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Panasonic RP-91: My Review & A Few Observations/Questions (1 Viewer)

Scott-C

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Jul 23, 2001
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863
Recently, I sold via ebay my Pioneer DV-37 so I could purchase a Panasonic RP-91. I've had one on backorder from J&R from 12/30/2001 and it just arrived last Wednesday, 1/16/2002. I didn't mind the wait much because I was able to get it for a very good price (and I had my venerable Sony DVP-S7000 doing backup duty while I waited).

I hooked it up on Wednesday night, played a bunch of sample scenes from some DVDs, and have now watched a couple of movies on it. Here are some brief observations:

Video quality is very, very good on this player. The picture is very film-like, with rich, lush colors (signal is being sent via component video cable directly to a Mits WS-65907 65" widescreen RPTV). One major difference I noticed right away is that the picture is not as sharp (out of the box) as my DV-37, but I don't know that that's a bad thing as I think it contributes to the film-like quality of the player.

I also noticed immediately that there seems to be more "grain" (or you could call it video noise I guess for lack of a better term) in the picture with the RP-91, which I can eliminate by pushing the "MPEG DNR" button on the front panel of the unit. I'm wondering if others have noticed this when they've gone from a DV-37 to an RP-91.

One of the reasons I purchased this unit was due to its scaling capabilities. I have some non-anamorphic titles in my DVD collection and was anxious to see what this unit could do for them. I was not disappointed. From what I've seen so far, the unit does a remarkable job of scaling non-anamorphic material. While not turning these DVDs into anamorphic, it certainly takes the picture quality of them up a considerable notch. The difference was not subtle for me; it was very obvious immediately.

I should also add that my observations of this player are being done with minimal "tweaking" of the unit. I plugged it in, connected the video and audio cables, pushed the "Progressive" button on the front panel, adjusted the TV Type setting to 16x9, and changed the User setting to User 2. I haven't done anything with all of the other picture quality settings yet (i.e. sharpness, etc.). To be honest, I haven't fully figured out how all of these settings work together yet!

The unit has the reputation of "appearing" not as durable as some other brands of DVD players, and while I suppose I agree with this, I have to say it appears more sturdy than I thought it would. Also, I like its appearance in general (I bought the black version).

I have read the "Panasonic RP-91 FAQ" posted in another thread on this forum, and also actually read almost all of the owner's manual. Prior to reading the manual I felt that the menu options on this player were far more confusing to navigate than my previous player. Now that I've read the manual I feel much more comfortable navigating through the options on this player (and there are a lot of them!). I'd recommend a good review of the manual to anyone who is considering one of these players. The menus are graphically based with lots of icons but few verbal on-screen descriptions to accompany them. It's taking me a little time to adjust to so many icons and to recall what each of them does.

Speaking of the manual, I'd classify it as "garden variety" for HT components in that it does an adequate job of explaining how to access and activate most of the features of the unit, but fails miserably (like most manuals) in explaining what the feature is supposed to do (conceptually). This is nothing new to me as most manuals seem this way.

Some questions for RP-91 owners: first, my "MPEG DNR" button does not appear to stay active from one DVD to another if I power off the unit in between uses. Am I doing something wrong or is this just a characteristic of the player?

I've read in the FAQ that "User 2" is a good setting to use for this player. I've gone to the "Display" menu and selected this option, and I assume as long as it's visible when I cycle through the display options, it's selected. Is this true? I am by no means fully proficient with this unit yet, so bear with me if that's a stupid or obvious question. What I'm trying to say here is I want to make sure I'm "selecting" the option and not just cycling through it.

I've noticed when I power down the unit, then power it up and insert a new DVD that the "User 2" option is no longer selected in the display options. Shouldn't it stay active as long as I didn't change it prior to powering down the unit?

Well, just wanted to post my thoughts and I hope this was helpful.
 

Michael D. Bunting

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MPEG DNR

I always thought (maybe I wrong though) it was best to leave MPEG DNR in the "OFF" position? I swore I read this somewhere - back when I was doing research on the RP-91, before finally purchasing it a few months ago.

Did I just open another "bag of worms"?

Thoughts?
 

Scott Merryfield

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There is actually no "User 2" picture setting. There are four submenus under the "U" (for user) picture setting. They are all part of the "U" setting. If you go to the U4 submenu, you will find an aspect ratio control -- set this to AUTO for all discs except improperly flagged non-anamorphic widescreen discs. You will need to manually change the setting to ZOOM for those discs. Also in the U4 menu is a deinterlacing setting -- AUTO2 seems to work best for both film and video based material.
FYI, if your player is not setup in progressive mode, there will only be a U1 and U2 menu. U3 and U4 are only available when the player is in progressive mode. This tripped me up after I upgraded the firmware on my player -- I couldn't find the U4 menu to set the deinterlacing and aspect control. I forgot the player was returned to its defualt settings after the upgrade, including being in interlaced mode.
 

Scott-C

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There is actually no "User 2" picture setting.
Yep, you're right. I was referring to the "Auto2" setting in the U4 menu. What's troubling me is that it does not stay "active" from DVD to DVD. I have to go in and manually select it each time I put in a DVD. What am I doing wrong?

I don't see a way to "select" (via a hard button or on-screen option) any of the options in the U4 menu, so I assume that making them visible in the menu structure with the navigation buttons is how you select it. Now I just need to understand how to keep it selected.
 

Scott-C

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I always thought (maybe I wrong though) it was best to leave MPEG DNR in the "OFF" position? I swore I read this somewhere - back when I was doing research on the RP-91
Michael, you may be very right about this. I honestly don't recall reading anything about it so I'm not sure. To me, the picture seems pretty grainy/noisy with the button unselected, however. Are there other options that dispose of this grain in a more acceptable way? Or, maybe someone can help me understand what is happening when I select the MPEG DNR option that is not good for picture quality. Thanks!
 

