Sony BDP-550 vs. Panasonic BD55 vs. Samsung BD-P2500 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 159 Old 09-10-2008, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings all!

I know CEDIA awaits us as do reviews of the Sony BDP-550 vs. Panasonic BD55 vs. Samsung BDP-2500. Nothing will replace "hands-on" reviews of each of these forthcoming Blu-ray players but based on specs, the companies' Blu-ray history to date, the companies' reputation (for solid build, innovation, etc.) which of these would YOU choose? (I'm only interested in Profile 2.0 players as these players should suggest.)

I don't care if I spend $299 or $599 I just want to get the best player in that price range. (I won't be dropping $2,000 on the high-end Sony, Pioneer, Denon, et. al.) Superior analog audio output to my non-HDMI receiver is critical as is a superior picture, firmware upgradability, logical controls, special controller chips (is this Samsung HQV "all that"?), etc.

I may ping you all again once these players are actually in your hands/homes but could use your input and guidance based on what you know now.

Thanks in advance all!

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post #2 of 159 Old 09-10-2008, 05:37 PM
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Pioneer 51FD is in your budget. It has incredible BD PQ and analog DAC's to match. Check out the forthcoming Oppo also, rumored to have the ABT2010 processing solution which means unbeatable SD PQ, also 7.1 analog out, SACD (possibly DVD-A), and internal decoding of all audio formats as well as bitstream. I almost wish I would have waited but the Pioneer has incredible BD PQ. Supposedly in the $500-700 range for the Oppo. (All info from HighDefDigest, someone supposedly got that info straight from Oppo in an email.)
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post #3 of 159 Old 09-10-2008, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Blacklac View Post

Pioneer 51FD is in your budget...

The 51FD is bonus view only. The Op said they were looking for profile 2.0 players only
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post #4 of 159 Old 09-12-2008, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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It's funny Blacklac. I bought a new Denon Standard DVD player with SACD and DVD-Audio support to replace a Sony and a Panasonic because no manufacturer out there was supporting these to high end "standards" so it is ironic to me that now there's a possibility of that.

Thanks for your recommendation but, as jbernardis adds: "The 51FD is bonus view only." I am only interested in Profile 2.0 players at this stage. I do not want to be behind the curve in any way.

Hmmm. I'm surprised so few others have weighed in with their opinions on these three players, at least so far.

Thanks,
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post #5 of 159 Old 09-12-2008, 09:36 AM
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Since you said you have a non-HDMI receiver and analog outs are a big deal for you, it might be worthwhile to note that the Samsung 2550 (the Best Buy exclusive that is currently available ) does not internally decode DTS-HD Master, so will the 2500? The Reon inside though is a nice addition.

I am not buying a stand-alone player for a while since I have a PS3 and an HDMI 1.3 compliant receiver, but when I do, I'll probably be eyeing the Panasonic BD55. I want 7.1 analog outs and complete internal decoding, but as I said, I will be using HDMI since my receiver supports it. Upscaling in the player is not as important to me either since I have a DVDO VP50 and an Elite 79AVi that handle my DVD's. I also get a discount on Panasonic products through my company (more than 25% off) so that will probably sway me towards the BD55 instead of Sony's S550.

I'll be waiting for reviews though of course before I do anything. Until then, I have my PS3.
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post #6 of 159 Old 09-12-2008, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snazz123 View Post

way.

Hmmm. I'm surprised so few others have weighed in with their opinions on these three players, at least so far.

Other than the Samsung, you really can't base much of an opinion about something that hasn't been released. We don't know for certain how they'll perform, issues, bugs, operational speed, PQ, analog audio performance, etc. For SD DVD output, the Samsung will likely be best because of the Reon, but we'll have to see for the rest.

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post #7 of 159 Old 09-12-2008, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snazz123 View Post

Thanks for your recommendation but, as jbernardis adds: "The 51FD is bonus view only." I am only interested in Profile 2.0 players at this stage. I do not want to be behind the curve in any way.

As long as you realize that Profile 2.0 is not "future proof" as some believe it is. The Blu-ray Disc Association is developing a new Blu-ray full color 3-D spec at the request of the studios that will 99% most likely be incompatible with current Blu-ray players. It will be released in 2010 at the latest. So anything you buy now will still need to be replaced in 2 years if you want to remain current, even if it is the latest profile right now.

