Originally Posted by Doug G
Brought my new XDE over to a fellow AVSer's theater last night to do some comparisons against his XA2 using his RS1 on a 120" screen. At this size, any issues should be obvious. We mainly used WOTW and POTC. We didn't perform and calibration and all noise filtering options on all equipment was disabled.
Overall, we were definitely impressed! The XDE does significantly sharpen up the picture without adding any serious or distracting artifacts. It was very natural looking for the most part and did add both perceived detail and depth to the picture. I would liken the sharpening to a very well done unsharp mask in photoshop, when done properly it only sharpens areas that need it resulting in only enhancement to the picture. Compared directly against the XA2, we found that the XDE sharpened somewhere between the "1" and "2" settings, where "2" did tend to look slightly over-sharpened while "1" was much more natural. However, we were able to mitigate this and essentially reduce the XDE to being equivalent with the XA2 "1" setting by turning down the sharpness control a few clicks on the RS1. This really cleaned up some of the noise and slight over enhancement to make the picture as watchable as the XA2. After having made these tweaks, the two players were indistinguishable from one another at this large size. Considering this player costs as little as it does, the performance was simply amazing. HD? No. But pretty darn close and makes regular DVD immensely watchable at large screen sizes. I wonder if those posters who commented it looked over-sharpened might need to similarly reduce their sharpness settings on their displays as we did to achieve a more natural picture.
There was judder evident when the 24fps setting wasn't in use in both 1080p and 1080i modes. We were unable to tell what mode "Auto" used since his version of the RS1 doesn't report the vertical refresh rate (my RS1x does.) But based on a few wide panning shots we watched it didn't appear to be the 24fps option. When enabled, though, the magic of 24fps was clearly evident as there was no judder in any panning shots or during quick action shots - all motion was smooth and extremely fluid. Again, at large screen sizes like this judder is much more of an issue. So the 24fps mode is very effective and worked without any hiccups in the parts we watched from both these two discs.
We did briefly play around with the "color" and "contrast" settings, but mostly just left it on the "sharp" setting. The contrast setting does appear to change the gamma to a lower value which brings out more shadow detail in dark scenes, and the color option definitely accentuates the greens and blues without messing with flesh tones and keeping the appearance of most things fairly normal. For example, in Pirates, the scene with the green apple in the shots on the Black Pearl, the apple would appear almost neon when the color mode was turned on. Again, we hadn't performed any calibration at all. It would probably take some trial and error to see if calibrating it in this color mode would reduce the tendency to over saturate some of the colors to the point where they had more pop without looking artificial. I'll have to play around with this a bit more over the weekend once I get it hooked up to my setup (RS1x with a slightly smaller 104" screen.)
The settings are fairly limited as others have commented. Also, we found the tray design completely ridiculous - there are no cutouts on the side for you to be able to grab the disc out of the player, you have to either push it up from the bottom of use your finger in the hole to pull it out.
Considering how inexpensive this player is, that if offers a true 24fps mode, and that the sharpening can be made equivalent to the XA2 whose initial cost was almost 5x what this player is, I'd say it makes a very good choice for anyone looking for an excellent upconverting player with 24fps capability without breaking the bank. Definitely recommended. I'll be keeping mine!
p.s. I just saw the comments regarding the aliasing in the hair strands above, and while I do agree they're visible in these still shots, we didn't notice anything like this to be evident or obvious during our viewing session. You can see this is visible in all the XDE shots, even the one with all enhancements disabled, and so its clearly an artifact of the budget deinterlacer in the Toshiba and not a result of any of the image processing. For me, unless I can see it during motion video, its really not a big enough issue to make me give up the very good upconversion and 24fps capability.