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SDI dvd players  

post #1 of 408
Thread Starter 
As SDI players are only relevant to us, video processor owners, I thought it would be important to have us review which SDI capable players are currently the best in producing the best picture (and sound) and list their potential problems and/or benefits.

As I understand it, the still-reigning king of SDI modified players is still the Panasonic RP91, with the RP82 running a close second.

However, I understand that Ayre SDI players have a much better sound system (any remarks about video would be appreciated).

A recent post suggested that modified Pioneer players will produce a better image than what was previously thought possible, albeit with the chroma bug present. As this is less of an issue with recent scalers (they all mask and eliminate the Chroma bug), is this still a relevant issue?
post #2 of 408
Originally posted by oferlaor
A recent post suggested that modified Pioneer players will produce a better image than what was previously thought possible, albeit with the chroma bug present. As this is less of an issue with recent scalers (they all mask and eliminate the Chroma bug), is this still a relevant issue?
I believe there are 2 issues to consider here:

1) You're always better off without CUE in the first place. Filtering out the artifacts caused by MPEG decoders with CUE does not yield quite the same quality image as if CUE had not been present to start with.

2) You don't want to vertically filter the chroma if you don't have to. This means you need to know when CUE or ICP is there and only then invoke a chroma filter. If you have a DVD player that does have a full-time CUE problem, then having a full-time filter is fine since you'll always have errors with both progressive and interlaced based source material. However, if you have a player without the CUE problem, you only want the filter turned on when the source material is not encoded as progressive - i.e., you only have ICP.

Also note that the DVD player itself could do a better job filtering CUE than a scaler can. A scaler is a general purpose device and has to deal with problems from all sources. Theoretically, at least, a DVD player knows what MPEG decoder it has, what types of errors it produces, and how it performs the chroma upsampling. It can therefore tailor the chroma filter to the specific characteristics of its particular MPEG decoder. A scaler could do this, I suppose, if it had a list of commonly used MPEG decoders and could vary its vertical chroma filter based upon the decoder actually in use. I don't know of any DVD players except for the ones from Ayre that do onboard chroma filtering.

- Dale Adams
post #3 of 408
This thread is of great interest to me as I am on the cusp of having a dvd player modified for sdi. The question is, which one? Having had my share of "fun" trying to get my Bravo D1 to routinely cooperate, I gave up on the Chinese players and have decided on a higher quality albeit way more expensive player for my system.
Currently I have a Denon 2900 waiting in the wings, but am a bit put off by the recent review in TPV that claims the 2200 has much better audio. Plus Kris Deering wrote that the MPEG decoders in the Denon's aren't the best. Obviously I want to get the best of both audio and video worlds without having to sell an organ to afford it, so it does make me pause before I spend the $ to put the 2900 under the knife... I guess the big question is what player that can be modified for SDI offers the most A/V for the least? Doubtful that there is a DVD player that will be a perfect fit for every wishlist criteria, but there must be one or two that comes close and is not stratospheric in cost. Suggestions?
post #4 of 408
In the quest for a better inexpensive SDI player it may be worth the time for someone to investigate doing an SDI mod on a player using an EM8500 MPEG decoder from Sigma Design (ie: Bravo D1, Momitsu V880). Judging by the Secrets test of the D1 the 480i output, if the analog section is bypassed, will be perfect.
post #5 of 408
There is a new DVD Transport from Theta.. Theta Compli.. with SDI option.. seems like best sound & best picture.. but price is not good.. US 4xxx range...
post #6 of 408
4 G's is way too much -- I hope to max out at 1500 including the $400 or so for the SDI.
Also, having tried an inexpensive unit (D1) I am not too willing to go there again -- The video was good, but audio was on the mediocre side, and it was built like a cheap tin can. Couple that with its routine breakdowns, I am pretty sure I that a modded quality machine from a large manufacturer is the way to go.
post #7 of 408
Since the Denon 1600 is a close cousin to the RP82, would you say the Denon would be a good player to modify?
What firms or individuals are now doing mods?
post #8 of 408
If you want more high-end and great sound, try Bel Canto PL1 with factory installed SDI output, close to 10K
post #9 of 408
excellent thread, ofer - though we seem to have more questions than answers ;)

suggestion: start another thread with folks who modify players and which players and/or folks who sell modified players (ie: in the first instance you mail them your RP82, in the second instance they sell you a new modified RP82).

fwiw, in my search to try to get an SDI mod put on my Meridian 598DP, i've found that (a) many of the companies that used to do mods aren't anymore and (b) the companies that do mods don't like to touch expensive players because the risk far outweighs the reward if something goes bad.

post #10 of 408
I got my premodified RP-82 from PMS Video & so far it is working great via component. I am waiting for Lumagen Vision HDP with SDI. IMO PMS Video has the best price for SDI dvd player.
post #11 of 408
Now PMS Video has premodified Denon players available for very reasonable price.
post #12 of 408
One of my dealers in UK has done great SDI mods on Arcam units. Seem to be the ideal for great audio as well as video.

post #13 of 408
I also bought an SDI-mod'ed RP82 from PMS video. I opened it up and it appears to be a professional job and the player works great.

Unfortunately I don't yet have a SDI input capable device (c'mon DVDO and Lumagen!!!) to test it with so I don't know how well it works! :(

My thoughts were that for the cost of a SDI player and a scaler like those coming from DVDO and Lumagen I could match or better the video quality of a Denon 5900, plus have zero copy protection on the DVI output at any resolution, plus the ability to process other sources at a similar price point.
post #14 of 408
Another question. I am looking into modifying my old pioneer F727 (301 disk changer) to an SDI out unit. I know it will not be a top performer, but the useability of the "disks all in a box" is important, and if I can get PQ closer to what I've been getting with my D1, then I'll be happy enough (for a while anyway).

