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DVD Players (Standard Def) > Denon 5900 macroblocking favor
sspears's Avatar sspears 10:16 PM 12-01-2003
I reprod the same macroblocking tonight on my PMDT using Sinbad. It also repros on Bravo D1, Marantz 8400, Sony 7000, RP82, and Arcam FMJ27. (What I had lying around.) The Sinbad is a disc issue. The DVE patterns look the same on all the players too, which was a royal pain since disc navigation is not simple. :)
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LEVESQUE's Avatar LEVESQUE 10:35 PM 12-01-2003
So sspears.

Can we say that the macro-blocking "issue" is not a player problem, but a disk problem then?
pnichols's Avatar pnichols 10:36 PM 12-01-2003

;) As you know, >97% of 3800's did not skip/freeze. I've never seen a 3800 layer change. I've never seen a clandestine 3800 subtitle. 3800 dark areas are smooth as silk. (Ooops ..... the 3800 did have [eliminatable] Y/C Delay, though.)

Had I brought home a $2000 5900 with the issues I'm reading about there would have been a huge "heated discussion" between the spouse and myself!
LEVESQUE's Avatar LEVESQUE 10:41 PM 12-01-2003

My 5900 is doing the same job with layer changes then my 3800. No difference at all. Same performance. Seemless. I've never seen a 5900 layer change.

I didn't see any macro-blocking with my 5900. Blacks areas are smooth as silk. Even "silkier" then with my 3800. Probably that >97% of 5900 owners are not seeing any macro-blocking.

So your argumentation can be utilize exactly the other way around, has you can see.

My 3800 was freezing and skipping every 2 or 3 films. That was major. AND my wife was REALLY annoyed by those skipping when she was listening to a film (it did end-up with some "heated discussion" between the spouse and myself!). :D
Joe Murphy Jr's Avatar Joe Murphy Jr 11:09 PM 12-01-2003
I think it would be a good idea when reporting no problems, minor problems or major problems with a player, the display being used and any other associated equipment (scaler, processor, etc) should be mentioned, along with the type of output (DVI, component, S-video, etc). These items may be key as to why some people have no complaints and others have several.
RJ28462's Avatar RJ28462 11:10 PM 12-01-2003
I watched TTT again last night on my RP82 to re-investigate the strange subtitles that surprised me the first time. I believe they're a normal part of the movie. The creators used subtitles when the dialog is non-english, chaps 13, 25, 30. It's not totally obvious that the language isn't English. I think this is what you're seeing. I have the US Widescreen version.
dr1394's Avatar dr1394 11:55 PM 12-01-2003
I wouldn't consider "Sinbad" to be poorly encoded. To me, it's just the way
MPEG-2 works with DCT's, motion estimation and 8-bit YCbCr. The lines in the
Goddess' hair require some high frequency coefficients, which upsets the DC
level of the DCT. I've attached the I-frame that is 3 frames before the
previous picture I posted. Note that all of the slightly darker areas are
adjacent to the lines in her hair.

dr1394's Avatar dr1394 12:00 AM 12-02-2003
Then, the motion vectors in the P-frame that I posted are a bit chaotic in
the area of the Goddess' hair. This tends to spread out the darker blocks
coded in the I-frame predictor. Note: field predictions are the macroblocks
that are darker blue with an upper and lower vector. Black macroblocks
are intra coded.

dr1394's Avatar dr1394 12:04 AM 12-02-2003
Here's that P-frame again in full-size, so that you can match the motion
vectors to the image.

dr1394's Avatar dr1394 12:14 AM 12-02-2003
Finally, the Sinbad bitstream looks to be encoded by the usual Sony MPEG-2
encoder (the give-away that it's the Sony encoder is the field motion
vectors in a frame with progressive_frame = 1). Most folks consider the
Sony encoder to be a pretty good (like on "Matrix Reloaded"), so IMHO,
it's unlikely that any other encoder could have done a better job.

Kris Deering's Avatar Kris Deering 12:44 AM 12-02-2003
Thank you for all the inputs everyone. I am chocking up the "macroblocking" to the software as I was able to recreate the problem using several players all of different brands with the exact same effect. I have not had any subtitle problem at all. As for the layer change, I have seen it about 3 times now but the player still passes our test flawlessly. Personally I don't think a half second layer change occasionally is anything to get in a hoot about as that is faster then 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the players out there.

We can bat at this all day back and forth but I trust my research and Stacey's a bit more at this point. Also, thanks a bunch to Ron for the information on the Sinbad disc, I only wish I could do those tests here on my own.
Fangaar's Avatar Fangaar 01:20 AM 12-02-2003
First off I never said that the caption appearing during LotR:TTT was any sort of major problem. I have the US version of the DVD, btw.

