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Samsung DVD-HD960 and DVD-HD1080 1080p players

post #1 of 445
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I am starting this thread for anyone interested in communicating about the upcoming 1080p capable upconverting players being released by Samsung: the DVD-HD960 and DVD-HD1080. According to Samsung press releases, both players will use Faroudja DCDi and will output 1080p over HDMI (but not component).

Although Samsung has the HD960 on their website now (specs, product brochure, and manual), I cannot find anyone who has it in stock, yet. Eventually (hopefully) we can use this thread to evaluate these players. For the time being, I am very interested in discussing the following three topics:

DVD-HD960: when can I buy one and where??

Many online vendors (Amazon, Crutchfield, ABT) are clearly expecting to get the unit in sometime, but none give a date. Samsung said it would be availible in "mid April". By my recollection, May comes after April, but I have yet to see it in stock anywhere. Early last week while Googling on "DVD-HD960" I stumbled across a page on Best Buy's website that gave a complete description of the unit (complete with picture) for a price of $179.99 and a "buy now" button (I did not click it...DOH!) saying "usually ships in 1-2 weeks". The next day, the page was no longer accessible. My hope is that Best Buy will carry this unit and therefore constructed the webpage for it and just accidentally left it visible to the outside world for a day. Asking Best Buy sales people if they will be getting it in is an exercise in futility. I have not asked anyone at Circuit City. They may be more likely to carry it as they seem to have a slightly better selection of quality DVD players. I would be very interested if anyone else has some hard data on when and where the HD960 can be purchased.

Having watched the DVD-HD860 come out, it looks like the big box stores (BB, CC) got it first with the online retailers getting them much later and not in big quantities (Amazon, for example, still lists the HD860 as "not released yet" even though my local BB and CC have had them since the end of February). So my guess is that if BB or CC carry it, then they will get it first. If not, then hopefully online stores will get them soon.

Differences between the DVD-HD960 and DVD-HD1080

The only pittance of information regarding the DVD-HD1080 is the original Samsung press release. For sure, the HD1080 will be a universal player and have analog outputs for SACD/DVD-A while the HD960 will not. However, will there be any difference at all in video quality? I have no idea. They both use Faroudja DCDi. However, the difference in price ($180 vs. $250) seems a bit stiff for just SACD/DVD-A capability. Also, there are enigmatic lines in the press release: they say the HD960 will offer "near HD upconversion to 1080p resolution," while later they say the HD1080 will offer "true-HD 1080p progressive output". What's the difference between "near-HD" and "true-HD"?? Is this just a typo? The full Samsung press release can be found by Google-ing "DVD-HD960" and clicking on the first hit (sorry...can't post URLs yet)

Looking at the HD960 manual, the unit offers a decent array of picture quality adjustments common to most Faroudja-based players. I did notice that there does not seem to be a way to turn off the Faroudja cross-color suppression, which is disappointing because many say that this feature is not always desirable. On the plus side, it will (hooray!) support user firmware updates (performed by downloading from Samsung and burning to CD).

Do I really need 1080p anyway?

I have a Westinghouse lvm-37w1 LCD which has 1080p resolution and accepts 1080p input via DVI (and VGA). Consequently, I am very interested in getting an upconverting DVD player that does provide 1080 lines of resolution. The 37w1 has a semi-decent deinterlacer, although it is not perfect. 1080i broadcasts, for example, show alot of blurring during movement. However, for movie sources that are only 24 fps, you can in theory reconstruct a perfect progressive image from the two halves of the interlaced frame. My 37w1 has an inverse 3:2 pulldown which is supposed to accomplish this. This weekend, I watched an HD-DVD demo setup at Best Buy with the Toshiba HD-DVD player and the lvm-42w2 1080p display and the result was awesome. Even though the Toshiba was outputting 1080i, the 42w2 (which has the same deinterlacing technology as the 37w1) was able to flawlessly reconstruct the progressive frames and display them accordingly. There were absolutely no interlacing artifacts at all. Consequently, does it really matter that the DVD player is outputting 1080p vs 1080i? For a DVD of a broadcast source, probably. But for movies, it might not matter at all. In any case, I am not sure either way and would appreciate any opinions anyone has.

Thanks alot everybody! Hopefully lots of us will find this thread useful in the coming weeks!

