Panasonic DVD-F85/87? Video quality? Chroma Bug? ..using interlaced output.

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Chris PC, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I'm thinking of using the interlaced output from the Panasonic DVD-F87 (or an older F-85) as a replacement for my Panasonic CV51. I have an iScan Ultra for my line doubling so no need for progressive.

    What is the video performance of the DVD-F85/87 like? How is the all-in-one chip? MPEG decoding? Does it have good video frequency response? Chroma Bug ? (not a problem because the iScan Ultra filters that bug, but still curious). Any other comments about this DVD player? It has lots of handy features vs my older CV51.

    thanx for any info

    Also, has anyone noticed that the Panny DVD-F87 may have Dolby Pro Logic II decoding? Thats handy for me right now. I say "May Have" because I only saw it listed on the Panasonic website. Until I see a unit in person or hear from someone, I won't believe it. It would be nice to spice up older non-DD or non-DTS DVD's as I've got a receiver which has no DPL II for now.
     
  2. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Anybody?
     
  3. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    The F85 has very clean video output and very flat luma response, but a bit of the chroma bug (it's not nearly as bad as some players I've seen, but it's there). I've been using one for about a year now and have no issues with it.

    Haven't seen the F87 yet, so can't comment on that.
     
  4. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I've done some reading and its confusing. Is the Chroma bug only a de-interlacing problem, or is it an MPEG bug or both? Ok it looks like the Interlaced Chroma Problem (ICP) only talking about interlaced video material (as opposed to film flagged DVD's) and not the interlaced output of a player, right? Just reading the Secrets web page and its confusing.

    Ok. I guess its not a major deal, because if I used the player, I'd probably not have problems either way, as the two options I'm looking at for a setup will likely fix the chroma bug. Either my line doubler or projector will fix the bug so the output is clean.

    I wasn't aware that the 85 had the chroma bug at all. Where did you see that? Did you witness it or was there a review or test somewhere?
     
  5. Jay Blair

    Jay Blair Second Unit

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    With the iScan Ultra you do not have to worry about the chroma bug. It does an excellant job of eliminating it, or at the very least masking it (you can turn it on or off in the Ultra menu). I used the Ultra for a long time with my Pioneer Elite DV-37 which is known for having a bad case of the bug but the Ultra completely cured it.

    I've also heard that the 85 has the bug.
     
  6. pitchman

    pitchman Screenwriter

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    Chris, one somewhat peculiar change between the DVD-F87 and the DVD-F85 (besides the lower retail price) is that the new DVD-F87 comes with a solitary coaxial digital output for audio (no optical digital.) I know that theoretically this should not make a difference, but for some reason, I much prefer an optical digital connection. I saw a display unit at a local retailer and was also a bit underwhelmed by the player's pedestrian (especially compared to the sleek styling of the DVD-F85) physical appearance. It does not come across as a "step-up" from last year's model, rather, it looks more like a cost reduced cousin. Which, in the end, it is. So, perhaps that is the point.

    I had a DVD-F85 for a while last year and thought the interlaced picture was outstanding. Sharp, bright and colorful! Unfortunately, I went through 2 units in about a six-week period after both exhibited laser-pickup related problems. I traded up for a Sony that runs reliably, but if I'm being completely honest here, does not put out nearly as nice a picture as the Panny. In fact, I was all set to pick up a DVD-F87 solely for DVD playback and dedicate the Sony to CD/SACD playback (it is great at it) until I saw the single coaxial output. If I hold out I can probably pick up a DVD-F85 for less than $100 at closeout, but I'm a little gun-shy about buying this same model for a third time.

    Gary
     
  7. Dale Adams

    Dale Adams Extra

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    The chroma bug (CUE) is caused by a design defect in the MPEG decoder. The deinterlacer has absolutely nothing to do with it, outside of makng the original problem more visible since interlaced video tends to hide CUE artfacts somewhat.

    Both CUE (when present) and ICP (which is always there) can be found on both interlaced and progressive outputs. It's a lot more visible on a progressively scanned image, however, as the interlacing processs can mask the artifacts. Both can be filtered out, with a minor loss of image quality.

    - Dale Adams
     
  8. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Thanx for the info folks. Well, I'll have to make a decision here. I don't have a problem with the coaxial digital output, though I admit, I also prefer optical. I know at least one owner of the F85 who has had the player for a while without problems. I am sure I can get an extended warranty for not too much money. Shame on Panasonic for cutting costs. I'll take a look at the F87 and see how it is. How will I know if the design is the same or not? Chips, construction. How did you tell that the F87 was a cost cut? What made you feel that way?
     
  9. pitchman

    pitchman Screenwriter

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    I did not mean to imply anything negative here, Chris. Rather, my assessment is based soley on the MSRP of the 2 models. The list price of the F85 is $149 and the the F87 lists for $129. The models are functionally identical. Last year was the first model year for this style of carousel changer (with built-in DVD-A playback, etc.) It looks as though Panasonic has further refined the design and can now offer it at a lower MSRP. Aside from the digital audio connection and physical appearance of the unit, I'd say these players are the same. Either way, You're getting a great player from a video performance standpoint. I just think the F85 is physically more attractive. The F87 looks pretty generic by comparison. YMMV...

    Gary
     
  10. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I honestly don't care what products look like too much. Its not a big concern. As long as the colour matches, and slimmer, smaller stuff is generally prefered, but looks aren't big on my list. Performance and reliability are the big ones on my list. Johnny are you getting the F87's some time soon?
     
  11. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    Panasonic Canada only had silver F87's, but they just got the black model in too.

    Honestly, I have no plans to stock 'common' DVD players anymore. At today's price points, there's just no money in it! It's just like my decision not to carry VCRs 4 years ago.

