Going Neutral: Help Me Decide Which Route to Take - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-18-2007, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I owned an Xbox 360 with HDDVD addon for about a year, but I sold it recently because since building my home theater I found it to be too noisy, and also I never play games.

I've now decided to go format neutral by either picking up two standalone players of each format; or waiting and getting either the Samsung 5000 or the LG 200.

There are specific elements guiding me though:

A. I own an Onkyo TX-SR705 receiver that can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTSMA.
B. I have a HTPC that I plan to continue to use for FLAC music file playback and DVD upconverting (using Theatertek and FFDShow, which is disputedly almost as good as Reon).
C. My display is an Epson 720p projector that CANNOT accept a 1080p/24hz signal (1080p/60hz, 1080i or 720p only), but I am inclined to future-proof my players by getting ones that can output 1080p/24hz.
D. Coming from point C above, after this purchase(s), I don't play on buying any more players for a while.
E. I can score some killer deals on both format players I decide to buy (see prices).

That being said, I'm faced with several choices and would like any advice to help me decide:

Choice A:
Toshiba A3 & Samsung 1400 = $674Cdn+tax
Issues -
A3 is not 1080p so not futureproofed, but would be meet my needs for now
A3 does not output bitstream, so potentially could be missing out on audio quality, as I have the Onkyo
Samsung is only a 1.0 profile player with no certainty it will be able to be patched to be a 1.1 or BD Live player
Samsung has some glitches right now, but I'm confident they can be patched

Choice B:
Toshiba A35 & Samsung 1400 = $850Cdn+tax
Issues -
No issues with Toshiba A35 other than price and that Future Shop doesn't have any yet and not sure if they will carry them (as that is where I'm getting my good deals from and no other place can offer me such a good deal (inside connection)).
Samsung is only a 1.0 profile player with no certainty it will be able to be patched to be a 1.1 or BD Live player
Samsung has some glitches right now, but I'm confident they can be patched

Choice C:
Toshiba A3 & PS3 80GB = $624Cdn+tax
Issues -
A3 is not 1080p so not futureproofed, but would be meet my needs for now
A3 does not output bitstream, so potentially could be missing out on audio quality, as I have the Onkyo
PS3 does not output bitstream either so I wouldn't have that ability on either player.
PS3 MAY be too loud for my HT room, which is the reason I got rid of my 360.
PS3 can't be controlled by my Harmony 659 remote, and thus I'm gonna need the PS3 remote or the stupid controller, which I hate. I don't really like the idea of the PS3 in my HT room as my BluRay player, but it is the most versatile and fastest player out there and can be patched....I'm torn.

Choice D:
Toshiba A35 & PS3 80GB = $800Cdn+tax
Issues -
No issues with Toshiba A35 other than price and that Future Shop doesn't have any yet and not sure if they will carry them (as that is where I'm getting my good deals from and no other place can offer me such a good deal (inside connection)).
PS3 does not output bitstream either so I wouldn't have that ability on either player.
PS3 MAY be too loud for my HT room, which is the reason I got rid of my 360. This would be a deal killer for me as I don't want noise, but if it's signficantly less than my 360 I may consider...won't know until i try I guess.
PS3 can't be controlled by my Harmony 659 remote, and thus I'm gonna need the PS3 remote or the stupid controller, which I hate. I don't really like the idea of the PS3 in my HT room as my BluRay player, but it is the most versatile and fastest player out there and can be patched....I'm torn.

Choice E:
LG LH200 dual format player = $650Cdn+tax (likely)
Issues -
I have to wait for it.
No certainties on how well it will play everything and if it outputs bitstream for all formats.
A benefit here above other choices is it would allow me to hookup all my devices via HDMI, whereas previous choices (due to being 2 players) bumps my satellite receiver back to component due to the fact that I only have 3 HDMI inputs on my Onkyo.


So there it is! I am really tempted to just go out now and buy the 80GB PS3 as it is reduced in price, and then get the A35 later.

If the Samsung 1400 was confirmed to be able to be upgraded to profile 1.1, I'd buy that right now and just get an A3.

My goal is to at least have one player of the two formats as being able to do everything (i.e. bitstream, 1080p/24hz, etc.) and ideally a BluRay player.

