Progressive Scan dvd player for $80. Does this brand stink?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Price, Dec 2, 2002.

  1. Brian Price

    Brian Price Stunt Coordinator

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    The brand in question is Cyberhome. Never heard of them but they have a progressive scan dvd player for $80 on the best buy web site. A friend has an HDrptv and just bought a cheapo dvd player for $50, trying to convince them to spend a little more for the progressive but have never heard of this brand. Any opinions? Thanks.

    Brian Price
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Brian, the Cyberhome name rings a bell, but I have never read anything about this brand here, good or bad. My inclination is that $80 is not going to get one a quality DVD player based on what I have seen in other sub-$100 players. As a result, my recommendation is that your friend spend a bit more for a progressive-scan player. Reliable progressive-scan players from major manufacturers like Sony, Pioneer, Panasonic, Toshiba, JVC, etc. are available for under $200. Www.crutchfield.com has a good selection of such players, as do Best Buy and Circuit City.
     
  3. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Cinematographer

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    I just bought this player as a backup, mainly for use for playing (S)VCDs and MP3s through speakers not attched to a computer [​IMG]. It looks nice on my direct-view 32", but I have no frame of reference on big-screen. It has stereo analog, optical, coax, and 6-channel audio; composite, S-video, and progressive component out. It supports VCD, SVCD, MP3 CD, as well as vanilla DVD and CD. There was talk about DVD-Audio support, but that may or may not be workable in a future version of their firmware. Anyway, Pretty good for a cheapo player.
    I'd have to say, IMO it's impressive for $80. But unless your friend has a lot of stuff on DVD-/+R or RW, or watches any flavor of video CDs, he might want to look at something else. Be sure to let your friend know about calibration, even with Avia/VE, or else it won't make much of a difference what player he buys. I willing to bet my set calibrated to the Cyberhome would look at least as good as similar uncalibrated TV with an big-name player.
    Check out the "Cyberhome" forum at www.nerd-out.com/forum/ for more info.
     
  4. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Brian, I bought this player about a week-and-a-half ago, and I have mixed things to tell you about it. Still, I think it's a great bargain, so my honest advice is: buy it at Best Buy, and if you have a problem with it, return it.
    The upside:
    One, it's very easy to perform the hack to make it region-free. Two, after hooking up both it and my old Toshiba and flipping back and forth while playing the same disc, I can honestly say that even on my 27" TV the Cyberhome has a better picture than the Toshiba -- it's sharper and has better, more solid color. The Toshiba's picture looked slighly washed out in comparison.
    It handles layer changes fabulously -- on LOTR:EE there isn't even a pause, not even a slight one, at the layer changes (though the sound does blank out for a second). And, boy, does it jump from chapter to chapter fast! I also liked that you can set the level of compression on the sound in the DVD player itself, as my tuner will only allow "midnight mode" on DD 5.1 tracks. So now I can listen to DTS late at night, too!
    Now the downside:
    The zoom was a disappointment -- only one level of zoom (extreme), with a non-optional picture in picture of the entire screen up in the left top corner. The remote control is the most poorly-designed thing I've ever seen. The PLAY and STOP buttons are teeny-weeny, while the arrow and "select" buttons are big. But you can get used to things like that.
    The real downside is I had to exchange it yesterday, as it had been skipping once in a while. It would play fine for a long time, then there's be a little forward "jig" in the picture, on a perfectly fine disc, almost like you were scanning forward at 2X speed for a second, only jerky. Also, for some reason when I selected "Play" from the menu on my old "Blue Velvet" DVD, it would lock the player up, and I'd have to turn it off and back on to finally access the movie. It did that every time on that particular title.
    So, I took it back to BestBuy for the exchange and said, "Out of curiosity, have you been getting a lot of this model returned?" The girl gave me a look and silently nodded. She reached down and pulled up two that had been returned already that day -- and it was only about 2:00 in the afternoon.
    I asked her why they had been returned, but she didn't know, she said she'd just started her shift. I do know there is a firmware upgrade you can download from their site, so maybe that will help. (To be honest, I don't even know what a firmware upgrade is!)
    I haven't played with the new one enough to see if it presents a problem. I had no problem when watching my Region 4 "Kramer vs. Kramer" last night. My friend this player a couple weeks ago, and he said his has never skipped once, so you might want to give it a try. You can always return it within 30 days if it doesn't work out. Maybe mine was a fluke. And, sheesh, $79 for region-free progressive scan player with DTS. Can't beat that.
    Here's a link to a couple customer reviews of the player from Amazon. Couldn't find any others for that model, but I did run across a professional review of an earlier Cyberhome model that said it was one of the best low-priced players they'd seen, and they were very impressed with the circuitry.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...875366-4303258
    And here's some customer reviews for a different Cyberhome model in the UK:
    http://dvdplayers.reviewcentre.com/reviews1273.html
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Avoid something this cheap, unless you want to keep paying $80 every few weeks or so. Brian's report above is proof positive.
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jack, while many DVD players at all price points have exhibited quality-control issues, I am inclined to agree with you here. It seems that the failure rate grows by at least one order of magnitude when you look at the bargain-basement players. APEX is a perfectly example.
     
