Time to crown a new SDI DVD king! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 400 Old 04-02-2007, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Well guys, I think the time has come where the Panasonic classics have finally met their match, this illustrious personality is known as the Oppo 981

I have been working on the new Oppo 981 over the past few weeks and I finally got time to set down with it and my DVDO VP50, I checked out what I think are the 2 best SD DVD's ever made, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi

I have never seen a SDI image of this quality, the Oppo 981 is every bit as good as the Panasonic RP82/RP91 and maybe a pinch more, I think the Oppo may have slightly better colors, it is sharp as a tack and clean as a whistle, strikingly so

I compared the HDMI output at 480p into my VP50, which features a amazing Prep process that extracts the original 480i image, comparing this to the SDI 480i image was a riot, a child could see the difference, I checked out the 1080i output and it wasn't much better, the stock Oppo outputs look like **** IMHO

I have to say, the Oppo 981 is NOT a easy SDI mod as was the 971, I never had the pleasure of modding or seeing a 971 Oppo but I hear they were easy, no such luck on the 981, I can say one thing, those that think they can use a moome card or the PMS BT656 kit will be sadly mistaken

-Gary
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post #2 of 400 Old 04-02-2007, 05:41 PM
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I'm probably going to regret asking this, but how does the 970's hdmi 480i output stack up?
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post #3 of 400 Old 04-02-2007, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Mdrew, the problem there is that I have never seen the 970, the 981 is a much higher end player though, and the black case = sweet!

the 970 and 981 use the identical decoder, the 971 used a slightly different version, I was just looking at the 981 some moore, it is just amazing

-Gary
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post #4 of 400 Old 04-02-2007, 06:19 PM
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Does the 981 output 480i over HDMI? If so, how does that compare to SDI? I'm using an OPPO 970 (480i output HDMI) into my VP50 and the picture is fantastic. SJ
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post #5 of 400 Old 04-02-2007, 06:34 PM
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I wouldn't consider the 981 "much higher end" Gary. The 970 handles SACD better and was designed for an un-adultered 480i hdmi ouput. They are just tailored to differing needs.

I have all three Oppo's and am quite content with the 970 into my VP-50, but your post made me wonder if I should get the 981 modified. (it came with my 1000U in a package deal, and it's just sitting in it's box, not being used)
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post #6 of 400 Old 04-02-2007, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
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SJ, no only 480p at the bottom

mdrew, HDMI has been compared to SDI many times, both at 480i, SDI always came out the winner, the internal process of decoder to HDMI chip and the insertion of HDCP is labled as the various reasons

and the real kicker, most 480i HDMI players send 480i HDMI at 4:4:4, SDI DVD is exactly what is on the disc, 4:2:2, does anyone know what the 970 HDMI port outputs colorspace wise? just pull up the VP50 info screen, I have never seen a player output true 4:2:2 480i HDMI, but I haven't seen everything either

I don't think SDI will ever be surpassed, it's just a different higher-end truly untouched pathway to feed a scaler, that said I would love to get my hands on the 970 and compare them being they use the same identical Mediatek chip, the 981 is just so nice though, the more I look at it, the more I want to say it is the best SDI image I have see

I love to set the 981 to auto and throw in a pal disc, the player changes the SDI output to 576i 50hz 4:2:2 and plays, then you throw in a NTSC disc and it changes the SDI output to 480i 60hz 4:2:2, that is one amazing out of the box feature and with the SDI output it rocks hard for sure

-Gary
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post #7 of 400 Old 04-02-2007, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Murrell View Post

and the real kicker, most 480i HDMI players send 480i HDMI at 4:4:4

The pio 79's 480i HDMI can be configured to output 422. Hopefully some one can compare the Pio against the oppos.
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post #8 of 400 Old 04-02-2007, 11:50 PM
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@Gary, you can crown a new king only if the old one dies. The current king of the SDI players is the Philips 963SA and not the Panasonic. So if you want to crown a new king, the wannabe king first has to beat the Philips.
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post #9 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 03:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madshi View Post

@Gary, you can crown a new king only if the old one dies. The current king of the SDI players is the Philips 963SA and not the Panasonic. So if you want to crown a new king, the wannabe king first has to beat the Philips.

Completely agree with this.
The Panasonics have been surpassed by a few players now (Arcam and Philips are the two which I've seen).
I haven't however seen an SDI Oppo - so I'm not saying it's not better - just that being better than the Pannies, doesn't make it the best.