Not sure, any advice would be appreciated!
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-18-2007, 02:24 PM
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I have choice "D" the A35 and PS3 combo and I love it. However, I crave the DTS -MA support of the 1400 and a standalone player. If your audio receiver supports DTS-MA, I would choose "B" the A35, and the 1400. If your reciever does not do MA, then i would get the PS3 and the A35.

In all of my scenarios I would get the A35 on the HD side because it is a very nice player, and supports MA as well.

Hope this non-scientific, non-audiophile point of view helps you. I'm just going on what I have read on this board from other experts, and the equipment that I currently own.

Alan
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-18-2007, 03:00 PM
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+1 on the A35 and PS3.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-18-2007, 03:23 PM
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I like choice B & E. I don't see much reason for a PS3 if you don't play games unless you want another feature it has, but the Bluetooth remote thing is kind of a deal breaker for me to be in my main theater room. On the flip side the PS3 is a very good BD player. The LG BH200 seems to be Profile 1.1 compliant which (I think) makes it the first BD 1.1 player available.

You can also look at the A30, I only saw you mention the A3 or A35. I also think you should try hunting down a XA2 for consideration (I got mine for $299 recently).

I also like the idea of having a single player solution. That was my plan until I found the XA2 for such a bargain and my XA1 started giving me a lot of play back problems suddenly. Some people are saying the BH200 is showing up at BB but the price might be a little high right now vs. buying 2 seperate players. Some day I will get a single player solution, but I am very happy with my HD-XA2 and BD-P1200 combo right now. I am space limited though and between the HD, BD, Xbox 360 and Universal DVD disc players I simply have to many optical disc players in my rack, but now at this point I will wait until a true HD-Universal player (SACD, DVD-A, HD DVD, Blu-Ray profile 2.0, DVD, CD, etc...) comes out. Hoping my XA2 and 1200 don't crap out on me anytime soon.

Thanks Richard

They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time it works, every time.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-18-2007, 03:24 PM
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how come the 40GB PS3 isn't an option? $100 cheaper, comes with SM3, and supposedly runs cooler and quieter as well.

also the sammy 1400 is the only player for both formats that can bitstream the advanced audio, and it's a profile 1.0 player.

there is an option for universal remote for the ps3, but it's not fully functional. you can get the nyko IR remote and program that remote to your harmony. some buttons will be missing, primarily the PS button, others include subtitle and audio but those can be adjusted via the pop-up menu.
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-18-2007, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smittygt View Post

I have choice "D" the A35 and PS3 combo and I love it. However, I crave the DTS -MA support of the 1400 and a standalone player. If your audio receiver supports DTS-MA, I would choose "B" the A35, and the 1400. If your reciever does not do MA, then i would get the PS3 and the A35.

In all of my scenarios I would get the A35 on the HD side because it is a very nice player, and supports MA as well.

Hope this non-scientific, non-audiophile point of view helps you. I'm just going on what I have read on this board from other experts, and the equipment that I currently own.

Yes, I like the looks of the A35 as well. While the BRD players seem to be still in infancy (mainly with them sorting out the whole profile thing), Toshiba has really solidified their player's stability it seems, and the A35 seems like it can do it all for HDDVD.

That being said, I do think that BRD will eventually beat HDDVD because of it's higher technical capabilities (at least at this time). If there was a better profile 1.1 or 2.0 BRD player out there right now, I'd rather put more money into buying that and go with an A3 to suffice on HDDVD.
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-18-2007, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cws_kahuna View Post

I like choice B & E. I don't see much reason for a PS3 if you don't play games unless you want another feature it has, but the Bluetooth remote thing is kind of a deal breaker for me to be in my main theater room. On the flip side the PS3 is a very good BD player. The LG BH200 seems to be Profile 1.1 compliant which (I think) makes it the first BD 1.1 player available.

You can also look at the A30, I only saw you mention the A3 or A35. I also think you should try hunting down a XA2 for consideration (I got mine for $299 recently).

I also like the idea of having a single player solution. That was my plan until I found the XA2 for such a bargain and my XA1 started giving me a lot of play back problems suddenly. Some people are saying the BH200 is showing up at BB but the price might be a little high right now vs. buying 2 seperate players. Some day I will get a single player solution, but I am very happy with my HD-XA2 and BD-P1200 combo right now. I am space limited though and between the HD, BD, Xbox 360 and Universal DVD disc players I simply have to many optical disc players in my rack, but now at this point I will wait until a true HD-Universal player (SACD, DVD-A, HD DVD, Blu-Ray profile 2.0, DVD, CD, etc...) comes out. Hoping my XA2 and 1200 don't crap out on me anytime soon.