Mofongo
post #2 of 445
Why not get the Toshiba HD-DVD player, or wait for BR? These are only upscaling players.
post #3 of 445
The Samsung HD960 brochure at http://www.samsung.com/Products/DVDP...d960_final.pdf always mentions 1080p but whenever HDMI is mentioned, it says only 720p/1080i. Perhaps the HD960 does not output 1080p via HDMI? Excerpts from the brochure:

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) transfers hi-definition
(1080i/720p) video and audio from your DVD to your TV,

Samsung's DVD Players up-convert the resolution of ordinary DVDs to
1080p/1080i/720p High-definition
post #4 of 445
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillP View Post

Why not get the Toshiba HD-DVD player, or wait for BR? These are only upscaling players.

The DVD-HD960 has a MSRP of 179.99, which is far bellow the 499.99 MSRP of the Toshiba HD-A1. Yes, the Toshiba is a "better" deal when you consider HD-DVD playback capability, but for a consumer on a budget, or on the fense about the current format war, they may feel better spending less money and using the difference as coinage for a future purchase.

Additionally, the Toshiba HD-A1 does not support DivX, which is important for some users.

I too would would like to know how they are claiming 1080p support, since the HDMI port (easy) only supports 1080i. Component based 1080p support is a bear to accomplish, and would be very backwards for Samsung to support (HDCP compliance would be the main reason why).
post #5 of 445
Thread Starter 
I believe that the bit in the HD960 product literature that talks about HDMI only doing 720p/1080i is a typo...it should also say 1080p. If you look in the manual (on page 53), it says in at least two places that the HDMI connection does in fact do 1080p. In fact, this is the only connection that does, as the component only outputs up to 1080i. The mistake in the product flyer is a major boo-boo on Samsung's part. Let's hope that mistakes like this are limited to their documentation group and not product development.

Regarding why someone would want an upconverting DVD player in the first place: Some TVs have good de-interlacers/upconverters, others do not. Mine has an OK one but not a great one. In most cases, I definitely get a better picture out of an upconverting DVD player than letting the TV convert it. This is even true for my cable box: I get the best picture from an SD channel by letting my Motorola DVR (from Comcast) upconvert to 1080i rather than having the TV do it. I doubt that the upconverting technology in my DVR is all that sophisticated, but for some reason it seems to do a better job.

To make matters more complicated, which upconverting solution is better can also depend on the movie itself. The goal here is to get a DVD player that does upconversion better than your TV most of the time. This gives you options for getting the best picture.

As far as getting the Toshiba HD-DVD player, there are a lot of reasons not to get it for playing SD DVDs right now (even aside from the price tag). Just see the Secrets Benchmark Review on it. Basically, if you really want to watch HD-DVDs, then get it. But if you plan on playing your current DVDs on it (and I for one will likely be watching SD DVDs for several more years), think again.

Mofongo
post #6 of 445
I'm in the same boat and will be going with a cheap but decent player as a bridge until better HD-DVD players come along (in terms of interface and usability, not PQ, which seems to be excellent). Buying the Toshiba now sounds like signing up to be a beta tester, except you pay full price for the experience. I'm leaning to the Sony NS75, which means I'll have to keep an old SACD capable unit in the AV stack to handle those duties.
post #7 of 445
I'm considering waiting for the Samsung DVD-HD960 upscaler since it uses the same Faroudja chip as the Oppo OPDV971H however I do not know what Samsung is using for decoding. Oppo uses the MediaTek chip for decoding and have done a good job in implementing both with their software to produce a quality DVD player at $199. My main interest in the HD960 is the 1080p output via HDMI since I also plan to purchase a Westinghouse LVM-42w2 LCD 42" monitor with 1080p HDMI input. Id rather not deinterlace 1080i from an Oppo to a Westy at 1080p.


In addition , although the Westy has 2 - DVI inputs and one HDMI input, which can accomidate the Oppo DVI output (Oppo also provides a DVI to HDMI cord) I'm not sure if the picture quality would be the same since DVI passes through at 8 bit and HDMI at 10bit. I'm not sure if the Westy uses the 10bit Faroudja chip or 8 bit.

75% of what I would need the DVD is to play my newer movie collection for a couple of years until one of the HD formats wins and prices come down for quality deinterlcing and upscaling next gen DVD players which can output 1080p formated movies with Dolby True HD sound.
post #8 of 445
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I wish I knew what decoder the HD960 used (and if it was different than the HD1080). For me, the Oppo is out because I really want an equivalent to the EZ-View feature of Samsung's players to expand a 2.39:1 movie to fill the whole vertical range of the film. I have found on my lvm-37w1 the black level is about average for LCD TVs, meaning that there is a little light leakage resulting in a flat-black look rather than a total black. I do not notice this except for when I am watching 2.39:1 movies that have black bars on the top and bottom. I see that the bars are not perfectly black, and that causes me to notice that the blacks in the movie are not either. The lvm-37w1 does not have an option to expand the image while maintaining aspect ratio, so I am looking for a DVD player that does.

