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HDMI 1080p24 output and audio bitstreaming: Better in $2K player vs $500 player?

post #1 of 430
Thread Starter 
I have been reading for months about the claims by folks with $2K BD players (e.g. Sony 5000ES, Denon 3800, Pioneer 09) that 24P is somehow 'better' than 24P from the run of the mill Sony standalones, PS3, or Panasonics...

Personally, I have owned 6 BD players of all flavors (prices). I have a Denon 3800 but have owned a Sony S500, S300, Panasonic BD 10 and OPPO beta piece.

Frankly, on my large 14' wide screen (or 58" plasma), I have yet to see any appreciable difference. Personally, I am at a loss for such claims. The only thing I can see as a root cause is I know the Pioneer's have been said by owners to somehow manipulate the 24P signal with the deep color thing or such (I think I read an explanation from SillySally). Now, taking the original and manipulating it, would change it and make it technically less accurate. But to some eyes may make it look 'better'. And that is fine for them.

The same with audio... I have read many folks with $2K players claim that bitstreamed or LPCM seems 'better' when compared to their cheap PS3 or lesser player in their rack..... again, I think this is hogwash, too. I don't buy the jitter argument for lossless multi-track movie soundtracks either (now for single track, audiophile recording of an instrumental solo (where a reference to the instrument's true sound is known), there may be a noticeable improvement.

What is the general consensus here in lossless audio and 24P video on a pricey machine versus a standard one?
post #2 of 430
I agree with you; I see/hear no appreciable difference, especially a difference worth the cost. I use two PS3's as my primary players in my setups, and will be installing a Panasonic BD35 during my front projector system renovation. I've seen the pricier Denon players in action (on setups other than mine), and the real-world difference was little to none. My displays are always ISF-calibrated, and I am currently using a Kuro 151 (replacing a calibrated 5010) in my 5.1 system, and a yet-to-be calibrated ae3000u (replacing a previously calibrated ae1000u) in my 7.2 front projection setup, and I'm perfectly content with the "cheaper" blu-ray players.

I think the perceived difference is the psychological mechanism that kicks in to tell us that what we paid for was worth it. It happens all the time in this hobby, as you know.
post #3 of 430
It's called the Placebo effect. If you need to spend 2k on a player then you MUST see a quality difference in the picture and/or sound to justify your purchase.
post #4 of 430
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsloms View Post

It's called the Placebo effect. If you need to spend 2k on a player then you MUST see a quality difference in the picture and/or sound to justify your purchase.

I bought the 3800 simply for its ability to decode DTS MA via LPCM.. At the time, only it and the PS3 could do so..
post #5 of 430
The YCbCr 4:2:0 on the disc has to be be upsampled to 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 (I don't know what the various players output) but a player would have to 'f' it up in order to see a difference between players. The reason this type of compression works is that the eye is insensitive to the color components compared to the luma component. i.e the black/white part of the signal is what carries most of the detail. Color is just icing on the cake.

larry
post #6 of 430
I would expect analog audio, but not bitstream audio to be improved.
post #7 of 430
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donnie Eldridge View Post

I would expect analog audio, but not bitstream audio to be improved.

Right. In my original post, I ask whether lpcm or bitstream differ.
post #8 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by PooperScooper View Post

The YCbCr 4:2:0 on the disc has to be be upsampled to 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 (I don't know what the various players output) but a player would have to 'f' it up in order to see a difference between players. The reason this type of compression works is that the eye is insensitive to the color components compared to the luma component. i.e the black/white part of the signal is what carries most of the detail. Color is just icing on the cake.

larry


This is what I'm not clear on with a player like the Pioneer 09, for example. It upsamples to 48 bit and such and I would think that would be a nice "refinement/improvement" on PQ for lack of a better word.

I'm not really fully clear yet on exactly what that player is doing when those modes are activated. I saw some chat in the 09 thread about some edge enhancement being added, if I read that right, and I would not want that. Extra EE would NOT be an improvement to me although it seemed the person that got that did it by maxing out the detail setting which is probably not recommended.

^^
That's a guess by me since I have not been able to see it for myself yet. Same goes with the Sony 5000ES and its 12 bit Super Map Trick.

I voted
Quote:
24P Video AND lossless is "improved"* on a $2K machine versus a cheaper one

With a quotation and asterik by the word improved.

I would expect LPCM and analog audio to be improved and on paper I would expect bitstream to be no different although believe it or not I know a few individuals that swear they've heard some differences in bitstream situations.
post #9 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsloms View Post

It's called the Placebo effect. If you need to spend 2k on a player then you MUST see a quality difference in the picture and/or sound to justify your purchase.

If members state that the 2K players have a pleasing look, I can agree with. What I don't get is when two members compared the same player i.e. 09 and different conclusions.

1) component it be what he or she wants to see?

2) A different component in the setup and NOT the player

3) Maybe power conditioners, I don'y know
post #10 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Q of BanditZ View Post

This is what I'm not clear on with a player like the Pioneer 09, for example. It upsamples to 48 bit and such and I would think that would be a nice "refinement/improvement" on PQ for lack of a better word.