Personally I don't think it is worth it sacrificing the superior audio/video quality of the Pioneer 51FD for the ability to download trailers and gimmick extras at extremely slow speeds. But, if you do think downloading trailers really slowly is more important than audio/video quality, the Samsung 2500 will easily have the best A/V performance of the players you listed (Reon is awesome), followed by the Sony 550 (decent NEC VP) and in last the Panasonic BD55 (Uniphier is crap IMO). In terms of build quality/reliability I would say Sony is first, then Samsung, then Panasonic in last again. Normally I would rate Panasonic higher than Samsung, but the BD30-based Panasonic players including the Denon players have had chronic laser failure problems that are far worse than anything I've seen with Samsung.

Myself, I'll take the superior audio/video quality now with the Pioneer BDP-51FD and buy one of the 3-D profile Blu-ray players in 2010 while BD-Live matures. Right now the BD-Live extras are junk, and you have to jump through hoops to get to them anyway... Entering usernames and passwords with your remote and onscreen keyboard sure is fun!

Vote with your wallet. Don't buy Cinavia-infected Blu-ray Discs! Why pay a premium for pseudo-lossless audio damaged by an intrusive watermark in the audible spectrum?
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post #8 of 159 Old 09-14-2008, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Ruined View Post

As long as you realize that Profile 2.0 is not "future proof" as some believe it is. The Blu-ray Disc Association is developing a new Blu-ray full color 3-D spec at the request of the studios that will 99% most likely be incompatible with current Blu-ray players. It will be released in 2010 at the latest. So anything you buy now will still need to be replaced in 2 years if you want to remain current, even if it is the latest profile right now.

Personally I don't think it is worth it sacrificing the superior audio/video quality of the Pioneer 51FD for the ability to download trailers and gimmick extras at extremely slow speeds. But, if you do think downloading trailers really slowly is more important than audio/video quality, the Samsung 2500 will easily have the best A/V performance of the players you listed (Reon is awesome), followed by the Sony 550 (decent NEC VP) and in last the Panasonic BD55 (Uniphier is crap IMO). In terms of build quality/reliability I would say Sony is first, then Samsung, then Panasonic in last again. Normally I would rate Panasonic higher than Samsung, but the BD30-based Panasonic players including the Denon players have had chronic laser failure problems that are far worse than anything I've seen with Samsung.

Myself, I'll take the superior audio/video quality now with the Pioneer BDP-51FD and buy one of the 3-D profile Blu-ray players in 2010 while BD-Live matures. Right now the BD-Live extras are junk, and you have to jump through hoops to get to them anyway... Entering usernames and passwords with your remote and onscreen keyboard sure is fun!

Kris Deering has posted that the BD55 has improved video performance and will surprise people. He is currently testing it versus the Pio 51.

Go Duke !
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post #9 of 159 Old 09-14-2008, 08:31 AM
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I'm with Ruined 100%. Everyone has different needs/setups, and interests but for me and my 1080p front projection setup...there are 2 things that are important to me. Very important actually. And that's the Image & the Audio. I rarely, if ever even watch the extras. A few trailers now and then but the actual Film is why I spent the $$ I did on my rig.

It's all about the Film and the way it's delivered on screen. Nothing else matters. Certainly loading times are relevant as more and more BD's will have lots of interactivity that can slow down the player.

McDonald's is really, really fast and getting you your food, but the place down the road takes a little bit longer but the food is superior.
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post #10 of 159 Old 09-14-2008, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruined View Post

As long as you realize that Profile 2.0 is not "future proof" as some believe it is. The Blu-ray Disc Association is developing a new Blu-ray full color 3-D spec at the request of the studios that will 99% most likely be incompatible with current Blu-ray players. It will be released in 2010 at the latest. So anything you buy now will still need to be replaced in 2 years if you want to remain current, even if it is the latest profile right now.

Personally I don't think it is worth it sacrificing the superior audio/video quality of the Pioneer 51FD for the ability to download trailers and gimmick extras at extremely slow speeds. But, if you do think downloading trailers really slowly is more important than audio/video quality, the Samsung 2500 will easily have the best A/V performance of the players you listed (Reon is awesome), followed by the Sony 550 (decent NEC VP) and in last the Panasonic BD55 (Uniphier is crap IMO). In terms of build quality/reliability I would say Sony is first, then Samsung, then Panasonic in last again. Normally I would rate Panasonic higher than Samsung, but the BD30-based Panasonic players including the Denon players have had chronic laser failure problems that are far worse than anything I've seen with Samsung.

