I think the 4700 has a better picture. Basically I think the RP91 has a 'noisy' picture. Lots of tweakable settings, sure, but they all just distort the image.

    (Background: I'm testing progressive component output of both players connected to a Pioneer Elite 510HD 53" 16:9 rear projection TV.)

    One thing I also discovered is that the 'MPEG DNR (digital noise reduction)' button is WORTHLESS, introducing even more noise into the image.

    Also, why can't Panasonic introduce a DVD player that allows selectable interlace/progressive from the REMOTE!?

    Also, can't explain it, but the (5.1 DD) optical digital audio out sounds worse than the coax out, both of which sound worse to me than the 4700's coax out. I was careful to use the EXACT same volume level (didn't touch it) across tests.

    (Test materials used: 2001, Fifth Element, Toy Story 2, Corrs at Royal Albert Hall, The Matrix.)
     
  2. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    Paul, thanks for posting your comments. I've been "on the fence" over purchasing an RP-91 for about 2 months now, and I do like to hear both positive and negative comments. Were you able to realize a better picture through more extensive tweaking of the many settings?

    Have others felt that the RP-91 delivered a picture and sound quality that are substandard to their prior DVD player?
     
  3. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    The RP-91 going to an Elite x10 is a natural combination due to the lock on full issue.

    I would suggest to double check your connections then start with a disgusting non-anamorphic transfer such as True Lies. On my 610, the artifacts or jaggies are smoothed out to the point where the picture is dam near watchable. Other non-anamorphic movies such as Top Gun and Hunt for Red October are cleaned up sooo much you should start to yawn when you hear a new transfer of blank-blank will be released next week.

    A great movie like The Pledge should be incredible. Is your 510 calibrated? Do you know what HD looks like on this set? If you do and the 91' can't knock your socks off with something like The Pledge, then you might have a bad 91.
     
  4. Gary Thomas

    Gary Thomas Second Unit

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    Paul...Wow! I'm surprised to hear your review! My experience was totally different. Now i'm using a much smaller tv set, a 36" HD Toshiba, but it has been ISF Calibrated.

    In the past I've had a half dozen dvd players, including a Toshiba 5109 progressive. I also used a DVDO Iscan for a few months. I used AR component cables. I also had a Dishnetwork HD6000 receiver for a few months.

    Most recently, for ease of use, I've been using a Pioneer switched through my receiver via S-Video. I didn't use the component input with the Pioneer because the color / tint settings were so different from the S-Input. It was a pain to readjust the color settings every time I changed inputs. (you had to select either S or Comp. w/ the Pioneer)

    With the Panasonic I hooked up both the S-Video (so my family can watch all sources on the same input) as well as component video cables. (I got a great deal on Liberty cables from another forum member) The color / tint settings were adjusted using VE through the S-Video, then adjusted for the progressive component input using the Panasonic "U" features.

    The images I'm getting through the prog. component input are simply the best I've seen on my tv, with the exception of some HD material. The colors are so vivid I had to re-check my color / tint settings! The amount of detail is fantastic. I've always used the same few scenes on the VE disc for comparison: the pan of the baseball stadium seats: no shimmer, chrystal clear. Also, the color of the lunchboxes held by the Amish kids, the detail on the theater doors as the open to the ballet dancer. The A-B comparison of the S input and the Component input, using a still frame, is like night and day. I'm also convined that the excellent Liberty component cables play a role here.

    I haven't really noticed any diffence in DVD-Video sound quality...but I didn't really test for that either. However, I have purchased 2 DVD-A discs: Barenaked Ladies and Paul Simon. I'm now sold on DVD-A. In my mind it's really an added bonus as I'd pay $450 for the Panasonic even if it didn't do DVD-A. The diffence in quality between DVD-A and DTS or DD is huge...the improvement over CD's is twice that!

    Paul...we definately need to get together to compare notes.
     
  5. Derrick G

    Derrick G Stunt Coordinator

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    There was a thread a while back that had a link to a comparison test of several DVD players. I can't remember who did the test but they said the RP91 uses an older chip set. The RP56 actually uses a higher quality chip set. A search would probably turn up that thread or someone may remember it.