Yes, the Bluray remote thing is also a deal breaker for me. I've got a sleek and sexy home theater and having two remotes rather than one (or even a game controller) sitting on the table isn't sleek and sexy. Also, the fan noise is a killer. I sit about 12 feet from my A/V rack (behind me) and could hear my 360 during quieter scenes when playing an HDDVD. It really sucked so I ditched it. I'm afraid the PS3 will be similar. I want DEAD silence at 12ft.

I'd love to get an XA2, but they are still $800-$1000 in Canada.

I would like to wait for the BH200, but in Canada we always get new electronics at least 3-4 weeks after the U.S. does, so if it's barely just showing up now in stores, I'd have to wait over a month to be able to buy it, and it may appear at $1000 here, which would be very expensive for me. The $850+tax combos above are pushing it for me right now.
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-18-2007, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkcheng122 View Post

how come the 40GB PS3 isn't an option? $100 cheaper, comes with SM3, and supposedly runs cooler and quieter as well.

also the sammy 1400 is the only player for both formats that can bitstream the advanced audio, and it's a profile 1.0 player.

there is an option for universal remote for the ps3, but it's not fully functional. you can get the nyko IR remote and program that remote to your harmony. some buttons will be missing, primarily the PS button, others include subtitle and audio but those can be adjusted via the pop-up menu.

Yes, the 40GB PS3 is definitely an option...but how quiet is it? I don't want to hear it at all at a 12ft distance. Like not even faintly.

The Sammy 1400 looks like the best bet right now for me in terms of BRD, if not for the fact that something in the back of my head tells me to wait for a 1.1 profile player or at least confirmation that the 1400 can do 1.1. I'd hate to be 2 years from now with tons of great features on BRD that I can't play because I went with a 1.0 player. ALTHOUGH...in the past on DVD I was never one for "extras"...but these new formats take the extras to a new level...especially with BD Live, etc.
Do you think a lot of 1.0 profile player owners will be dumping their players for 1.1 and 2.0 BRD players in the next year or two as more features come out on the disks?

Tough choices...not sure what to do still, but may just go the 1400/A35 route. I've got the Onkyo that can decode the advanced audio, and apparently it sounds better than letting ANY player do it, even the PS3, so I might as well get a couple players that can HBR (bitstream) it to the Onkyo.

What do you guys think?
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-18-2007, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFigueiredo View Post

Yes, the 40GB PS3 is definitely an option...but how quiet is it? I don't want to hear it at all at a 12ft distance. Like not even faintly.

The 20GB is almost silent at even a couple feet away. It is nothing like the 360 in this regard. Unless they significantly redesigned the cooling of the 40GB model, you will not hear it at all at 12ft. The only real negatives of the PS3 as a BD player are lack of an infrared for programmable remotes and the audio format considerations you have already mentioned.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-18-2007, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Assayer View Post

The 20GB is almost silent at even a couple feet away. It is nothing like the 360 in this regard. Unless they significantly redesigned the cooling of the 40GB model, you will not hear it at all at 12ft. The only real negatives of the PS3 as a BD player are lack of an infrared for programmable remotes and the audio format considerations you have already mentioned.

And has it been confirmed that the PS3 (even the 40GB) will never be able to pass bitstream to a receiver?
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post #11 of 12 Old 10-19-2007, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Which BRD player offers the best pq?

PS3
Samsung 1400
Sony players?
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post #12 of 12 Old 10-19-2007, 11:03 AM
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If you wait a bit longer, you could check out the Samsung 5000 dual format player. It has the Reon chip and bitstreams the advanced audio codecs.

Gary Merson has evaluated a pre-production unit and says it's a real winner in terms of performance.

If you go with a two player setup, get an HDMI switcher. I have three HDMI players (Toshiba HD-A20, Samsung BD-P1200 and an Oppo DV-980H) hooked up to one of my receiver's HDMI inputs using an inexpensive remote controlled three port HDMI switcher. It works great.
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