Myself, I'll take the superior audio/video quality now with the Pioneer BDP-51FD and buy one of the 3-D profile Blu-ray players in 2010 while BD-Live matures. Right now the BD-Live extras are junk, and you have to jump through hoops to get to them anyway... Entering usernames and passwords with your remote and onscreen keyboard sure is fun!

Thanks Ruined. This just the kind of practical input I've been wanting. Unipher is being touted to much but is a bust in your eyes. Good to know. Ditto the Reon process being awesome. I had no idea! I guess I've also thought getting the latest Profile was a smart move "just in case" I wanted additional content which varies from flat out "junk" to great and insightful stuff. Based on your recommendations I'll be checking the Samsung 2500 extra closely if I should continue to desire a Profile 2.0 player or the Pioneer BDP-51FD if that is less important to me upon further consideration.

Thanks!
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post #11 of 159 Old 09-14-2008, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jp_stargazer View Post

Since you said you have a non-HDMI receiver and analog outs are a big deal for you, it might be worthwhile to note that the Samsung 2550 (the Best Buy exclusive that is currently available ) does not internally decode DTS-HD Master, so will the 2500? The Reon inside though is a nice addition.

I am not buying a stand-alone player for a while since I have a PS3 and an HDMI 1.3 compliant receiver, but when I do, I'll probably be eyeing the Panasonic BD55. I want 7.1 analog outs and complete internal decoding, but as I said, I will be using HDMI since my receiver supports it. Upscaling in the player is not as important to me either since I have a DVDO VP50 and an Elite 79AVi that handle my DVD's. I also get a discount on Panasonic products through my company (more than 25% off) so that will probably sway me towards the BD55 instead of Sony's S550.

I'll be waiting for reviews though of course before I do anything. Until then, I have my PS3.

Thanks for your feedback jp_stargazer. Hmmm. The Sammy 2500 does NOT have DTS-HD Master audio playback, alas. Too bad because that Reon Processor sure sounds good for the video end of things. Thanks for revealing your affinity for Panasonic due to a special pricing brake you get. Thank can be a big motivation for some people.

Thanks!
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post #12 of 159 Old 09-14-2008, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidHir View Post

Other than the Samsung, you really can't base much of an opinion about something that hasn't been released. We don't know for certain how they'll perform, issues, bugs, operational speed, PQ, analog audio performance, etc. For SD DVD output, the Samsung will likely be best because of the Reon, but we'll have to see for the rest.

Excellent points, of course, DavidHir. What looks good on paper can turn out to be very bad in reality. In trying to get my anticipatory ducks in a row, I truly should bid my time until the units are actually shipped and tested. But with kind feedback from people like you it helps me educate myself about things I might otherwise not know - that is what deserves my scorn and what is worthy of a purchase. I was bummed to read, for example, that the Samsung 2550 will not support DTS-HD MA but then I believe I saw that that feature might be added later via firmware.

Thanks!
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post #13 of 159 Old 09-14-2008, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tim Glover View Post

I'm with Ruined 100%. Everyone has different needs/setups, and interests but for me and my 1080p front projection setup...there are 2 things that are important to me. Very important actually. And that's the Image & the Audio. I rarely, if ever even watch the extras. A few trailers now and then but the actual Film is why I spent the $$ I did on my rig.

It's all about the Film and the way it's delivered on screen. Nothing else matters. Certainly loading times are relevant as more and more BD's will have lots of interactivity that can slow down the player.

McDonald's is really, really fast and getting you your food, but the place down the road takes a little bit longer but the food is superior.