I'm not really fully clear yet on exactly what that player is doing when those modes are activated. I saw some chat in the 09 thread about some edge enhancement being added, if I read that right, and I would not want that. Extra EE would NOT be an improvement to me although it seemed the person that got that did it by maxing out the detail setting which is probably not recommended.

ey've heard some differences in bitstream situations.

You have a 1080p display and 1080p source, what's to change? Converting to 1080i or 1080p60 still should end up with the same image on a 1080p display when done properly. Purists want to see what's on the disc. Extra video processing is just going to conjure up fake data. Some people like the extra sharpening/EE. My guess is they sit too far away from the display or are used to improperly calibrated displays. As long as they're happy, who can argue. (I just noticed Jeff said the same thing) Things are different when there's scaling to be done.

larry
post #11 of 430
Thread Starter 
Joerod for one feels $2K players are better and he sees subjective improvements. I'm curious for his and other like supporters. I spent for a $2K machine but feel 24P is easily picked up from the disc by any player. I had my pj isf calibrated and see no differences with 24P output regardless of which player I use.
post #12 of 430
With video, some sort of test pattern, clip, or measurement can easily show how one player improperly displays the video and how the 09 does it correctly. Where are they? Or is it like I stated, some people prefer modified data compared to what is on the disc? That's personal taste, which is an opinion and we all know the saying about opinions...

larry
post #13 of 430
Interesting poll...

Having just purchased the Pioneer Elite 09 I hope some of the claims are true...but each of us have different gear and different rooms and viewing habits. Those 'intangibles' must be a part of the equation since none of us have the luxury of doing this things in a professionally controlled lab.

The other factor that must be stated is the pride of ownership. I purchased the 09 with the possibility of it not being providing any real image improvement over the already excellent Pioneer 51 player. But the build quality, elegance, and showpiece-manship of the 09 was worth it to me. If it indeed does some technical things better then that's my icing.

But I also feel that a player like these higher end ones should provide some amount of superior performance. From reading forums like AVS it seems that on some level the big guns from Pioneer, Sony, & Denon do.
post #14 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Joerod for one feels $2K players are better and he sees subjective improvements. I'm curious for his and other like supporters. I spent for a $2K machine but feel 24P is easily picked up from the disc by any player. I had my pj isf calibrated and see no differences with 24P output regardless of which player I use.


I think that Joe says there is 7-8% improvement with 09 for BD PQ. I would like to know how he quantified that 7-8%.
post #15 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-HD View Post

I think that Joe says there is 7-8% improvement with 09 for BD PQ. I would like to know how he quantified that 7-8%.

I'm not sure what that means nor do I know what the one guy in that 09 thread meant when he said his 09 was "50 percent better than the PS3" either.

None of that stuff means anything on its face to lurking fence sitters such as myself.
post #16 of 430
I own the Denon 3800 and Sony S550. They to me are equivalent in 24p and audio. Where they differ is the dvd upscaling. The Denon is built like a tank so less prone to vibrations which would cause problems in playing a disc.

As to people who say that there is a difference, it is due to out of the box settings. Calibrate the players and I would be surprised if someone was able to tell the difference.
post #17 of 430
My opinion (and it's just that):

- Buy the cheapest player that has the features and hardware you want and spend the rest on a good AVR and display. Those two are more likely to get you more by spending more.

Better AVRs often have more inputs and outputs, multi-room audio, better power supplies and advance audio decoding.

Better TVs can offer better contrast ratio, advance screen viewing options, memory card readers, more input and output options, true 120hz refresh rate, and, of course, large size.

On the other hand, if a cheaper player decodes the advanced codecs, has analog outputs, a good upscaling chipset, BD Live access and extras, like Netflix, there's no reason to pay more.
post #18 of 430
Thread Starter 
I think the smarter folks here would agree that buying a $500 player and spending $1.5K more towards a better plasma is smarter than $2K got a player and a less than reference display.
post #19 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I think the smarter folks here would agree that buying a $500 player and spending $1.5K more towards a better plasma is smarter than $2K got a player and a less than reference display.

So when are you going to sell your Denon 3800 and buy something like a Sony 350/550 or Panasonic 35/55 and pocket the difference?
post #20 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I think the smarter folks here would agree that buying a $500 player and spending $1.5K more towards a better plasma is smarter than $2K got a player and a less than reference display.

I guess in my wordiness, my point was muddled. In short, I'd pay 4 times the price for a TV or an AVR since that additional cost really does matter. I don't think there is any detectable difference between a $500 player and one costing 4 times the price.

On the other hand, the difference between a $200 player and a $500 player is pretty big.
post #21 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I think the smarter folks here would agree that buying a $500 player and spending $1.5K more towards a better plasma is smarter than $2K got a player and a less than reference display.