Scott Merryfield

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Yep, you're right. I was referring to the "Auto2" setting in the U4 menu. What's troubling me is that it does not stay "active" from DVD to DVD. I have to go in and manually select it each time I put in a DVD. What am I doing wrong?
I'm not sure. My settings -- AUTO2 for deinterlacing and AUTO for aspect control -- are retained for all DVD's. I only need to change the aspect control when I play an improperly flagged non-anamorphic title.
 

c aronson

Auditioning
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Dec 29, 1998
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Scott, I also switched from the Pioneer 37 to the Panasonic 91 based on the picture quality. However, I disagree with you in regard to the sharpness of the image. I feel the Panasonic is sharper than the Pioneer which is why I believe there is slightly more noise seen with the Panasonic. I also leave the front panel DNR on at all times. It will stay on when I power up each time. The DNR is very effective in eliminating the noise or grain as you put it. Istill have the Pioneer and when I compare the two pictures I always prefer the Panasonic image. I think the vibrancy and depth of the colors is why the Panasonic picture is so fantastic along with the fantastic clarity. I have owned several DVD players and so far the Panasonic is the best. I also have a Pioneer RPTV 700 which locks into full with progressive signals so the Panasonic 91 is great for correcting the proper aspect of the picture.
 

Scott-C

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Istill have the Pioneer and when I compare the two pictures I always prefer the Panasonic image. I think the vibrancy and depth of the colors is why the Panasonic picture is so fantastic along with the fantastic clarity. I have owned several DVD players and so far the Panasonic is the best.
I completely agree; I prefer the Panny image too, and it's definitely a different image than the DV-37. The colors are very rich and deep! I've decided I need to rewatch my entire DVD collection.
I'd still like to hear more opinions on the "MPEG DNR" button's virtues/drawbacks...anyone?
 

Randy_M

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Hey guys,

I'm considering this unit, but have a question.

I've always enjoyed a feature on my Sony DVD players that allow you to Bookmark your place into the players memory for up to 200 DVD's and it remembers when you re-insert the disc. Does the RP91 have anything like this?

If you power it off but don't remove the disc, will it resume where it left off?

Thanks.
 

Scott Merryfield

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I do not believe there is a bookmark feature (if there is, I've never used it), but you can resume playing a disc where you left off as long as you do not open the disc tray. You can even power down the player and still resume playback (ala your Sony player).
 

Scott-C

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There is a "Marker" feature in the RP-91 that allows you to "bookmark" up to 5 places within a DVD, but I'm not sure if it retains the markers after you take the DVD out of the player. I'll try this tonight and post the results here unless someone else beats me to the punch.
 

Scott-C

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OK, I just tried the "Marker" feature of the RP-91. It allows you to "bookmark" up to 5 specific locations within a DVD; however, the bookmarks are only effective with the DVD in the player. The minute the DVD is ejected, the markers are cleared.

I also discovered something else interesting - there appears to be no elapsed time readout for an individual chapter of a DVD. The time in the display menu is the elapsed time of the entire movie, not the chapter.
 

Jason Cole

Grip
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Sep 1, 2001
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It also doesn't have the time remaining feature. I almost didn't pick up this player because of that ! How hard is it to add a time remaining counter ? Is this something they can fix with the next firmware update ?
 

John Lloyd

Second Unit
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Feb 1, 1999
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253
Can someone explain how to turn off the LCD display? Or is it not possible to do this? The documentation makes me think that this feature is available but I have to cover the display with paper to block out the display.
 

Gary.H

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Mar 26, 2001
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I am currently using a rca dvd player and have not purchased an hdtv. Until I do purchase an rptv would I gain anything from buying an rp91? I may be upgrading the tv next year but for now would this make any sense? Thanks.
 

Scott Merryfield

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I am currently using a rca dvd player and have not purchased an hdtv. Until I do purchase an rptv would I gain anything from buying an rp91? I may be upgrading the tv next year but for now would this make any sense? Thanks.
If you do not have a HD-ready TV, you will not be able to use the progressive scan output of the RP-91. If you are still a year away from buying a HDTV, I would hold off on buying a progressive scan player. The new models are continually improving. Of course, if you need to buy a player for some other reason, getting one that provides progressive scan output would not be a bad idea, since you plan on upgrading the TV eventually.
 

greg_t

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Gary H,

I was using an RCA dvd player before I bought my rp91 a month ago. I also do not have an hdtv yet. Even in interlaced mode, the rp91 is far above the rca player. Images are sharper and more defined. As was mentioned in one of the posts above, the rp91 has a more filmlike quality to it. I was amazed at the difference the rp91 made in interlaced mode and can't wait to see it in progressive mode.
 

Scott-C

Supporting Actor
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Jul 23, 2001
Messages
863
I've now watched a movie every night this week and I'm just really impressed with this DVD player. Even older movies (i.e. I'm having a BondFest right now - Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, etc.) look great on this player and the colors are incredible. I watched Tron the other night and was pretty impressed; the gridlines in the lightcycle scenes are rock-solid and dead-on.
 

jason celaya

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Jul 1, 2001
Messages
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Scott, be sure to set up your display as "direct view" even though you are using a RPTV. Version 236 of the player may be fixed however all other firmware versions need to be in direct to get the best picture.....Agood way to check is if "N" setting is the same as "u" setting w/all values at 0. With the rp-91 I have yet to see the players equal up to 2000.00
 

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