Well I'm with you in spades on this point Tim: Exceptional Video and Exceptional Audio are paramount to me. I do, however, frequently check out extras. Some are junk, some are diamonds but there is a lot of junk. So in addition to outstanding A/V I'd still like the option to suck down free extra content to view or not to view depending on what it is. I have to think some of the forthcoming Profile 2.0 can "do it all". While I don't want to spend $2K for a Blu-ray player Tim, I am willing to spend $400-700 for that superior meal you've referenced if I can get a player that hits all the sweet spots! :-)

Thanks!
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post #14 of 159 Old 09-15-2008, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by snazz123 View Post

Excellent points, of course, DavidHir. What looks good on paper can turn out to be very bad in reality. In trying to get my anticipatory ducks in a row, I truly should bid my time until the units are actually shipped and tested. But with kind feedback from people like you it helps me educate myself about things I might otherwise not know - that is what deserves my scorn and what is worthy of a purchase. I was bummed to read, for example, that the Samsung 2550 will not support DTS-HD MA but then I believe I saw that that feature might be added later via firmware.

Thanks!
SNazz123

I suspect the the BD55 and S550 will be the players to watch for as bang for the buck and quality performance. The BD55 should decode DTS-MA out of the box too. I speculate Panasonic *might* price this unit a bit more than the S550 initially because of this. Exercising patience is the tough part - I know that all too well!

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post #15 of 159 Old 09-15-2008, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DavidHir View Post

I suspect the the BD55 and S550 will be the players to watch for as bang for the buck and quality performance. The BD55 should decode DTS-MA out of the box too. I speculate Panasonic *might* price this unit a bit more than the S550 initially because of this. Exercising patience is the tough part - I know that all too well!

Oh, I've BEEN patient David! So I guess I can keep being patient until I pop for a new Blu-ray player. I'm actually rather torn now as a couple of folks are raving about this Reon processor in the Samsung. If there will be an DTS-HD MA firmware upgrade - for sure - perhaps that will be something to consider. It's funny: For several months I was set on the Sony S550 then wondered about the Panasonic BD55 and now with the Samsung 2550 I've got more to consider. I'd consider one of the older Pioneers but I just don't want "last year's" Blu-ray player. Decisions, decisions! :-)

This was the year of some big blockbusters. I intend to purchase some Blu-ray discs before I even have a player if, like with DVDs, the best time to purchase and find fierce competition is the Tuesday day of release, or that week. "Ironman", the Hulk, and Batman movies would seem to be naturals for Blu-ray. "Small" indie films may not be as compelling at the $25 and $35 price-points. Upconverting will do for many of those.

Thanks!

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post #16 of 159 Old 09-16-2008, 09:04 AM
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[Pioneer 51FD is in your budget. It has incredible BD PQ and analog DAC's to match. Check out the forthcoming Oppo also, rumored to have the ABT2010 processing solution which means unbeatable SD PQ, also 7.1 analog out, SACD (possibly DVD-A), and internal decoding of all audio formats as well as bitstream.]

Backlac, I'm upgrading my system to add back channels to get to 7.1. I have an old Denon 5800 that has 7.1 analog inputs. I'm also adding Blu-Ray but haven't decided on the player yet. It obviously has to have 7.1 analog out. My question is whether these players will matrix 5.1 content up to 7.1 over the analog channels. The reason is that my current side channel surrounds (ceiling mounted) kind of suck and I want the new back channels to fire with all content.

I have read other posts that have said the ability to "matrix" 5.1 to 7.1 analog outputs is blu ray player dependent. I agree with your assessment that PQ/AQ is paramount and I don't care about the bells and whistles of BD 2.0, so I'm very interested in your assessment of the Pioneer. Do you know how the 51FD outputs 5.1 content over the analog 7.1? The other players mentioned are also on my list and I'm also interested how they output 5.1 content over the 7.1 analog channels if anyone knows yet.
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post #17 of 159 Old 09-16-2008, 09:45 AM
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I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with the analog section of the 51FD. I only use HDMI for my setup. There is a lot of talk about it's analog abilities in the Official Pioneer 51/05 thread.
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post #18 of 159 Old 09-16-2008, 02:07 PM
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A couple of comments:

I own a Samsung 1200. The Reon chipset is outstanding, but performance of the player is spotty and support sucks. Do not count on the BDP2500/2550 ever getting a firmware upgrade to decode DTS-HD MA. Samsung will tell you flat out that nothing is promised. The 1200 has the hardware to do bitstreaming but they have never enabled it with firmware and never will.

