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Upgrade-itus, in a big way (1 Viewer)

Leo Kerr

May 10, 1999
I'm "this close" (holds up fingers) to upgrading my home theater. Right now, I'm running standard-def all the way; an old Panasonic projector, a Panasonic progressive DVD player... leading me to a couple of closely related questions.

Right now, I'm thinking of doing a major upgrade:
Player: Panasonic BD-35
Projector: Panasonic AE-3000

I'm not intending to upgrade my Yamaha DSP-A1 processor/amp -- my space doesn't really support more than about 5.1 anyway, but it leaves me with a couple of questions:

1. should I look more toward the BD-55 because of the analog outputs, or are the DTS/DD mix-downs sufficient?

2. Does anyone know of any complaints against pairing the -35 and the -3000? Obviously, it'd be an HDMI connection. But I know that sometimes various players disagreed with various screens.

3. Would I be better served (particularly in price) if I were to wait a couple of weeks into January?

4. Is there anything else I should be aware of that I'm missing? (This, of course, is the real trick.)



Second Unit
Oct 5, 2000
You'll likely get widely varying opinions on the advantages of TrueHD/DTS-HD over regular DD/DTS. BTW, don't confuse TrueHD/DTS-HD with 7.1. While they're capable of discrete 7.1 (possibly more), the main difference is they're bit for bit identical to the master used for encoding. Compared to DD/DTS, which use perceptual encoding to "lose" stuff the mathematicians don't think you'll be able to hear anyway. Currently very few TrueHD/DTS-HD tracks have been released as 7.1...the theatrical master is still mixed for 5.1, so a true 7.1 track requires remixing for the Blu release.

I ran across this article the other day that may make you feel better about using the full rate lossy DD/DTS found on Blu-ray. Personally, it's what I'd recommend unless your receiver/processor can apply its bass management, delay, and sound processing to its analog inputs. Otherwise, I'd expect any slight advantage of TrueHD/DTS-HD run through a player's typically weak BM/processing to be offset by the superior BM/audio processing to be had if you use the full rate DD/DTS tracks. IOW, your plan to go with the 35 is what I'd do.


Leo Kerr

May 10, 1999
Well, I finally had the time and opportunity to finally do the upgrade.

Instead of the Panasonic BD35, or even the 60? I ended up with the Oppo BDP-83. Projector was the Panasonic PT-AE3000. The vendor deal-o'-the-week included a ceiling mount, a decent (and long) HDMI cable, and a few other geegaws. The player came with the.. oh, bother, I'm dropping the name -- not Snell and Wilcox, but Spears & Munsil "Benchmark" disc.

Installation was slow; pieces arrived over about three weeks, and given my schedule at the time, I didn't really get a chance to plug everything in until Monday the 8th or so.

Some of my family suggested that for the screen size, the improvements wouldn't be that obvious. The screen is a 60" WIDE, home-brew, AT screen, and, as indicated above, I had been using a 1024x768 Panasonic projector, a PT-LC73 (or was it 75?).

Let me just say that the difference is pretty huge.

I'm still hacking through all the menus -- the Oppo player has an incredible amount of processing power in it, and, one of the features that made me look closely at it, an internal audio delay (given that the AE3000, depending on the processing it applies might add up to something like a 7-frame delay. I think minimum is 2.5-3 frame delay.)

The projector also has a huge amount of processing inside it, so sometimes it's been a challange: who should do what?

Fortunately, they're both flexible and easy about who does up-conversion and/or who re-scales old 4:3 letterbox to the full-screen. This sort of thing is kind of important, 'cause we do watch a lot of old BBC television -- the old Ms. Marple and H. Poirot programs.

I was surprised, last night, to see how good the Original Theatrical Release of The Empire Strikes Back -- the letterboxed non-anamorphic "bonus feature" actually looked. Granted, it's utter garbage compared to, say, the Blu-Ray The Princess Bride or Star Trek: TWoK. I know neither of them are "reference" Blu-Ray discs, but I haven't had a chance to crack open the Pirates of the Caribbean: CotBP yet.

I need to build a new screen -- I think I can go to about 72" wide with the projector in this space, and not "break" anything in terms of how I have to deal with the screen.

But all told, so far, so good. I just need to finish shaking out the settings, and spend some quality time trying to make sure color/brightness/et cetera are set properly. The wave-form monitor is a very nice feature in the projector, but the amount of gamma and sub-brightness/contrast settings are really scary.


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