Although the Oppo does have a 1.3 zoom (which is about the right factor to "convert" 2.39:1 to 16:9), the zoom bypasses the DCDi chip, thus defeating the purpose of buying the fancy upconverting player to begin with. If you are sensitive to black levels, this may be a concern for you.

An LCD monitor/TV cannot reproduce more than 8-bit color anyway, so it really does not matter if you feed it 8-bit or 10-bit. What I would worry more about is that the DVD-HD850, for example, had a bug where it would pass the incorrect RGB levels while talking to a DVI device. They were correct for HDMI, however. Very strange. I think that since most displays have HDMI and not DVI these days that manufacturers are getting lax at testing compatability with DVI. (Another example: at least two people on one of the Sony threads have reported problems getting the DVP-NC85H to talk to their Westinghouse TVs using the Westinghouse's DVI inputs). At least with the Oppo, you know that it will work with your DVI inputs.

Although your future 42w2 has 1080p capable inputs, it also does a very good job at inverse 3:2 pulldown. So if you feed it 1080i frames that come from a 24fps movie source, it should reconstruct the progressive image perfectly (I say "should" because I have only tested this personally with the Toshiba HD-DVD player, for which it does an excellent job, but not an SD DVD player).

Mofongo
post #9 of 445
I sent an email to contact regarding availability of the HD960, hopefully I'll hear something this week. With a new Samsung DLP on the way, the 960 looks like a good option.
post #10 of 445
RTK, did you get any response to the email? I still can not find it listed with any retailers.

And I guess the big question for me is the HD-960 or the current version of the Oppo? I will be using the player exclusively for movies, not DVD-A. Given that, what's the opinions? I know that the Oppo puts out a terrific picture, but there are a few bugs, such as the problem with intended subtitles. With the HD-960 I get the same video processor as the Oppo, but I also pick up HDMI and up 1080p. Comments/opinons welcomed.
post #11 of 445
From what I understand the 960 was supposed to be "released" this week or next. Who knows when you'll actually be able to get one/read a review of one. I have ordered one of the HLS samsung sets through the TVA Powerbuy and am considering pre-ordering an hd960 as well...
post #12 of 445
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos8517 View Post

From what I understand the 960 was supposed to be "released" this week or next. Who knows when you'll actually be able to get one/read a review of one. I have ordered one of the HLS samsung sets through the TVA Powerbuy and am considering pre-ordering an hd960 as well...

I am in the same position. Was planning on trading in my ancient Sony for an Oppo, but now I am not so sure. The HD-960 might be the better way to go.
post #13 of 445
I'm thinking the samsung might be better, as it seems it is geared for these tvs (1080p output, same color/style), and it uses the same chip as the oppo.. but has HDMI.
post #14 of 445
I will not be using it for audio, only movies, so I think it might be a better deal for me. I like that EZ screen feature on the remote and they are both upgradeable via downloading firmware from the web. I expect it will have a few bugs and I know the Oppo customer support is flawless, but I still think I would seriously consider the Samsung,,,,,,,if it is available.
post #15 of 445
BTW!! Oppo will be releasing 1080i player with HDMI( no DCDI), but no 1080P player.confirmed.

Any good deals on samsungs??
post #16 of 445
Stephanie @ TVA said they expect the players in "any day now." I went ahead and pre-ordered one. Hopefully it will arrive around when my TV does.
post #17 of 445
Is there 960 power buy too?
post #18 of 445
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoro View Post

Is there 960 power buy too?

Unfortunately there's no discount on the 960. I still went ahead and ordered one to go with my 6187. Hoping they both ship next week!
post #19 of 445
Yesterday, I just bought a Samsung DVD-HD860. I hooked it up to my new Samsung HP-S5053 last night via HDMI. I set the output resolution to 720p.

Needless to say, I was not impressed. The picture looked grainy to me. I was using "The Incredibles" as my reference disc. At a hundred bucks, I'm assuming that the DVD player just isn't getting it done. I could find little reference to it's specs.