The Sony 550 will ship with all advanced audio decoders onboard so you can use it to stream audio via the 7.1 outputs to an older receiver, if that is important. Or you can bitstream any of them via HDMI. It is 2.0 ready out of the box. I think the Samsung will require a future firmware upgrade for this, but Samsung has said they will be providing that upgrade.

The Oppo will not have any onboard decoders for advanced audio formats, it will only have DD and DTS decoding capability. It will however have bitstreaming capability and they have indicated a future firmware upgrade will allow it to decode onboard. Who knows when?

After all is said and done I will probably get the Sony and use it for BR and keep my 1200 next to it and use it for SD viewing. Since the SD audio will be DD or DTS only, I can use regular optical cable for that. I will have to use component for video as my two HDMI imputs will be taken up by the BR and my HD DVR, but I don't think I will lose that much. I plan to compare pictures and if I can't tell the difference, then I will move the 1200 to another room and use it there. It hardly ever plays a BR completely through without some lock up, drop out, etc. It seems to get worse with each firmware "upgrade".
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post #19 of 159 Old 09-16-2008, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklac View Post

I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with the analog section of the 51FD. I only use HDMI for my setup. There is a lot of talk about it's analog abilities in the Official Pioneer 51/05 thread.

Thanks Blacklac. According to post 3294 in the official thread, the answer is no--The 51FD will not matrix 5.1 content into 7.1. It will be interesting what the newer players will do on their 7.1 analog output.
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post #20 of 159 Old 09-16-2008, 03:27 PM
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Quote:


The Sony 550 will ship with all advanced audio decoders onboard

Not according to the Sony web site:

Quote:


Dolby® TrueHD/DTS-HD decoder built-in

Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD delivers lossless studio master quality audio designed specifically for high definition entertainment like Blu-ray Disc™. An incredible sound stage, dynamic range and a stellar Home Theater experience await you with Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD.(DTS-HD decoding function will be provided by firmware update)

Looks like people have to WAIT (for who knows how long) to get DTS-HD.
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post #21 of 159 Old 09-17-2008, 06:55 AM
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I am in the exact same boat as snazz123 and I thank him for making this topic. I'll be watching these upcoming player releases very closely. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts so far
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post #22 of 159 Old 09-17-2008, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Tarheel72 View Post

A couple of comments:


The Oppo will not have any onboard decoders for advanced audio formats, it will only have DD and DTS decoding capability. It will however have bitstreaming capability and they have indicated a future firmware upgrade will allow it to decode onboard. Who knows when?

.

Where did you get this info? The Audioholics site indicates it will decode advanced codecs.
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post #23 of 159 Old 09-17-2008, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheel72 View Post

A couple of comments:

I own a Samsung 1200. The Reon chipset is outstanding, but performance of the player is spotty and support sucks. Do not count on the BDP2500/2550 ever getting a firmware upgrade to decode DTS-HD MA. Samsung will tell you flat out that nothing is promised. The 1200 has the hardware to do bitstreaming but they have never enabled it with firmware and never will.

After all is said and done I will probably get the Sony and use it for BR and keep my 1200 next to it and use it for SD viewing. Since the SD audio will be DD or DTS only, I can use regular optical cable for that. I will have to use component for video as my two HDMI imputs will be taken up by the BR and my HD DVR, but I don't think I will lose that much. I plan to compare pictures and if I can't tell the difference, then I will move the 1200 to another room and use it there. It hardly ever plays a BR completely through without some lock up, drop out, etc. It seems to get worse with each firmware "upgrade".

You might want to rethink that bold part. If you use component you will not get upconversion on the SD DVD's, you have to use HDMI for that.

I would use component on the HD DVR myself.
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post #24 of 159 Old 09-17-2008, 02:26 PM
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CDW has the Sony BDP-S550 on pre-order for $419.99, tax and shipping not included. This is the cheapest I've seen anywhere.
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post #25 of 159 Old 09-18-2008, 10:05 AM
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CDW has the Sony BDP-S550 on pre-order for $419.99, tax and shipping not included. This is the cheapest I've seen anywhere.

Please see my post on the pricing thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post14689163

--Dean L. Surkin
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post #26 of 159 Old 09-19-2008, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gar3 View Post

I am in the exact same boat as snazz123 and I thank him for making this topic. I'll be watching these upcoming player releases very closely. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts so far

Thanks Gar3! I figured I was not alone in trying to read the tea leaves! There's a wealth of knowledge here (and lots of opinions too) and it is wonderful to get guidance on these purchasing decisions.