Anyway, the pioneer injects an OSD into the component stream (a no no to be sure), and I'm wondering if this info would come through on the SDI feed once modified, or if you think this is done last thing in the digital processing realm and would therefore be left out on the sdi feed.

Not a big deal either way, just figuring out a schematic for connections needed and whether I'll need to use the deck's composite out to feet a miniLCD status monitor.

Also, any opinions on how the PQ of this deck, once modified, is likely to compare to a DVI D1, or to other SDI modded players. I know it has the chroma bug. I am planning to get a lumagen HDP DVI unit later this summer. Thanks.

post #15 of 408
Important thread here:

I have 3 SDI modified players, each with pros and cons:

(1) Pioneer DV 47a with Immersive SDI mod: I used this player for about a year or so. I was pretty happy with it until I understood what CUE was...and once I could see it...it bugged me a lot (no pun intended)!!! I decided to stop using it for video...and sent it off to Dan Wright for audio modification and now I use it exclusively for DVD-A and SACD. Sounds great now.

(2) Denon DVD 3300 with upgraded digital audio output and SDI mod by Boelen electronics for *** as a prototype for the Digilink I. Much better video than the DV47a because of the lack of CUE. Good sound too. But after about a year it developed some laser problems and I decided to move to a new player instead of spending much for a repair.

(3) Denon DVD 2900 with JVB SDI modification. Excellent player without CUE!! Great video. Excellent DVD sound. The folks at JVB helped me work out an initial blinking compatibility problem with my Focus Enhancements CS 2.

I've considered moving on to a Theta Compli or an Ayre...but I just really wonder if the video output will be better since SDI taps the MPEG decoder. DD/DTS digital output is probably more dependent on the processor than the source. But who knows?? I'm saving my pennies for now.

post #16 of 408
I have a RP-82 w/ SDI mod connected to a Holo 3D I card. I scale this to 1280x720p for my Panasonic AU500 LCD projector. I find this combo very pleasing.
post #17 of 408
Thread Starter 
I'd say that the real question is how the Denon and Pioneer modded units would compare with modded RP62 and RP82 units.


Your idea is pretty good, but I don't see much participation here by modding companies. JVB had a brief encounter with AVS, but we don't see them here, and I was hoping PMS would chime in...

As these are right now the main companies doing mods (KeyDigital and Immersive are limiting their work in this area), I fear that a modifier thread would have 1-2 posts...

Regarding Ayre, Arcam and Meridian - I think the general consensus is that these are all very good players, but I'm not sure if they're in the price point that would allow many people on this forum to purchase one...
post #18 of 408
I have a RP91 w/ SDI modded by Immersive (they no longer do the mods since requests have plummeted ) scaled thru the Holo II/AUX combo. It's probably the best modded player without spending a fortune for both the build quality of the player itself and the audio quality.

This player deserves it's 'King' title when all is said an done.

post #19 of 408
I'm getting a RP-62 with mod and a PMS SDI card/dscaler combo next week, specifically to compare it to using a software DVD player with FFDShow. It should be interesting.
post #20 of 408
I using a Theta Carmen II and a Denon 3300 mod with a HD Leeza. Both units have good picture and sound but the Theta unit is better at both, especially the sound, which is VERY good. The Carmen can be had for alot less than the Compli and Theta will still mod the unit.
post #21 of 408
I have a Modwright Technics DVD-A10 unit with Immersive SDI output into Holo3 card
post #22 of 408
Harry Brandt wrote:

(3) Denon DVD 2900 with JVB SDI modification. Excellent player without CUE!! Great video. Excellent DVD sound. The folks at JVB helped me work out an initial blinking compatibility problem with my Focus Enhancements CS 2.

I thought the Denon 2900 has CUE, at least in the form of the ICP problem discussed elsewhere in detail. I have a 2900 about to be sent of to Exemplar for the audio mods and will be adding a SDI output so it can also compete against my rp82 with SDI. I'd love to be able to off load the RP82 for the sake of system simplicity. I'll take some screen grabs of them both when they come back via the h3dii and post.
post #23 of 408
How does a sdi modified RP-56 compare to a lot of these players. Is it worth modifying? Thanks
post #24 of 408
82 Immersive modded into HD Leeza. Very pleasing. Going to try new high end Lumagen too.
post #25 of 408
Is the Denon 3800 modifiable? I'm looking for one that has good automation features (the 3800 has a nice serial protocol) but which can suport SDI since I'm using the HD Leeza also.
post #26 of 408

The 2900 can do SDI (I've done it) and it also has a serial protocol.

post #27 of 408
PMDT/Vigatec SDI card?

My dealer gave me his demo PMDT fresh back from a factory upgrade: its interlaced output looks excellent

I am considering a Vigatec SDI board for it: would buy a processor to go with it but I am not sure if the difference would be worth it?
post #28 of 408

The 2900 can do SDI (I've done it) and it also has a serial protocol.
Hmmm.... There's no protocol shown here:


Does it use the same protocol as the 5900 or something like that? I looked through the 5900 protocol document and it didn't mention the 2900 there.
post #29 of 408
Oh, and where could I get the mod done if I did this? I'm not a complete soldering iron idiot, since I have to make a lot of serial cables in my control and automation work. But without pretty explicit instructions, I'm not sure I'd want to attempt it. I saw your basic pictures and whatnot on the DC web site, but I'm not sure I'd want to take it on with just that to go by.

And it's not clear to me completely whether I'd need the "SDI Kit" or the "SDI Card and SDI DVD Kit Combo", or what the difference is.
post #30 of 408
Does the SDI modification bypass "Macrovision"?
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