  7. Lin Park

    Lin Park Second Unit

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    KeithH,

    Yet another PM for you and more advice needed.

    Thanx again,
    Lin
     
  8. Rick_FL

    Rick_FL Stunt Coordinator

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    It's crud.
     
  9. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's another problem with the Cyberhome 500. I purchased one a couple days ago from BB for $49.99 after rebate. I noticed on letterbox discs that the upper black bar's density changes from black to almost gray, at times almost washing out the upper bar. The brighter the scene, the more washed out the upper bar gets. I purchased another unit from BB today and it's exhibiting the same problem. Both units will be returned. I'm using S-Video (no VCR attachments of any kind so this is not a Macrovision problem) going directly into a 27" Sony XBR 4:3 and the player is set to interlace. The downconversion is absolutely the best I've ever seen, sharp and crystal clear but this problem with top black bars going gray is a real problem.

    Jeff
     
  10. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hmmm...

    I'm tempted to give it a try also, but besides the obvious problems that people have mentioned, I wonder if the "sharp" picture of this player won't present another problem on a big screen TV.

    Before I hopped on and bought a big widescreen TV, I didn't really notice any edge enhancement issues on the old 32" direct-view. But now, I'm seeing it quite often to varying degrees w/ Disney animation being the worst and most consistent offenders. Lilo & Stitch was the first DVD I popped in on the new TV, and the EE was so bad in some places like opening/closing credits that it got me worried about something being wrong w/ the TV. And yes, I have my TV's SVM off and sharpness set to lowest possible(!)--probably lower than it needs to be since I haven't done Avia setup yet.

    I currently use a non-progressive Toshiba player, and Toshiba's are known for a sharp picture. If the Cyberhome is really sharper than that, sure makes me wonder if it won't make EE look even worse than normal. Of course, if the Cyberhome can give good playback of PAL discs, then I can just buy a good player for everything else, including the EE-plagued Disney animation DVDs.

    _Man_
     
  11. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    you'll get what you pay for.
     
  12. Mike_Richardson

    Mike_Richardson Supporting Actor

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    I purchased this player for the multi-region capability and from MY experience here are my two cents:

    Considering that the Malata sold for well over $200 and this offers the same features for a fraction of that price, I'd highly recommend it. The picture quality on my CH-500 is comparable to my three-year-old Panasonic, the multi-region features are great (the primary reason to get it, anyway), and the PAL conversion is spot-on.

    For $50 it's well worth taking a chance on -- ESPECIALLY if you are into import DVDs.

    Just because it didn't retail for $250 like the Malata doesn't instantly make it a piece of junk. This is pretty much the same player -- if it cost what the Malata did would you have the same, instant opinion that it's crap without even trying it?

    I've been burned on multi-region players before but this one is a keeper.
     
  13. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    I too decided to pick up this player from Best Buy after I was given a gift certificate from my boss which covered the price. I already have a Denon DVD-1600 to handle DVD-A/Video chores, so the Cyberhome would be used solely for region 2-6 NTSC/PAL disc playback. I currently have no PAL discs so the Cyberhome will remain boxed until I get some discs to try out. I figure since it's so cheap and will be seldom used, why not give it a shot.

    Reg
     
  14. Luis S

    Luis S Supporting Actor

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    Cant go wrong with it for the money.Just as good as any other multi-region player.Worth every cent IMHO [​IMG] Great picture and seamless layer change! For just $50.00! You owe yourself to at least check it out.
    Good luck,
    Luis S
     
  15. Amano Ai

    Amano Ai Agent

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    I thought the 500 was a great deal too with the region hack and PAL conversion but it didn't happen for me. There was a problem on the top of the picture for me.

    A couple examples are O brother, where art thou - during the opening when the camera scans across the field to the prisoners working, also when George climbs onto the train and asks if anyone there are smittys.

    Spiderman trailer - with the quick screen changes, there is distortion on the top left corner in the picture.
     

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