Upconvert through component and SACD?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Peter Doten, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. Peter Doten

    Peter Doten Agent

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    I am picking up a (used) Sony XBR (KV-36XBR450) and I should probably get a new DVD player. My old Sony DVP-S560D is a good player but doesn't have progressive scan or any of the newer features.

    I am looking for a player that can upconvert through component, as the TV has no HDMI (obviously because of its age). I would like it to have SACD as well. Price range is pretty open, although anything that costs more than say $500 might be a hard sell. I don't really care about Divx and some of the other features that some players have.

    I have seen some reccomendations for upconverting players that can do component (the zenith comes to mind) but none that can do SACD, are there any out there?

    -Peter
     
  2. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    None that I know of Peter. You may be out of luck.
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    On a 36" display, upconversion isn't going to buy you a whole lot, so I would say just getting a good progressive player is already going to make a noticable improvement over the 560 (which I still have also). At $349, the Denon 1920 is probably a good bet.
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    John's advice seems right on the money.
     
  5. Peter Doten

    Peter Doten Agent

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    I was hoping upconversion might reduce the appearance of scan lines. [​IMG]
     
  6. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I agree that John's advice is good advice Peter.
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Properly calibrated, you won't (shouldn't) see any scan lines. I have an 34" WS Sony and there isn't a scan line to be seen. [​IMG] I ran the 560D on it for a while until I could settle on a PS player and it looked OK with DRC, but when I picked up the Denon 2200 and calibrated the set, I was amazed at the picture quality. I'd say you may also want to pick up a disc like Avia or Digital Video Essentials so you can do a basic calibration of your set; it does help.
     
  8. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I'm assuming that he's currently using an interlaced CRT display, hence the new HD Sony XBR. If so then visible scan lines are probably a result of the TV and /or downconversion by the DVD player.
     
  9. David_Rivshin

    David_Rivshin Second Unit

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    The Samsung DVD-HD941 and DVD-HD950 have DVD-A and SACD support, and will upconconvert over component after a simple "remote hack" (more like an unlock code) is entered. Search for threads on those players for the gory details.
    The 941 is the older model, so it might be hard to find these days, but it can be considered better because it's got Faroudja DCDi. Oh, and it should be cheaper than the 950.

    Hope this helps,
    -- Dave
     
  10. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The 560 is a good interlaced player, but I know what he is talking about, because the scan lines were very apparent on my set as well (which is also why I upgraded players), regardless of interlaced or the set's "DRC" progressive upconversion, which isn't that great. I couldn't tell you if it was the set or the player, but the problem went away with the new player, so my guess would be the player. My daughter still uses the 560 in her bedroom on a smaller analog set and it still looks fine on that set.

    The 941 got a less than stellar review from Secrets. Despite passing a fair number of tests including being CUE free, this player was not highly recommended. THe 950 hasn't been tested yet, nor has the 1920, AFAIK.
     
  11. Peter Doten

    Peter Doten Agent

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    That's correct. My old TV (KV-27V66) isn't prog scan or HD ready.

    I haven't watched a DVD on the XBR (that I am getting) in awhile, I thought I remember scan lines being an issue, but maybe I am just confusing myself.
     
  12. David_Rivshin

    David_Rivshin Second Unit

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    I believe Secrets only reviewed the 841, which has different electronics (for instance, no DCDi). And if you look at that review closely you'll see that most things important to movie watching on component are just fine. The sticking points are largely in cases where the DVD is marked with the wrong flags, (also something that the 941 with DCDi shouldn't suffer from).
    Also, in fairness to the 841, there have been firmware upgrades which reportedly improved on it's few negatives.
    Avsforum threads have the in depth details on that, I'm just going from memory. BTW, the 941 has also had important firmware upgrades, and should be upgraded for best picture. Again, check Avsforum for details.

    Also, be careful in the Secrets reviews of upconverting players because they review these players at 480p on the Component output, as that's all they do out of the box. Main thing with upconversion over component is to make sure there isn't excessive frequency response dropoff, and Secrets only goes up to 10Mhz (1080i can use up to 30Mhz).

    Note that I don't mean to rag on Secrets, as I always check their DVD player reviews, but (as with all reviews) you can't just go by the bottom line number. You need to pick out those nuggets of info that directly pertain to your situation. I believe they even say as much in their benchmark explanation articles, which I consider a sign of journalistic honesty.

    -- Dave
     
  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    941 Review. Yes, this was 480P, but overall, I would still probably not choose it. The 841, according to their reivews, was a VERY bad player, but again, that was because I believe it was said to be poor via component and better via DVI. I've tried the 841 myself (though also when it was first released) via component and found it to be a rather poor player. In the store, even with a Samsung DLP TV via DVI, it was surprisingly still an average or worse player to my eyes.
     
  14. David_Rivshin

    David_Rivshin Second Unit

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    Thanks for the link to the review. For some reason they don't list it under their "DVD Player Review Index", which is why I missed it.

    So, let's take a look at those items that failed in the review:
    1) Responsiveness
    Only issue I've noticed is that it can take a few seconds to bring up the menu after the end of a title or when pressing the menu button in the middle of a video. I consider that only a minor annoyance. Traversing menus seems plenty fast for my taste, although some might have other preferences.

    2) Video Levels
    Secrets mentions that the white level was at 103 IRE, but passing is at 102 IRE. Could be better, but it's not hugely out of range. The new firmware may have also resolved this issue, as it's reported to have fixed the DVI Blacker-than-Black problem (which might have the same root cause). Calibrating the display to the DVD player would resolve most issues of this type anyways, unless you have an issue where you can only calibrate the display to one source, but care about the video levels of all sources equally. I personally only really care about the image when watching movies, the rest of the time close is good enough.

    3) YC Delay
    I did notice some Y/C delay on the Avia test pattern, but nothing horrendous. I've certainly seen worse with other players, even the RP56 which used to be considered a very good player at the time. And again, it might be that the newer firmware fixed this after Secret's test.

    4) Image Cropping
    This could certainly be a problem for some people. As for me, I've got a CRT with at least 5% overscan (to hide distortion at the extremes of the range), so I've got worse issue than an extra dozen pixels cropped.

    5) Sync Subtitle to Frames
    I guess I'll find out about this first hand, as I was planning on watching Das Boot Uncut with subtitles soon. I hope this was fixed with the newer firmware, or I might get alittle annoyed.

    6) 2-2 Cadence, Film Flags
    Only a real big issue if you've got badly flagged TV-on-DVD's. I don't know how common that is.

    7) Recovery Time
    I consider this very minor in the grand scheme of things, but if you've got DVD's with lots of bad edits and the like, you might care more than I do.


    To me the ability to upconvert over component was much more important than just about anything else because of my particular display, and as the saying goes, beggars can't be choosers. But even without considering that, I think the 941 was a pretty good player for the $130 I payed for it. It's probably not the best $130 player in terms of straight 480p output, but it's not horrible, and the component upconvertion puts it way ahead of the game in certain situations. Oh, and the DVD-A and SACD support is a nice bonus, although I haven't tried it out yet.

    -- Dave
     

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