Please Help Me Chose a Region-Free DVD Player...

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by MarcoBiscotti, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Hello everyone,

    I am new to these forums and quite new to the technicalities od DVD hardware. Up until now, I have been watching discs on my Playstation 2 and suffering through the skips and jumps and have even had to neglect a handful of purchases to date as they will not even read on my PS2 however I have decided enough is enough.

    I am moving into a new apartment next month and when I do, I plan on purchasing a whole new set-up. Either a widescreen LCD or a Plasma monitor (that will be a new thread), speakers, subwoofers, the works...

    It's time to purchase a proper DVD player and considering the fact that I have many internationally-encoded DVD's from region 2, 4, etc... I have decided to go with a region-free player.

    My only conflict... I know nothing about them and would like sme insight into some of the better "top of the line" models.


    I came accross a similair thread months ago but given that technology advances every day, I figured I would start a new thread and I would very much appreciate any help that can be offered in regards to this.

    I have visited the following websites and come accross many variations of models which I would like some info on:

    * 220-electronics.com
    * codefree.com



    To begin, I would like to make very clear my intentions - QUALITY.

    I am looking to achieve the absolute best picture quality with my unit given what I am working with - a multi region code-free player.

    Now, the majority of discs I own are big budget studio releases however a very large percentage are animated features, short cartoon subjects, etc and I do own a couple of otherwise unavailable cartoon *cough* bootlegs *cough*. I plan on purchasing some concert and music releases in future however, authentic releases, not dubs or transfers.

    Now that you have a general concept of what I am working with, hopefully you can lend some advice...

    Of the following available brands and models, which would benefit me the best...

    MONEY IS NOT MY ISSUE. QUALITY IS THE ONLY FACTOR I AM WORKING WITH. QUALITY AND CONVENIENCE.

    Again, I am not up to par on the technicalities of any dvd hardware, I have read up a little however it just doesnt seem to be my strong-point, I absolutely ignorant when it comes to all this line interlacing schmasing stuff.

    I need soemthing I will be able to use or learn to use, however I want the absolute best product available and in the context of a single unit... I would really like to have a built-in converter or a chip which will allow me to play any and all regions on any system - NTSC / PAL...


    These are some players Ive come accross, feel free to post a name of one which you consider to meet my demands for quality or just post your own opinion of "the definitive player" which would meet my standards and why...



    JVC:

    XN40/XN44, XVS600/XVS602, XVN50/XVN55, XVFA900/XVFA902, S502SL, S602SL


    SONY:

    DVP-NS725


    TOSHIBA:

    2815


    OR


    Va. DAEWOO, CONIA, MALATA & AKAI models...


    There are also some generic international code-free players being advertised on the 2 sites listed above such as the D8500, etc.



    I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE ANY REPLIES THAT YOU PEOPLE COULD GIVE, YOU SEEM TO BE THE EXPERTS IN THIS FIELD AND THAT'S WHY I'M COMING TO YOU FOR ADVICE...

    WHAT IS THE ABSOLUTE BEST MODEL OR PLAYER I CAN GET FOR MY MONEY. THE MOST ADVANCED, THE NEWEST TECHNOLOGY, BEST PICTURE, ETC.

    AGAIN, I'D REALLY LIKE TO WORK WITH AN ALL-CODES STRICTLY AS I CANT AFFORD 2 PLAYERS RIGHT NOW AND I HAVE ABOUT 5 OR 6 DVD'S FROM VARIOUS REGIONS 2 & 4, ETC.


    PLEASE HELP!!!


    THANKS SO MUCH,

    Marco Biscotti.
     
  2. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Again, as dumb as this might sound I'd rather spend $1000 on a single unit (one single code-free palyer) than $300 on various regional players.

    My collection consist of about 350 dvd's and counting.

    40% widely commercial studio releases, %50 studio cartoon releases and the remaining 10% would be cartoon dubs and/or transfers such as classic cartoon shorts, 80's television series, etc...

    The majority of my discs are region 1 format which is fine, I plan on eventually inheriting a standard high quality regular dvd player for these discs from my parents who have recently purchased a player and never use it. However, it is the 5% of region 2, 4 and PAL encoded dvd's (such as my Wacky Races set, Count Duckula disc, upcoming R4 Gangs Of New York boxset, etc) that has driven me to purchase an all-codes.

    I now I am being extremely repetitive but I have nothing better to do right now and I am REALLY racking my brain concerning my option right now.

