Should high-end equipment required to test DVD players?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Thik Nongyow, Jul 28, 2002.

  1. Thik Nongyow

    Thik Nongyow Stunt Coordinator

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    Since many reviewers of DVD players use high-end equipment, such as their properly calibrated projector/plasma/CRT HDTVs and home theater, is it a must to really test a DVD player is through high-end equipment? What about mid- or low-end equipment? Are reviews from users of mid- or low-end equipment are as valid as reviews from users of high-end equipment?
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Thik, I am not as up on the video side of things, but I would imagine that the better the display, the more readily it will show flaws in the video section of a DVD player. The term "transparency" is used in audio to convey a system's ability to communicate everything that is on the CD, LP, SACD, etc. I guess one could apply "transparency" to a video display.

    On the audio side, I feel it is definitely beneficial for reviewers to use high-end associated gear (pre-amp, power amp, cables, speakers, etc.) to evaluate the sound quality of a DVD player. Higher-end gear is more revealing (transparent) than is mid- or low-end gear. The higher-end equipment will better project the limitations (and strengths) of the player in question. Mid- and low-end gear can mask these flaws (and strengths). So again, I feel using high-end gear is beneficial.

    It is certainly true that the average buyer of a $300 DVD player will not be using it in a high-end system like those that reviewers often use. From that standpoint, one might argue that the reviewers should use gear that is in keeping with what buyers of the player will actually use. However, most readers of the audio and home-theater magazines are more discerning than the average buyer and want to know the nuances of a player. The average buyer who walks into Circuit City or Best Buy probably has never heard the term "chroma bug". His or her buying criteria are typically different than the criteria set forth by people who typically read Stereophile Guide to Home Theater or The Perfect Vision. That does not mean that the readers of these magazines all have systems comparable to the reviewers' systems. However, it means that the readers are likely to be discerning.

    Even if I don't have a high-end system for a budget DVD player I am going to buy, I appreciate reviews of competing players that are performed in high-end systems. I want to know if a budget player can hold its own in the high-end system, especially when compared to higher-end players the reviewer might have available for comparison. If it cannot, then I want to know what the limitations are. If it can, that speaks volumes for the player. I feel a positive review for a player in a low-to-mid-fi system is only so reliable because the system might not be good enough to reveal the limitations of the component.
     
  3. Joe Cole

    Joe Cole Second Unit

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    In my opinion, the same thing applies to DVD reviewers. Quite often I read a review of a new DVD and the reviewer is playing it on a 4:3 set with a non-progressive player. Since I have the 16x9 tv and progressive player the quality of reviewers opinions of the video quality is some what diminished.

    But of course at this stage of the HD roll out there are many more 4:3 TVs being used than 16x9 sets. I figure that if the DVD looks good on the reviewer's 4:3 and non-progressive set up it will most likely look even better on mine. But I doubt if the same is true of DVD players themselves.

    At the very least reviewers should always list their equipment. Some don't.
     

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