Also - Audio quality has to be considered - the Panasonic I had (RP82 I think) was poor at audio. The Philips is pretty good (and can be improved by mods by all accounts).
How does the Oppo stack up?
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post #10 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 05:19 AM
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I'd like to see how it stacks up against the Toshiba XA2, which is supposedly the new cream of the crop for upscaling players.

Someday maybe I'll actually WATCH my projector...
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post #11 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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I need to see one of these Philips, for it to beat the RP82/RP91/Denon 1600 and ultimately the Yamaha S2300/CX1 that would mean it has to be one heck of a player

many others would agree(that have seen the Philips) that the Pannies are the top of the game, so there are differing opinions of course , my particular pick for the best SDI image is the Yamaha S2300, but this Oppo 981 may just change that

I noticed CRT Projectors UK is just oo'ing and ah'ing over the 981 SDI

Paul the Oppo upconversion is decent as is the XA2, but they aren't even close to a SDI player and the VP50

-Gary
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post #12 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Murrell View Post

many others would agree(that have seen the Philips) that the Pannies are the top of the game

Please name one of those "many others". Whenever I have read comments by people who have seen both the Panasonic and the Philips, the Philips always came out on top, as far as I remember.
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post #13 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Madshi if I remembered who it was, I would have called them out on it

all I know is that I have got to get ahold of a Philips to see what the mofo is all about

a little 963a, 981 and RP91 face off should be pretty nice

-Gary
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post #14 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 09:38 AM
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Gary how does it compare to a SD-DVD played on the Toshiba HD-DVD player or the your Sony BD player over HDMI at 1080i ? Also if I am not mistaken does this Oppo have the new Faroudja DCDi chip?

~Bobby
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post #15 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 09:52 AM
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Gary, do you think you could take pictures that would show the differences between the two outputs?

You say 'a child could see the difference' 'the oppo output looks like ****' - well I'd like to hear something more specific. Methinks you're just more discerning than you'd care to admit (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)

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post #16 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 10:32 AM
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What is the theoretical background for all these differences?
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post #17 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Murrell View Post

all I know is that I have got to get ahold of a Philips to see what the mofo is all about

a little 963a, 981 and RP91 face off should be pretty nice

Yeah, that would be very nice!
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post #18 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhafner View Post

What is the theoretical background for all these differences?

Mainly differences in the MPEG2 decoder (CUE errors or not? which algorithm is used to upconvert 4:2:0 to 4:2:2? which bitdepth is used internally for decoding to avoid rounding errors? etc).
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post #19 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 10:44 AM
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The real question is, do these theoratical differences make their way to our brain? Or is it another one of those DD vs dts things?

Quote:
Originally Posted by madshi View Post

Mainly differences in the MPEG2 decoder (CUE errors or not? which algorithm is used to upconvert 4:2:0 to 4:2:2? which bitdepth is used internally for decoding to avoid rounding errors? etc).


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post #20 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave G View Post

The real question is, do these theoratical differences make their way to our brain? Or is it another one of those DD vs dts things?

Well, I haven't done blind tests myself. But I find it interesting that the overall rating of SDIed players is more or less identical in US and UK. If the theoretical differences were not big enough for our brain, I guess we'd see much more diversion in the ratings world wide.
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post #21 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 11:08 AM
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And pretty much all DVD review sites out there, whenever a dts track is available, never fail to mention how incredibly superior that track is compared to the DD track. Mostly because it's set at a higher reference volume - and also because it is simply assumed that it is a better technology, so they hear it.

I'm not saying there isn't a clear advantage to SDI over 480i HDMI, but I'd like more than Gary's opinion. Or, if really, 'a child could see the difference' it shouldn't be too hard for Gary to take A/B pics for all to see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madshi View Post

Well, I haven't done blind tests myself. But I find it interesting that the overall rating of SDIed players is more or less identical in US and UK. If the theoretical differences were not big enough for our brain, I guess we'd see much more diversion in the ratings world wide.


D.


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post #22 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave G View Post

The real question is, do these theoratical differences make their way to our brain? Or is it another one of those DD vs dts things?