I tried every input and scaling option into the tv. 480p, 720p, 1080i. I even switched to component and 480i. The HDMI and 720p looked the best, but I thought it should have been better.

Thoughts?
post #20 of 445
Quote:


Thoughts?

What did you use to calibrate?

larry
post #21 of 445
Nothing, I was simply going by eye. I have no setup disc (ie Avia) yet. I just picked up my plasma a couple days ago. Can you recommend a good calibration disc?
post #22 of 445
Its important to note that the the implementation of both the decoding chip and the deinterlacing/scaling chip are important. The Oppo is tried and true in this regard, and seems committed to updating their product via firmware to fix bugs and even implement new features, along with exposing features of the underlying hardware. I don't have a DVD player yet (just ordered the Westy 37w3), but I'm a little worried about the new (untested) Samsung player. Just my two cents...
post #23 of 445
I just checked Amazon and the HD-DVD960 is now in stock.
post #24 of 445
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhanson123 View Post

Yesterday, I just bought a Samsung DVD-HD860. I hooked it up to my new Samsung HP-S5053 last night via HDMI. I set the output resolution to 720p.

Needless to say, I was not impressed. The picture looked grainy to me. I was using "The Incredibles" as my reference disc. At a hundred bucks, I'm assuming that the DVD player just isn't getting it done. I could find little reference to it's specs.

Thoughts?

The HD860 does not have a noise suppression setting, but it does have a sharpness setting. Did you try adjusting the sharpness to a lower value? Usually, sharpness should be set quite low. Depending on the exact filter they use, the sharpness can end up accentuating noise. This might not do it, but it's worth a shot.

From the impressions that I have read on this site, it seems like the Panasonic S52S ($100) and the Sony DVP-NS75H ($130) offer superior image quality to the HD860 for roughly the same price. The Panasonic certainly has a lot more settings to fiddle with (like noise reduction). However, you give up the EZ-View feature of the Samsung.

Mofongo
post #25 of 445
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpaul View Post

Its important to note that the the implementation of both the decoding chip and the deinterlacing/scaling chip are important. The Oppo is tried and true in this regard, and seems committed to updating their product via firmware to fix bugs and even implement new features, along with exposing features of the underlying hardware. I don't have a DVD player yet (just ordered the Westy 37w3), but I'm a little worried about the new (untested) Samsung player. Just my two cents...

It is true that the last few upscaling players from Samsung have not been fantastic. The last of their players to use Faroudja DCDi (the DVD-HD941) was at least semi-decent, although it did suffer from an inferior decoder, the Zoran Vaddis 778. Samsung has been using this decoder (which is also an upscaler) for years, for the DVD-HD941, DVD-HD850 and DVD-HD950. Looking at the manuals for all three of these players, the HD941 has no picture adjustment settings, while the HD850, HD950 and HD860 all have exactly the same ones (Brightness, Sharpness, Color Saturation), which leads me to thing that maybe the DVD-HD860 has the 778 as well (probably as both decoder and deinterlacer).

We can only hope that they might get it right this time. The DVD-HD960 does, at least, have an adjustable noise reduction filter (as well as many other adjustments common to Faroudja DCDi players). I would think that the noise reduction would be a property of the decoder and not the deinteracer (but I am not positive). If so, this may indicate that they finally got a decent decoder. For my sake, I hope they did because I really like their EZ-View feature.

Time will tell. But, yes, given Samsung's current track record, we should probably adopt a strategy of "guilty until proven innocent".

Mofongo
post #26 of 445
I am getting the sammy 6187 and am looking for a new dvd player. Should I get an el cheapo hdmi dvd player and let the sammy do the upconversion or go for the sammy 960 dvd player.
post #27 of 445
Anyone who's interested the Samsung HD-960, Electronics Expresss had 9 (now 8) a couple of minutes ago for a decent $$.
post #28 of 445
After considering my options, I went ahead and pre-ordered a 960 from TVA. It looks good on paper but if its a dog, I've got 30 days to find out.
post #29 of 445
Mofongo, have you had a chance to try the EZ-Zoom yet? I was curious how it worked on the samsungs. Thanks

Teddy
post #30 of 445
Is this the ONLY 1080p upconverting DVD player out as of right now? I'm not interested in HD-DVD or Bluray BTW and have just bought a Sammy HLS-6187W set that takes 1080p. I'm brand new to the upconverting DVD player scene and would like to know what the best player is that does 1080p with 7.1 (or 5.1) digital sound. Thanks!
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