Tonight I played that same disk through and the caption mentioned did not pop up this time - so it appears to be inconsistent.

BTW, it has nothing to do with the actual sub-titles in the movie. I am well aware of when english is being spoken and when it's not.

The sub title that popped up on me is during the scene with the orcs outside Fanghorn forest and refers to "a flank" of one of the hobbits.

I do have high expectations for the player due to the price tag I paid. This is not a $49 DVD player. I don't expect sloppy little things like random CC text popping up when I watch DVDs for this price tag, but if that was the only negative thing about the player then I am certain I'd be a satisfied consumer.

However, the fact is that I do consider the player has having one major flaw, and that has already been discussed to death: 4:3 DVDs need to be sent out in 4:3 on the DVI port in 720p. The auto stretch is a real oversight, and if anything about this player leaves me feeling unsatisfied by the expense this is it, not the CC text.

If Denon is getting feedback I certainly hope they will upgrade the firmware to add this feature.

I tried putting the player in 480p mode, but then it showed my 16:9 DVDs with black bars on the side just like 4:3, so this was no solution for me. I found no combination of TV/DVD settings that will allow me to watch 4:3 and 16:9 content in their intended aspect ratio without having to change the DVD from 480p to 720p as appropriate.

So I eagerly read this thread and place my hope in the fact that Denon seems to be interested in hearing from their consumers, which is more than I can say for other component manufacturers. If they listen to the feedback and make changes I will be impressed and certainly remain loyal to the brand in the future.

nighthacker's Avatar nighthacker 07:43 AM 12-02-2003
I tried both Lord of the rings: FOTR and TTT both in EE and I have not been able to get the subtitles to pop up. The PQ on both is just breathtaking. Last night I watched the mines of moria chapter and I was just glued to the picture. The blacks were so deep and detailed it just blew me away. I have yet to see a better player that can do so much for the price I paid, which by the way was $1400.00. My setup is a 5900 going into a 5803 and then into a Tosh 57hx81 that has been ISF'd. You gotta love this stuff.


On a side note: Can anyone here stand going to a movie theater anymore. I find that I have to walk out most of the time because the PQ is so bad. I have a feeling that this is a side effect of home theater.
Dave Vaughn's Avatar Dave Vaughn 07:48 AM 12-02-2003
Originally posted by nighthacker
IOn a side note: Can anyone here stand going to a movie theater anymore. I find that I have to walk out most of the time because the PQ is so bad. I have a feeling that this is a side effect of home theater.
I couldn't agree with you more. Besides the crummy picture on their projector, the sound is cranked up too loud (in the wrong places) and their popcorn is too damn expensive!

Darin's Avatar Darin 08:45 AM 12-02-2003
Originally posted by Kris Deering
I am currently in the midst of the benchmark tests and have had a 5900 in my possesion for a few weeks now. ... I also tried the scenes from the Sinbad DVD on the Pioneer 563 and didn't notice any of the same problems.
OT: are you going to be posting any tests of the 563, or any of the newer Pioneers?
sspears's Avatar sspears 09:19 AM 12-02-2003
Why do you have to send 4x3 out over DVI as 4x3? Why not use the aspect ratio control built into the player and put bars on the side?
Kris Deering's Avatar Kris Deering 10:35 AM 12-02-2003

Fangaar's Avatar Fangaar 11:01 AM 12-02-2003
sspears: it doesnt work with DVI output.

I want to watch my material in OAR across the board which I cannot do via DVI without changing the DVI port output from 480p (for 4:3) to 720p (16:9), this is the problem.

If I am doing something wrong and somebody knows how to do what I want I'd love to be corrected.

Joe Murphy Jr's Avatar Joe Murphy Jr 12:22 PM 12-02-2003
Are you sure it's the DVD5900 not allowing you to do this? Is there a possibility that the display is doing the stretching?

I don't know if that's what is happening. I just thought I'd throw it out there, just in case.
Ahardt's Avatar Ahardt 01:46 PM 12-02-2003
Originally posted by Kris Deering
As for the layer change, I have seen it about 3 times now but the player still passes our test flawlessly.
I'm just curious, not trying to be obtuse- but, how does it pass the test "flawlessly" if you can see layer changes on some discs? I know the "excellent" standard is less than 1 second, but the 1/2 second layer change in the 5900 is not "flawlessly" is it? It is definitely better than most players, but "flawlessly"? Not to nitpick your word choice, but that is pretty strong wording.