    Again your help would be so valued!
     
  3. BrianP

    BrianP Supporting Actor

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    Would you consider a Toshiba SD 3900? I just purchased one from Amazon for only $79 shipped. It is a region 1 player but it can be hacked by pushing a few buttons on the remote to play other region DVDs, including PAL discs. I have included a few links to threads discussing this player, and many thought it was better than many of the region free players that cost hundreds of dollars more.

    http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=312421

    http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=292253
     
  4. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Thanks so much Brian.

    I would honestly consider just about anything provided it can playback my PAL encoded discs on an NTSC set-up along with all other regions (2, 4, etc) with superior quality - not causing resolution problems in aspect ratio between PAL & NTSC etc.

    The only issue from the linked threads, is that it seems to be questionable in terms of playback for a selected few or limited number of discs. Another user had stated that it is inferior in quality to his JVC player.

    With this player would I have to enter a hack code every time I wanted to watch a non-region 1 title because if so, I'd prefer something more convenient and professional...

    In any case, would you say this unit provides an overall superior performance to the JVC all-codes which seem to be amongst the most credible from what I take?

    Other than this Toshiba, what would you consider to be amongst the highest standards of region-free players?

    The JVC XV-SA602??

    What pros does this unit hold over a player such as the JVC or one of similair context and similairly, what cons holds it back from such a unit?

    Sorry for delving so deep into this, I just want to make sure I get as much info as possible regarding this so that I can ultimately make the most sensible purchase as I am shooting for top-quality and convenience.

    Anyways, thanks again for te advice. If you or anyone else has a couple of minutes to get deeper into this discussion it would be really appreciated!

    I would really like to know which current DVD players are held amongst the highest standards on these forums in terms of all-codes or region free, etc...

    I'm just trying to get opinions from as many users as possible and try to determine what significant underlying factors make up these differences...


    Thanks again and please keep the responses coming!!!

    I'd like to purchase something within the next month so this is really important to me and again, I'm not up on the technicalities of the hardware which is why your advice is so important to me..
     
  5. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    PS - Can anyone explain the issue with the "zoom-out" functions on this player or players in general that is being discussed in the linked thread?

    Again, I have been working with my crappy PS2 and from time to time, my parents Toshiba which I havent bothered exploring so I am not educated on these player features?

    What is up with the "zoom-out" function and why is it different on this player as opposed to say the JVC or those other all-code interior converted units? Is such a feature vital?
     
  6. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Okay... sorry to blow this up with 3 posts in a row :b

    Somebody mentioned the Panasonic in the links... can anyone elaborate on it? How does it stand up to the JVC or Malata, etc? Out of all the internal-conversion code-free units (NTSC-PAL, no ar issues, eyc) - what are the top 5 I'm looking at and can we discuss the features?

    Also, please remember being a novice to all this, I am not going to be making all kinds of crazy mods like you guys do with the menus, etc. If I am stuck with bugs or glitches, I will be frustrated and out of luck. What's with the voice speed-ups etc... is that apparent on all code-free units sold online?

    Again, it's less price than quality. I'd rather spend the extra dough, even if it seems pointless, on something that would provide even a slightly better playback and all around features...
     
  7. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    UP.[​IMG]
     
  8. BrianP

    BrianP Supporting Actor

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  9. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Thanks a lot for your help.

    If anyone else wants to add anything, feel free...

    I will probably end up going with the JVC 602 but I'd still like input from other people with experience...

    Thanks again Brian, I appreciate all the help!
     
  10. Scott Barnhart

    Scott Barnhart Stunt Coordinator

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    Marco,

    The most important thing when getting a PALNTSC converting player that is region free, is "does it use the Mediamatics chip?" This chipset is currently the only one that correctly converts PAL to NTSC w/o distorting the aspect ratio of the image.

    Here is some more info on that chip, and why you want a player with one:

    http://www.geocities.com/regioncodefree/mediamatics/
     
  11. agendrano

    agendrano Extra

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    I just purchased a new DVD player, upgraded a 4 year old Philips (only plays Dolby Digital, no DTS). I got the Pioneer DV 655A (Asian Model), I believe it is called the DV 656A in Europe and the US. It is multi-system (PAL and NTSC), and I was able to hack it (using a Compaq Ipaq) to play multi-region, without setting anything everytime I play different regions. You might look at the specs of this player, a lot better than my old Philips, has progressive scan, plays SACD and DVD-Audio. Got good reviews for a universal player. Am very happy with it.