Take care,
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post #27 of 159 Old 09-19-2008, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tarheel72 View Post

A couple of comments:

I own a Samsung 1200. The Reon chipset is outstanding, but performance of the player is spotty and support sucks. Do not count on the BDP2500/2550 ever getting a firmware upgrade to decode DTS-HD MA. Samsung will tell you flat out that nothing is promised. The 1200 has the hardware to do bitstreaming but they have never enabled it with firmware and never will.

The Sony 550 will ship with all advanced audio decoders onboard so you can use it to stream audio via the 7.1 outputs to an older receiver, if that is important. Or you can bitstream any of them via HDMI. It is 2.0 ready out of the box. I think the Samsung will require a future firmware upgrade for this, but Samsung has said they will be providing that upgrade.

The Oppo will not have any onboard decoders for advanced audio formats, it will only have DD and DTS decoding capability. It will however have bitstreaming capability and they have indicated a future firmware upgrade will allow it to decode onboard. Who knows when?

After all is said and done I will probably get the Sony and use it for BR and keep my 1200 next to it and use it for SD viewing. Since the SD audio will be DD or DTS only, I can use regular optical cable for that. I will have to use component for video as my two HDMI imputs will be taken up by the BR and my HD DVR, but I don't think I will lose that much. I plan to compare pictures and if I can't tell the difference, then I will move the 1200 to another room and use it there. It hardly ever plays a BR completely through without some lock up, drop out, etc. It seems to get worse with each firmware "upgrade".

Thanks for your input on this matter Tarheel72! Thanks for waving me off the Samsung forthcoming models. It's funny, I was originally leaning toward the Sony BDP-550 looks like the DTS-HD according to RobertR will not be part of this model when it ships. Hmmm. Then I wonder if I should go back to the Sony vs. Panasonic BD55 as Panasonic is claiming great things for their audio decoding section.

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post #28 of 159 Old 09-19-2008, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DavidHir View Post

I suspect the the BD55 and S550 will be the players to watch for as bang for the buck and quality performance. The BD55 should decode DTS-MA out of the box too. I speculate Panasonic *might* price this unit a bit more than the S550 initially because of this. Exercising patience is the tough part - I know that all too well!

Thanks DavidHir. I am leaning on these two units to the exclusion of Samsung based on comments by others here. I'm inclined to go with the Sony 550 but the lack of DTS-HD support out of the box is an issue. So let's just put the audio issues on the shelf for a moment. Which of these two would you suspect would be better in the video department given what is know about the quality of the video chipsets Sony and Panasonic are touting for these models? Would you tend to favor one of these players over the other based on at flat-out more gorgeous picture? Thanks for your continuing thoughts.

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post #29 of 159 Old 09-19-2008, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I must clarify something. When I am looking for DTS-HD MA support "out of the box" I mean for my 5.1 Analog inputs on my receiver not to HDMI input jacks as my receiver does not have HDMI at all. So, will the Sony BDP-550 or Panasonic BD55 support DTS-HD MA for analog output from the Blu-ray player to my receivers 5.1 analog inputs? Further, if they do, can I just plug in the 5.1 sources and ignore the other channels I don't have (or aren't using?)

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post #30 of 159 Old 09-19-2008, 07:02 PM
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Sony has now backtracked even further on internal dts-MA decoding. The features page on the S550 at SonyStyle used to say dts-MA would be available with a firmware update. That language is now gone.

So, the initial announcement for the player said it would include dts-MA decoding. Then, Sony said dts-MA decoding would be delayed. Now, it's not even mentioned. The player is described as having TrueHD decoding with dts-MA available via bitstream. That's kind of distressing for those of us who need to use analog for lossless audio. Panasonic may have the only moderately priced player with dts-MA decoding for awhile.

Quote:


can I just plug in the 5.1 sources and ignore the other channels I don't have (or aren't using?)

With analog, you need to tell the player about your speaker arrangement, much the same as you do when setting up a receiver. If you enter a 5.1 configuration, the player will downmix 7.1 sources to 5.1 so that you don't lose the audio from the unused channels.

Analog also means the player has to handle bass management and other similar tasks that are usually handled by the receiver for digital audio.
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