I feel like there is some sort of Denon favorable bias going on here (not saying that's the case- just the feeling I get from all I've read). Denon makes great players, no doubt about it, but problems shouldn't be minimized just because they'll HOPEFULLY be remedied in the near future, should they? Or because people are discussing the problems with Denon to try to get things worked out? Or because Denon is receptive to feedback? For someone purchasing a player TODAY, these can be very real issues- especially for the cost of the 5900. Just because Denon has a great reputation and strives to meet higher standards than most manufacturers doesn't mean that issues should be relegated to being "non-issues" or "minor" just because they're not as "major" as they COULD possibly be. This is an expensive player, so shouldn't it be held to a higher standard than less expensive ones, or at least the same level of standard? Or is the PQ so amazing that these issues truly become non-issues?

My concern is that if some of these problems were seen in a different brand of player, the player would be dismissed and the flaws labeled as "flaws" in a factual manner, but with the Denon, they are relatively "minor" and "fixable". I think it's ok to say that DESPITE these issues, in the grand scheme of things they aren't a big deal because of the overall PQ. On the other hand, to say that random CC text popping up (which would piss me off royally- even if it only happened occasionally), visible layer changes, etc, do not affect PQ is not completely factual (I would consider interruptions in the film as compromising the PQ). I can't imagine that if CC text popped up randomly on some other player it would be dismissed this easily. I think I must be missing something here.
sspears's Avatar sspears 02:00 PM 12-02-2003
The test Kris uses for the layer change is a pretty hard test. It is done at 9.n Mbps and is an RSDL change. In theory it is really is as bad as it should ever be. It is possible to author a disc where the layer change is not RSDL and would be even slower. These are pretty uncommon, but not un heard of. Perhaps the discs that Kris has seen a layer change on is such a disc.

It is also possible that there are extra op codes on those discs telling the player to perform more flushing. Not really sure. It would be interesting to back up on one of the titles and see if the time is consistent. Then try it on other players using that and the test disc Kris uses to see if they are relative.

ie 0 seconds on WHQL, 1 second on foo for player X.
ie 1 second on WHQL, 2 seconds on foo for player y.
Kris Deering's Avatar Kris Deering 02:36 PM 12-02-2003

I know that this thread can be taken as favortism for Denon but it really isn't. What I am trying to convey is people seem to be going to ridiculous lengths here for minor problems.

I rate every player the same in the benchmark as did Stacey and Don. The same tests and nothing is fared because of the manufacturer. All the issues I have seen will be reported on.

One thing that has been continually brought up here is the price of the Denon, as if that means something in our shootout. Most of the "expensive" players we have tested have done much worse then this player, so what standard are those held to.

In fact the only high priced player that I recall ever doing very well in our benchmark tests is the Camelot Roundtable back in the first shootout. What does that tell you.

I can guarentee that any issue with the Denon that we have found WILL be cited on the benchmark report. I just wanted the people that were concerned to know that Denon has taken a intense interest in our findings to try and resolve any issues we've found. Not many companies do this, but that doesn't give them more preference in the testing.
Joe Murphy Jr's Avatar Joe Murphy Jr 03:54 PM 12-02-2003
>>>I would consider interruptions in the film as compromising the PQ<<<

Two words: laserdisc player.

On the whole, I agree with most of what you are saying (except for the Denon bias). When a major company comes out with a new "statement player" (sort of), it should at least equal previous players and should at least raise the bar in a few categories.

As Stacey points out, how the DVD5900 compares to other players when playing the test discs that Secrets uses should be the real test of handling the complicated stuff. However, this doesn't mean that there won't be other discs out there now, or in the future, that give even the best DVD players a twitch or two. How a disc is authored and what type of material is being encoded plays a large part in how the players handle the material.

That doesn't mean the DVD5900 should be given a thumbs-up if it can't pass certain tests easily or doesn't pass a test that some of the (presumed) lesser players do. Maybe when the new shootout tests/product reviews are posted these issues will be more clear as to whether the new Denon really is the one to get or one to consider.

Of course, some people have already made their decisions.
Ahardt's Avatar Ahardt 04:18 PM 12-02-2003
I really appreciate you taking seriously and then addressing my concerns.

I agree that the Denon price tag shouldn't be relevant in a shootout, and I know that in past shootouts, price hasn't been at all relevant (excepting to point out that a lower priced player did much better than many higher priced ones). However, from a consumer viewpoint, cost is almost always a factor in choosing a player, that's probably why the Denon price tag is so often commented upon. A consumer expects a player that is higher priced to perform better. Consumers know that's not always (hardly ever) the case, but the consumer nonetheless has that expectation. If it costs more, the consumer expects it to perform better (logically, subconsciously, whatever) even though past shootout results have indicated that price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. But, there is such a large price difference between a $300 player and a $1200 (or more) player, that one can't help but be more critical of the more expensive player from a consumer standpoint. I do understand that from a scientific angle, price means nothing, and this is definitely how it should be. Just wanted to give you a possible explanation for all the "Denon pricetag" comments.