    Derrick G.
     
  6. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I think the DVD shootout put together by Munsil et al mentioned the RP56 using a different de-interlacer chip. Do a search for munsil and maybe it'll show up.
     
  7. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    Paul and Gary,

    I'll be hooking up my RP91 this weekend, so I'll be sure to let you know what I think. However, right off the bat, my results will be different as I'll be using interlaced output going to a non-HDTV 32" Toshiba. Also, I've been using a few years old Toshiba SD1600 player. I'm very used to that player so I'm sure that going from the Toshiba to the Panny will be like night and day. I guess we'll see come tomorrow night!

    Regards,

    Ron
     
  8. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I upgraded from Toshiba's previous generation progressive scan player (6200) to the RP-91. In my case, I think the picture quality of the RP-91 is slightly better than the Toshiba for anamorphic material -- this is being viewed on an ISF-calibrated Toshiba 56H80 display. The colors seem a little richer and the picture is crisper. For non-anamorphic widescreen material, though, the RP-91 wins the comparison easily due to its scaling feature.

    I do not know how the newer Toshiba 4700 compares to the older 6200 in picture quality, so take that into account for my observations.

    The only settings I changed on the RP-91 were setting the black level to darker, the interlacing to AUTO2 and the 4:3 aspect ratio control to AUTO. Only the first two of these settings will affect the picture quality of anamorphic material.
     
  9. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    When using the interlaced output with component out, should I set the black level to "darker"?
     
  10. Andrew P

    Andrew P Second Unit

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    Im stunned at these findings. I looked at the Toshiba 4700 and I was throughly disappointed. There has to be something wrong with the way you have the RP-91 hooked up or maybe the player is faulty, because the picture is beautiful.

    Andy
     
  11. Brian Treinen

    Brian Treinen Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the 4700 is leaps and bounds above the 6200. Last year at this same time I subjected my wife to a battery of viewing tests because I wanted a progressive player in the worst way for my TN50X81. I bought the 6200 and brought it home. All weekend we A/B'd our then current Proscan DVD player and the 6200. I tried SO HARD to see a difference but in the end saw no difference, or, at least not enough to justify the $400. So this year, much to her chagrin, I bring home the 4700. Immediately we both knew this one was staying in the system! The 4700 looked better in every way. Colors were phenomenal, skin tones, clarity, detail. WOW. If you were turned off Toshiba by the 5109 or the 6200 I suggest giving them another try.

    Paul, I appreciate the review, I was so torn between the RP91, JVC75 and the 4700, but once I saw the picture from the 4700 I didn't even bother with the others. This helps, again, validate that choice. Thanks!
     
  12. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    I'm dumbfounded (or maybe just plain dumb)about your findings on the RP91? Although I have never seen any images from the 4700, I have trouble imagining a better image what I get from my RP91. Maybe you have a bad unit. Other thoughts include:

    Are you using the same video interconnects and TV inputs with each unit?

    Just activate the progressive button on the front of the RP91 and leave it? Why do you want to turn it off?

    Other than change the interlacing to Auto2, I left everything as default.

    The coax digital audio discrepencies sound really odd to me. We're talking about pushing 1s and 0s here. Unless there is something wrong with your RP91, there should be NO difference if all settings are identical and volume is set using a RS meter.

    Otherwise, you got me stumped?
     
  13. Jaehoon Heo

    Jaehoon Heo Stunt Coordinator

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    Digital connection can make difference even though all digital data are transmitted bitwise exactly. Jitter is the one that makes real difference even in digital world. Jitter is the deviation of digital clock or called phase noise, and you can imagine what would happen if DAC's are fed with jittering clock.

    Normally, optical links has lower bandwidth(mainly TOS link) and due to much more complex modes of oscillation in the optical fiber, and inferior charcteristics of optical/electrical transducer, optical link induces more jitter than coaxial. Even ST-link has some of this problem, I think. So best connection is balanced electrical(AES/EBU) and second best would be coaxial(hopefully with BNC terminal terminated exactly at 75ohm).