Nail, head, hammer... That sort of thing. Spend a little extra and get your A/V properly calibrated would make more sense to me.
post #22 of 430
Since you said "expect", I voted for the first option even though I think we can agree that it doesn't.

"24P Video AND lossless is improved on a $2K machine versus a cheaper one."

Obviously thebland is telling us something in secret messages since he has his hands on the proto Oppo 83.
post #23 of 430
$2k machines would hopefully last longer or not.
post #24 of 430
Thread Starter 
Bits is bits - be 'em simple 24P being lifted off a disc or bitstream/lpcm from a movie soundtrack - it all looks/sounds the same. All you get for $2k in my opinion is a better analog machine, better scaling, better looks and, perhaps(?), better reliability. Now spend big bucks on a display or device that converts digital audio or video to analog and that's where the smart money is in my opinion. Simple - but in the context of home theater, few seem to get it.
post #25 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by avsuser008 View Post

$2k machines would hopefully last longer or not.

Doubtful. Solid state electronics are pretty reliable. Usually, it will either fail within a couple weeks or last quite a few years. I doubt a machine that costs 4 times as much would last 4 times as long.

Honestly, most failures occur as a result of heat issues. I would hope that extra $1500 wasn't for a $30 fan upgrade or an extra 1/4 teaspoon of thermal grease.
post #26 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I have been reading for months about the claims by folks with $2K BD players (e.g. Sony 5000ES, Denon 3800, Pioneer 09) that 24P is somehow 'better' than 24P from the run of the mill Sony standalones, PS3, or Panasonics...

Personally, I have owned 6 BD players of all flavors (prices). I have a Denon 3800 but have owned a Sony S500, S300, Panasonic BD 10 and OPPO beta piece.

Frankly, on my large 14' wide screen (or 58" plasma), I have yet to see any appreciable difference. Personally, I am at a loss for such claims. The only thing I can see as a root cause is I know the Pioneer's have been said by owners to somehow manipulate the 24P signal with the deep color thing or such (I think I read an explanation from SillySally). Now, taking the original and manipulating it, would change it and make it technically less accurate. But to some eyes may make it look 'better'. And that is fine for them.

The same with audio... I have read many folks with $2K players claim that bitstreamed or LPCM seems 'better' when compared to their cheap PS3 or lesser player in their rack..... again, I think this is hogwash, too. I don't buy the jitter argument for lossless multi-track movie soundtracks either (now for single track, audiophile recording of an instrumental solo (where a reference to the instrument's true sound is known), there may be a noticeable improvement.

What is the general consensus here in lossless audio and 24P video on a pricey machine versus a standard one?

I'm with you on this one Jeff.

However, I would have phrased the poll question(s) differently, making it clear that you are not talking about using the analog section of the player.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Bits is bits - be 'em simple 24P being lifted off a disc or bitstream/lpcm from a movie soundtrack - it all looks/sounds the same. All you get for $2k in my opinion is a better analog machine, better scaling, better looks and, perhaps(?), better reliability. Now spend big bucks on a display or device that converts digital audio or video to analog and that's where the smart money is in my opinion. Simple - but in the context of home theater, few seem to get it.

Bingo!
post #27 of 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Bits is bits - be 'em simple 24P being lifted off a disc or bitstream/lpcm from a movie soundtrack - it all looks/sounds the same. All you get for $2k in my opinion is a better analog machine, better scaling, better looks and, perhaps(?), better reliability. Now spend big bucks on a display or device that converts digital audio or video to analog and that's where the smart money is in my opinion. Simple - but in the context of home theater, few seem to get it.

I can go with this.
post #28 of 430
I think the poll will go down for those that own a PS3 and those that have higher end gear.

I agree that folks should choose and prioritize which of their gear to splurge on but if all the rest of our gear is of high quality then it's also ok to keep the same high end food chain.
post #29 of 430
Thread Starter 
You're right.

Mods: could you modify the poll question numbers 2&3 by adding 'HDMI' in front of 'lossless audio' in those choices?
post #30 of 430
Every time this topic comes up (quite often ) I reference this post as it pretty much covers it as far as I'm concerned.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post14622528

A snippet...

The outputs of the video decoder blocks on the SoCs are bit-accurate for H.264 and VC-1, meaning the decoded video quality at that point is exactly the same for all players.

So, the differences in players is in the post-processing of the video, such as scaling, deinterlacing, edge enhancement, noise reduction, color correction, etc. This is where the "art" comes in.

Some player manufacturers (and consumers) may also tweak various settings (such as brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, sharpness, edge enhancement, 2D/3D noise reduction, gamma, color conversion, etc.) to achieve the specific "look" to the video that they want. The most accurate picture, although possibly not the most personally visually pleasing picture, is when all those type of controls are bypassed or zero'd out.


Also this post...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...9#post14633159

Although with MPEG-2 sources there can be a little wiggle room since the video decoding for MPEG-2 isn't bit-accurate. The same thing happened to DVD players, with manufacturers tweaking the post processing to achieve their desired "look" to the picture.
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