I feel very comforted to know that the 5900 will be reviewed with as critical an eye as any other player reviewed. I rely much on the shootout results, not so much to choose a particular player, but more to know the current dvd player "standard" that is out there- what players are capable of, who has raised the bar, who has lowered their standards, what "poison" I'm going to get in any given player, as well as what to look for in a player in general. I didn't want to think that the unbiased nature of the Shootouts was being "compromised" like everything else in this world (not due to anything sinister- but due to the hopes and expectations of finding that "perfect player" and finally getting a company that gives a whit about producing a good product). I realize these are DVD players we're talking about here, not life and death, but I've got to take my idealism where I can get it- and movies are one of the main ways I get it, and DVD players are the medium to do that. Now, how freakin' cheesy is THAT? But....true.
Kris Deering's Avatar Kris Deering 04:38 PM 12-02-2003
The shootout isn't really meant to tell you which player is the best to buy in a given price range. As I mentioned before many of the higher priced players don't score as well as some of the cheaper ones. But that doesn't mean that they aren't a "better" player.

One has to look farther then the benchmark for that. The benchmark is only about video performance, which only accounts for so much of what a player is capable of.

Take for example the 5900. Many are comparing its performance to the 2900 because it has a seamless layer change. But the 5900 doesn't have the CUE problem, has a better de-interlacing solution overall (film & video), has a much better build, adds Denon link and 1394 outputs for hi rez, sports two DSPs for audio, has BNC component outputs, and has scalable video via DVI.

So how can you compare the two? Think about what the RP-82 offered in comparison?? Or the Krell DVD Standard at $8K?!?

This is why we don't really talk about price in the shootout because this only covers one part of the player, and not the whole picture. We reserve that to our full length individual reviews.

In my opinion most of the true enthuasists on these boards should stop pointing the fingers so much at the DVD player manufacturers because of small inconvienences and start pointing the finger at the DVD studios who have passed off SO many half assed transfers only to turn around and sell you another half assed one down the line claiming to be improved. Most of the issues these players look for are due to poor DVD encoding and the ability of the player to fix it. There is the true bad guy.
RKW2's Avatar RKW2 04:56 PM 12-02-2003
Can't wait for this review. Is it possible to confirm that the signal from the DVI out is all digital and doesn't get converted to analog in the 5900 at some point. That worry is about the only thing holding me back from upgrading at this point. Thanks.
Ahardt's Avatar Ahardt 04:59 PM 12-02-2003
Originally posted by Kris Deering
... and start pointing the finger at the DVD studios who have passed off SO many half assed transfers only to turn around and sell you another half assed one down the line claiming to be improved. Most of the issues these players look for are due to poor DVD encoding and the ability of the player to fix it. There is the true bad guy.
No doubt. Cheap, cheap, cheap discs, then they charge you out the azz for them and then do it again. And we keep letting them do it. The same as when CDs came out and they said the price would drop to the same price as tapes and LPs, which we all know, NEVER happened. In fact, they only got MORE expensive.

If the DVD player and disc producers both did their part (and the studios made more decent movies in general) we'd be set for life.

I sometimes believe that most of these manufacturers produce sub-par products because they know we will always be around to buy the next better one and they'll make more bones. Make a perfect player, and we'll never buy another one. Paranoid and cynical? Probably. I also think we never landed on the moon and that Oswald didn't act alone ;).
kevinca1's Avatar kevinca1 05:12 PM 12-02-2003
Amen Kris. I have said that many times and got riddiculed for it. Many people sit and the first thing they do is blame th eplayers when its the pos disk that the stuidos put out. How can you blame a player when the studio dosent make the disk right, You can buy one dvd and it will blow you away then you buy another and it is as good as a vhs tape. For example The Ref that is one bad looking dvd, So if they cant produce all dvds the same who can you expect the players to be perfect.
Gadgetzilla's Avatar Gadgetzilla 06:04 PM 12-02-2003
Dave Vaughn wrote:
I will post a picture tomorrow of what it looks like.
Hi Dave,

Just wondering if you had a chance to get that picture.
Martin Butler's Avatar Martin Butler 06:37 PM 12-02-2003
Kris, I do get what your saying, Kevinca as well, but it's things like someone having trouble with a disc and then it plays perfectly well on four other DVD players, that concerns me.

Any news if Denon plans to make a silver faceplate available as they did for the 2900?
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