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Panasonic DVD-RP91 progressive scan (Champagne)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KennyWayne, Oct 13, 2001.

  1. KennyWayne

    KennyWayne Extra

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    Here is the review CNET posted today on the RP91
    CNET Review
    By Kevin Miller
    (10/10/01)
    Not long ago, a good progressive-scan DVD player cost at least $1,000. But as with any maturing technology, prices came down, and you can now pick up a primo progressive-scan player such as Panasonic's DVD-RP91 for significantly less. It's still not cheap, but the DVD-RP91 delivers terrific audio and video performance at a relatively reasonable price, and it supports multichannel DVD-Audio to boot.
    Video workhorse
    Looks-wise, the RP91 is pretty standard fare (it comes in a champagne or black finish), but that's the only humdrum thing about it. For starters, it comes loaded with connectivity options. On the video side, there's one set of outputs for component video, one for S-Video, and two for composite video. It's equally well connected from an audio standpoint, but we'll get to that later.
    Because this player's so flexible, we felt obligated to try it out on a couple of different display types. The big test for progressive-scan players is whether they can outperform a TV's internal line-doubler. What does that mean exactly? Well, if you were to hook up a standard (interlaced) player to a high-end TV such as Toshiba's CW34X92 34-inch, direct-view HDTV, the set's internal line-doubler would kick in and sharpen the picture. On the other hand, when you hook up a progressive-scan player to the same set, it overrides the line-doubler. Some progressive-scan players do a better job than the line-doubler; some don't.
    Needless to say, the DVD-RP91 handily outperformed the Toshiba's line-doubler, delivering a much sharper image with virtually no artifacts. The colors in Shakespeare in Love, for example, appeared extremely rich and saturated.
    How does the Panasonic perform on standard 4:3 analog TVs? Well, when you play an anamorphic (often referred to on the box as Enhanced for Widescreen TVs) DVD, the player does create some artifacts, due to this player's anamorphic down-conversion process. Therefore, it's not a good match for lower-end, standard 4:3 analog sets. However, the RP91 works great with 16:9 wide-screen, HDTV-capable TVs, as well as 4:3 HDTV-capable TVs with anamorphic aspect-ratio capability, such as Sony's WEGA direct-view sets with the "enhanced for 16:9" feature.
    As far as the remote goes, we had no major complaints: The buttons are well laid out, and the most often-used ones are illuminated in the dark. However, we took issue with the player's interface, particularly when it came to accessing the setup menu. It's not all that intuitive, so expect some frustrating moments when you're configuring the player for your TV.
    Big audio dynamite
    While we've extolled the player's video strengths, its audio prowess shouldn't be overlooked. The standard connectivity options are here, including optical and coaxial digital-audio outputs (one of each) for Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. But as noted, the big news is that the RP91 has full 5.1-channel DVD-Audio support, which means you can play DVD-A discs.
    Listening to a DVD-A of the Doors' "Riders on the Storm" through a midline Yamaha receiver/Paradigm speaker system, we were impressed by how startlingly realistic and enveloping the performance sounded. With thunderclaps emanating from the rear-channel speakers and Jim Morrison singing through the front, it sounded as if he were standing center stage, right in front of us.
    In the final analysis, Panasonic's DVD-RP91 is a state-of-the-art, reference-level unit. Its $699 list price also makes it one of the better values in the progressive-scan class, though Panasonic's step-down progressive-scan model, the DVD-RP56D-N, which lacks DVD-Audio support, also delivers a lot of bang for the buck and should appeal to those on a tight budget. Still, we highly recommend the RP91, particularly to those with high-end TVs.
    What are your opinions on this review. I am about to order one of these
     
  2. Tom Morgan

    Tom Morgan Stunt Coordinator

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    I like my RP91. I use it with a 16:9 HDTV ready 65" TV. It works really well. I have never had a DVD not play. I only have about 150 DVD's but I rent a bunch and never had a problem. The review sounded right to me except I think the remote joystick type button sucks. That might be my personal preference though. The other thing that still gets me is the layer change ( it is noticeable on most DVD's ). Why can DVD player makers make players that do not show the layer change? That is all the bad stuff I can come up with. I really do like it and am glad I bought it.
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    [​IMG]
    Tom&Amy's DVD's
     
  3. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    Excellent features and player overall, but:
    1) The remote and on-screen menu's ergonomics could be improved. Not intuitive to me, but it does its job.
    2) The de-interlacing quality is mediocre. While progressive scan does outperform that Toshiba's line doubler (obviously), the player combs a fair bit on some material. BTW, I own that same Toshiba 34" TV, but the new model includes 3:2 pulldown, so I dunno if the CNet review is actually appropriate now. Ie. They didn't compare the progressive scan to the current model Toshiba TV which has more than just the simple line doubler for interlaced sources.
    3) MP3 support is pretty limited.
    One thing of note is that it is one of the few players in existence that plays DVD-RAM, and DVD-RAM camcorders have just entered the market.
    I got my RP91 for just a shade over US$450 (in Toronto, not including taxes). However, if you're ever in China, they have a multi-region RP91, named the RA671 there. I know it's multi-region, because I can play Region 1 discs on that so-called Region 6 machine. As far as I can tell from the specs, it's exactly the same as the RP91 minus the DVD-RAM. The price is similar. (This thing will play both PAL and NTSC discs although it doesn't convert PAL-->NTSC.)
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    Eugene Hsieh, VisorCentral FAQ Editor
    1000 km on a tank of gas??? Check out the Prius and drive the future now!
    Check out my switched Dual Boot DVD Player Hack .
    [Edited last by Eugene Hsieh on October 14, 2001 at 01:47 AM]
     
  4. Elliott Willschick

    Elliott Willschick Second Unit

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    Would you mind telling me where you got your RP91? I also live in Toronto.
    Thanks
     
  5. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    You've got mail.
     

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