    During my search, I have shortlisted my choices to:

    PHILIPS-DVD Q50-DVD Player
    PIONEER-DV S655A-DVD Player (656A in some areas)
    PIONEER-DV S755Ai-DVD Player (757Ai in some areas)
    DENON-DVD A1-DVD Player

    Among these, check out the Denon and the Pioneer 755Ai/757Ai. If I had the money, I would have bought either of these.
     
  12. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Thanks a lot agendrano,

    Were there any downsides with the Philips at all?

    Everything works top notch and picture is smoothe, a.r. isnt distorted?

    Out of curiosity why were you looking at these units over the JVC 600's, etc?

    I was considering the Q50 myself also...

    Anyways does this function better, cleaner picture, etc?

    Oh and Scott, Im pretty sure all those JVC's Toshibas etc have the mediamantiocs chips.. Thanks for the link though.

    Btw, what was the damage on that Philips unit... $$$
     
  13. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Btw, is there any way to avoid the speed-up problem with PAL dvd's? Do different players produce different variations of effects in regard to this?
     
  14. agendrano

    agendrano Extra

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    Marco,

    In my case, I was looking at a player with good picture quality as well as being able to play SACD and DVD-Audio (cannot afford two players). The Philips (DVD963SA) player does not offer DVD-Audio capability, but I believe the picture quality is a bit better than the Pioneer. The 963SA also offers progressive scan for NTSC. The Q50 has a very good picture quality but no SACD or DVD audio. If I can afford a separate SACD/DVD-Audio player, I would definitely have bought the Q50.

    I did not look at JVC (most of the JVC's available in the Philippines are the mini-components and very low end DVD players).

    The Pioneer DV S655A cost me Singapore$500 (about US$310). The Q50 was listed at Singapore$775 (about US$480).
     
  15. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    Real Name:
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  16. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Marco,

    In terms of overall picture quality, I'd think the Philips 963sa is your best bet for a player w/ region-free, PAL->NTSC capability. None of the others mentioned, except the Q50 and maybe the Denon's, offers top notch deinterlacing, which will be more crucial w/ all the video-sourced DVDs you plan to watch. And I don't know how well the Q50's and Denon's PAL->NTSC conversion works.

    However, the 963sa is not w/out its own flaws, eg. poor remote sensor, rather slow DVD navigation, requires a bit more fine tuning than most players, multi-angle icon cannot be turned off (for the few DVDs that use this feature), etc. Also, the PAL->NTSC conversion will only work for progressive scan output, which should be fine for your new LCD/plasma display.

    On the plus side, you get excellent CD and SACD playback that's received tons of rave reviews on the net w/ some comparing it to much more expensive players. In fact, lots of audiophiles seem to buy this player primarily for its CD/SACD performance.

    RE: the PAL speedup issue, I'm not too sure, but I don't believe it's an issue w/ good PAL->NTSC conversion. From what I understand, PAL speedup only happens when playing back in PAL format OR if the transfer was a hack job made from PAL transfer on a previous format. In the former case, that won't matter since you plan to play back w/ NTSC conversion. In the latter case, well, that can happen w/ some low budget foreign DVDs (especially bootlegs), but then, there's really nothing you can do about that.

    Again, I'm not too sure about this, so please correct me if I'm wrong on this...

    _Man_
     
  17. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Thanks for all the help Man-Fai!!

    I'm looking into the Philips right now.
     
  18. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    I've been exceedingly happy with my Malata; excellent PAL-NTSC conversion, and the infinitely variable zoom is a godsend for nonanamorphic 1.66 discs. It's also good for removing overscan, so for important films (LOTR, LOA) I use my Malata and see the whole picture instead of the 90% my TV's manufacturer thinks I ought to see [​IMG] (and that my dumbass ISF person refused to change [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] ).

    Once you figure out the Malata (not always easy because the manual is in Englese) and you replace the POS remote with a universal remote, this is a terrific little player.
     
  19. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    I've been told mixed reviews about the Malata though, I'm a little skeptical of that player... nobody has anything to say in regards to the JVC though?

    :}
     
  20. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    How does the TOSHIBA handle 4x3 material...? My JVC puts black bars on the sides which I like better than they grey bars on my Mits WS TV...

    Thanx! D
     

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