Ok, I am going to provide a rather meaningless report to you people, but it is good enough to satisfy me. Last night, since I have both an Oppo 970H and a SDI modded Panny RP-82, I decided to do a little a little comparison even though I know full well that it is not in any way fair. I only used one test DVD The Fifth Element Superbit
, as I know every little nuance about this particular title (or at least the parts that I watch over and over again).
Also let me preface it by saying that I ran both units through a Crystalio 2 using Gennum processing and fed as 1080p to my Sony Ruby's DVI input on a 114" High Power screen. The 970H was outputting 480i over HDMI and the RP-82 was outputting SDI that was performed by Immersive back when they were selling SDI cards for PCs (the Holograph 3D).
At first I preferred the Panny by a small margin...It was more detailed, yet smoother overall with better color saturation and a slightly more 3D look to it. But then I thought to myself that maybe I could make the 970H look just as good if I worked on the PQ via the C2's excellent set of tools. Well, what do you know...the biggest difference between these two could be chalked up to calibration!! By using the GetGray calibration disc I tweaked up the Y/C delay (one was off by 0.25 pixel and the other by 0.5 pixel) so that they were both perfect. I adjusted the color saturation and hue to make them as identical as possible, as well as performing a careful job adjusting black and white levels so that they were as identical as possible.
Once I adjusted the calibration on the 970H to look like the Panny as much as possible, I could not reliably tell which was which any more...They looked, to my untrained eyes, virtually identical, enough so that I am convinced that the 970H can be every bit as good as the SDI modded RP-82, orr at least so close that I really don't care which one I watch. If I were to really scrutinize for differences, the RP-82 might still be a hair more detailed and transparent than the 970H, but I really don't know if it is just because I convinced myself that it should
be, or if it actually is.
A few caveats here:
1. I only used one test source, and maybe differences will show up using different material.
2. I am not the eagle-eyed viewer that some of you are. Though I think my ability to evaluate PQ is fairly good, I am sure that there are the "golden eyed" among us that will be able to see things that I can't.
3. The Crystalio 2 is an EXCELLENT processor and can bring out the best in any source. People with no external processor or a lesser processor might not be able to attain the same results.
4. Maybe I am just plain nuts!
The thing that I came away with after my little experiment was that even though there were visual differences between the two when simply plugged into the same processor/display, those differences could be wiped out through careful calibration. After matching the two sources as well as I could, I saw no reason to prefer the picture of one over the picture of the other - both of them looked absolutely incredible! If there are any differences, they are so small as to be meaningless to someone like myself. I also proved to myself just how important good processing is - I could have never equalized the two pictures if I didn't have a phenomenal processor to help me out, and in that case I would have definitely preferred the SDI, though still not by a HUGE margin.
Oh, so I have decided not to bother SDI modding my 970H...It simply is money and labor not well spent in my case.