Dave G oh no! no!, it is nothing like what you are comparing it to, DTS vs DD

it is not like that at all, mpeg decoders have vastly different performance levels, you can check hardcore stuff via test patterns, some are softer than others, some are sharper and more detailed, some have less ringing, some have chroma issues and some don't, you know what I mean, this is not a placebo type effect or blind testing showing no differences, this is different

we all know that if a test pattern looks that much better, then the actual video will be even that much better

women are a good example to test this stuff on, when they can tell the difference then something is up SDI makes that much of a difference in most systems

Dave, what kind of pics are you looking for ? if you are speaking of in person screenshots then no, they will never be able to show the difference in players. taking closeups of test pattern issues maybe, but not plain images, it just isn't possible, there are some screenshots of SDI playback on my webpage for a good idea, here is one of the Yamaha DVD-CX1, my reference standard:



if I posted one of the same setup with the Oppo in place, the images wouldn't show the difference

when I spoke of the differences between the standard 1080i HDMI output and 480i vis SDI to the VP50 scaler that is what I meant by a child telling the difference, that is comparind 230$ of gear vs about 4000$, if the difference wasn't huge then we wouldn't be doing this

-Gary
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post #23 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 11:37 AM
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Thanks for the reply Gary.

For the pics, I guess anything that would show the differences you mention in sharpness etc. For example, same still pic from any of your two Star Wars DVDs, one via SDI, other via 480i HDMI. Doesn't have to be whole screen, you can zoom in on a detail if need be. (Edit: nevermind.)

Something I'm still not quite clear on; I don't doubt that different mpeg decoders can lead to different (visibly so) results, but we're talking same decoder, different hardware paths for output. I know that some additional processing takes place before the signal reaches hdmi, so sdi is 'purer' so to speak. But enough to make a huge difference?

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post #24 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 12:07 PM
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I went from a Panny RP92 SDI to a Philips 963SA SDI via a BR 919. PQ is better with 963SA. Sharper and better blacks/colours. Audio much better.

Martin
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post #25 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 12:38 PM
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Audio is not carried out through SDI. And if you use optical or coax out, audio quality is dependant on your receiver or preamp, not on the transport.

No offense, but this is EXACTLY why I'm so distrustful of people claiming night and day improvements in their setup after a minor upgrade. What does 'sharper black' mean anyway? Edit: Sorry, I realize you probably meant 'sharper image and better blacks'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesthegas View Post

I went from a Panny RP92 SDI to a Philips 963SA SDI via a BR 919. PQ is better with 963SA. Sharper and better blacks/colours. Audio much better.

Martin


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post #26 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 12:54 PM
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Gary the OPPO 970 via HDMI can output 444 colorspace or force RGB colorspace. is RGB 422

Dan
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post #27 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Dan, appreciate that, the true untouched DVD signal should be Y Cb Cr 4:2:2, that is what the SDI outputs, RGB is another conversion(for use with DVI only displays) as is 4:4:4, SDI would instantly have one over on that because of it's untouched nature

the 970 and 981 have the same identical Mediatek chip, so that would be the perfect thing to test, I really need to do that

Dave the SDI output bypasses all internal workings and processing like addition of HDCP and like the majority of players with 480i HDMI, they are 4:4:4 or RGB, which is another conversion

SDI is just a cleaner image, cleaner meaning onscreen, less ringing/halos and noise, the Oppo players stock video outputs are pretty noisy and have some ringing, SDI of course does not

has anyone ever seen a 480i HDMI player that will output a true component 4:2:2? signal?

-Gary
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post #28 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 02:35 PM
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You mean the hdmi has ringing? What adds it to the signal? The hdcp, or (more likely) the conversion to 4:4:4?

D.


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post #29 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Murrell View Post


has anyone ever seen a 480i HDMI player that will output a true component 4:2:2? signal?

-Gary

How would I know this? I can test the 970 / VP-50 if you tell me what to do. Well, provided I can do it without special equipment.
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post #30 of 400 Old 04-03-2007, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Drew, while viewing a DVD with the 970, hit the info button at the top of the VP50 remote, a status screen will come up that lists your firmware and a few other things, in there it will list the input status format and etc., for the 970 it will say 4:4:4

Dave the process from decoder to HDMI chip and output, in addition to the stuff you mentioned like 4:4:4 and HDCP would be the best bet

there has been a few threads here and there that compared 480i HDMI, I think someone compared the 970 with a 971 SDI, the 971 won as SDI always does over HDMI

-Gary
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