    Even coaxial connections can be different from the others. The quality of audio clock that drives the digital audio transmitter will mainly define the digital audio transmission performance, and that depends on power supply, board layout, the crystal oscillator and so forth.
     
  14. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Jitter. Here we go again...

    What does jitter sound like and how will I know if the jitterbug hits during movie playback?
     
  15. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Do not dismiss out of hand the jitter (master clock error) discussions. It's a real transport problem with some brands and models.

    Dan
     
  16. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Dan: I don't want to dismiss it. I just want to know if my system has it. I am currently running a 40 foot length of RG6QS from my RP91 to my pre/pro for use as a digital coax. It sounds great to me during movie playback. I don't have lip sync, studdered dialogue, anything muddled or any problems that I have noticed. All I am asking is what jitter sounds like, so I can recognize if my system has it?
     
  17. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    Jitter is not much of a prblem with Dolby Digital or DTS audio. Unlike PCM, these compressed formats use packetized data where timing and sync are functions of the decoder.
     
  18. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Obi: Oh great one, thank you for your information. I feel better now about my DVD situation.

    What about CD players? Should I be able to hear jitter coming from the analog outputs of my Sony C555es SACD player?

    Or, does jitter only become apparent when you are using a bad CD transport and sending the digital output through a digital cable to an outboard DAC?
     
  19. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    John:

    This is not really my area of experience, but my understanding of "jitter" as it applies to digital audio is that this is minute timing errors in the transmission of the data. Jitter can be induced by a number of factors, but I assume the most common are inadequate cabling (digital domain) and jitter introduced in the actual transport.

    Simply using an outboard DAC would not be a problem as long as one used a proper interconnect (meaning of proper impedence, shielding, and not otherwise damaged) and the outboard DAC does some sort of reclocking of the data.

    I'll relate a personal experience using a very good external DAC intended specifically for digital audio vs. feeding a digital audio bitstream to a receiver's digital input. Consider I am using the B&K AVR307, generally considered one of the 2 or 3 best receivers made. I was coerced into trying an outboard stereo DAC for my CD player instead of a direct digital input into the receiver. Bah, I said, there is no way using an external DAC with analog inputs into my receiver could sound better, or even as good, as a direct digital connection. I ate a large helping of crow pie on that one.

    I put the MSB LinkDAC into my system and popped in a favorite CD and the difference was immediately noticeable. So noticeable in fact, I went back to make sure everything was connected and configured correctly before. Sure enough, using a device that is specifically designed to convert PCM digital audio to high resolution analog audio (with the necessary digital timing correction and whatever other signal processing is required) made an enormous difference in the quality of my music reproduction.

    Was I suffering from "jitter" before? I dunno. I have heard the effects of jitter described as a loss of subtle detail and a slight smearing of the higher frequencies. If that is the case, then the DAC fixed it. It is in the area of fine detail that the DAC made the most improvement.

    And to try to get the thread back on track, I will also add that I found both Dolby Digital and DTS seem to sound better with the RP91 over any of my previous players. I know that is not supposed to happen, but like many Sony 7000 owners began reporting nearly a year ago with that player, I hear what I hear. One can't write it off to a psycological effect of having an expectaion met because I had no expectation of an improvement in digital audio performance.
     
  20. Myram

    Myram Second Unit

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    I just got my RP-91 on Monday and it is incredible. I have it hooked up with Monster Video 3 component cables, red push attenuator.....all going to a Mitsubishi 46809 HD RPTV. As soon as I hooked it up, calabrated with Avia, and popped in TPM I was amazed. The detail, colors, and clarity of the movie was just incredible. I had used my JVC interlaced DVD with this TV for a week until I sold it and the picture was OK, then I used my PS2 for another week until the RP-91 came in and the picture was about the same as the JVC.

    The only settings I changed on the RP-91 was auto-2, and 4:3 to auto.....everything in the U menu is set to 0.

    I can see why the RP-91 is regarded as the best DVD player on the market right now......and I haven't even tried out the audio and DVD audio part of it.

    Sounds to me like there is something wrong with your unit, cables, or maybe even settings. Check this all out, and if worse comes to worse.....send the unit back for a replacement.
     

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