    I might stock the F97, depending on whether the likes of Future Shop decide to carry it or not.
     
  12. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Right. Well, I'll browse your website out of curiosity to see what 'un-common' dvd players you do carry [​IMG]
     
  13. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Only thing I could tell different about the specs of the 85 vs the 87 was the laser pickup. The 85 owners manual shows 658nm/790nm while the 87 lists 662nm/785nm. Does that mean the wavelength of the 87 is a few nm limited vs the 85?
     
  14. Jay Blair

    Jay Blair Second Unit

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    I saw the F87, both a silver model and a black model, at Fry's Electronics in Woodland Hills CA earlier tonight. It definitely is showing a Prologic II logo. That's a nice bonus if your receiver doesn't have it. I really enjoy it with my receiver.

    They also had a F85 and a F65 on display. I didn't find the looks of the F87 to be inferior to either of the other models. It's basic looking, but still attractive. The remotes looked cheap. Both the F85 and F65 listed for $119.99, vs $129.99 for the F87.
     
  15. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    One clarification: progessive scan (on any manufacturer's player) and line doubling definitely aren't the same thing.

    Anyhoo.........

    I finally saw a F87 at Circuit City this past Monday and as far as operating features go, it is not the same player as an F85:

    1) It's fluorescent info display is MUCH larger (yes!!)--the main readout digits must be at least half an inch high. So they are readable from across almost any room. The F85's are ridiculously tiny & almost useless unless you're standing right next to the player.

    2) A dedicated number pad for CD track selection.

    3) A lighted "CD MODE" button, but I didn't get to play with it so I didn't find out what it's purpose was.

    4) The F87 has anHDCD decoder, very hard to find at this price point. Many regular CDs use this special format but don't always indicate it on the label.

    5) The already-mentioned DPLII, a nice feature for us surround music fans that don't own receivers with this format.

    6) The player is a teensy bit taller than the F85 (they were placed next to each other on the shelf).

    7) (For the visually-minded out there [​IMG] ) Styling is quite different. More interesting to look at but does lack some of the F85's sleekness. Saw a picture of a black F87 at J&R Music World and IMO it looks better than the silver version.

    8) Overall control button placement is much better and most buttons are larger & so in turn easier to push.

    And the F87's remote looked fine to me.

    I really don't like the F87's omission of an optical output and I think this will cause many people to get an unpleasant surprize when they try to connect it to an older receiver without coaxial inputs (of which there are many, including my own three year old Technics SA-DA8). Sure, you can use the player's internal DD/DTS decoder via its 5.1 outputs, but again not every receiver has those either. What were Panasonic's product planners thinking??

    LJ
     
  16. matt-f

    matt-f Second Unit

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    Speaking of F97, I assume it will be the same as the S97 except that will be the changer version to be correct?
     
  17. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Again, I agree, I'm partial to toslink too, but as long as it works, I'm fine with it. I know I have at least one or two coax cables out of a few small high end ones that I will check. A regular RCA will "work" but not likely reliably or very well. How do I recognize the one for digital? 75 ohm or something like that? I got them with a laserdisc player and its been a while.

    I may just go ahead and try this player out. I'm mainly curious about the players reliability etc.

    I do wonder if there will be other "better" players coming from Panasonic, such as, for instance, a changer with aspect ratio and zoom control, faroudja and 720p output via DVI. Would that be an F97? If not, then I'll stick with trying the F87 with the iScan Ultra for now and if I upgrade my PJ I'll let it scale.

    Anyone else with feedback on the F85 or F87?
     
  18. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I prefer coax to optical, so that "feature" does not bother me in the least. You can get by for coaxial digital by using a video cable, as it does need to be a 75 Ohm cable.

    I'm looking for a 5 disc player for a friend, and I was considering the F85, but will now have to check out the F87. Maybe the F85 will go on sale soon...
     
  19. Clayton Jr

    Clayton Jr Extra

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    -- xposted to AVS --

    I bought an F-85 at xmas time to replace an A-120. I purchased it based on my happy experience with the A-120 and because I expected to purchase an HDTV shortly thereafter. I wanted a progressive scan player, but evidently didn't do enough homework. I knew nothing about Faroudja chipsets, etc until recently.

    I purchased the HDTV last month -- around the same time the F-85 started having problems. I've taken the thing back for service three times already, and it's still not fixed. For a unit that I paid $120 for, you'd think Panasonic would just replace the item. Instead, they are insisting that the service center replace things a piece at a time. Then I have to take the unit home, test it, confirm that it's still broken, and take it back again. Very frustrating.

    Symptoms consist of a stuttering image that begins after the unit has been playing for 15 minutes or so. Could be a spindle motor or decoder problem. They haven't sorted it out yet.

    From what I could tell upon first hooking it up (I was unable to calibrate anything using HTE as yet), the playback from the F-85 seemed substantially darker than that of the nice, clean A-120. This may be compensated for using the on-board gamma correction and so forth, but I haven't had the unit in my hands long enough to experiment.

    In any case, I wouldn't recommend it based on my experience.
     
  20. pitchman

    pitchman Screenwriter

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    As mentioned in my previous post, I did not in any way mean to "bad mouth" the DVD-F87. In general, I am a big fan of Panasonic products. I was just pointing out what I thought was a somewhat strange change from model to model. I spent NO time with the new unit. I saw a floor model that was neither turned on or connected to a display device. I am glad that Panasonic has fixed the fluorescent info display (as LanceJ points out) since I agree that the F85's display was not very good.


    For what it's worth. That is the same problem I had... and with two separate players. I could take the same disc and pop it into my ancient Panny A310, and it would play without a hitch (although it didn't look nearly as nice as the playback from the F85... when it would play it.)

    Gary
     

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