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Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning on buying a progressive scan DVD player soon, but will not be buying a 480p compatible set for the better part of a year (my fiancee would rather spend the money on our wedding!). So my primary concern is how the unit will perform with the RPTV I will buy next summer, but I also need to be concerned with performance with my current set, a fairly generic 32" Sony that is not HDTV compatible.


Two questions:

- How noticeable are downconversion artifacts on a screen of this size? Will they be quite noticeable or does it take a larger screen before they become a problem? I realize this is pretty subjective and I am pretty sensitive to artifacts in general, but I'm currently watching a letterboxed movie on cable and I wonder if an image that's perhaps 8-10" high on a screen 8 feet away is really big enough to see the problems. Unfortunately my local dealers don't seem to bother to connect most of their display models so I can't easily test this out myself. I know how to get into the service menu of my TV and could probably do an anamorphic squeeze but doubt that I'd want to bother with that on a regular basis so I'd probably let the player do the letterboxing most of the time.


- Toshiba and Sony are used as the examples of extremes in letterboxing performance, with Toshiba being sharp but full of artifacts and Sony soft but relatively free of them. Is this still true in current models or is this based on older models? I would be particularly interested in the Toshiba 3750/4700/5700 in this respect, and any observations on the letterboxing performance of the other models I'm looking at.


So far I'm considering:

Toshiba 4700

Panasonic RP56

JVC SA70BK

Sony NS700P


Each has its own problems, chroma bug in the Sony, only 48KHz digital outputs on the JVC, etc., etc. I'm familiar with the recent discussions on the progressive performance of these players but need to have these questions answered to make my decision. Thanks!
 

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I like the softer look of Sony's down conversion. I like Sony's ergonomics and menus too. I haven't watched the Sony 700 though. I would not say Sony's progressiv scanning is too wonderful and I base that on the far more expensive 9000ES 's performance, which I think is rather average. I think out of the lot you're picking from, exclude the JVC, then pick the one that you like the menu, remote, and overall ergonomics of. Best wishes!
 

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 http://ww2.onecall.com/ProductReview...oductID=12116#


The link is for a review of the Sony 700P by The Perfect Vision magazine.


They say that it "produces none of the typical Sony softness during anamorphic downcoversion". They also say it's the only DVD player you should consider if you own a 4:3 digital TV. What about an older style analog 4:3 TV? Does this "smooth, artifact-free downconversion" take place in both progressive and interlaced modes?
 

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IMHO if you aren't going to be buying a tv that will make use of the progressive scan capabilities for at least a year, I would wait until then to make a purchase. Put the money toward the tv, then wait to see what happens with the prog-scan players. A lot of improvements have happened in the last year, and it is hard to tell what will happen to them in the next year. If nothing else they should be less expensive. Also depending on the tv you get you might want more features on the player (like "scaling" on the Pana 91) which depending on the tv might be useless to you. Once again though, just my opinion.


Tim
 

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Tim,

You are assuming that Richard is replacing an existing DVD player (he doesn't state that this is the case). If it is the case, then I agree with you. However, I wouldn't wait to buy a new TV before buying my first DVD player.
 

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If you want DVD-Audio too and want a downconverted picture that's somewhere between Toshiba's sharp/artifact laced and Sony's too soft image then a Panasonic DVD-RP91 (black "K," or champagne "N") is just the ticket. An all around good buy online. Around the $450 mark.


It's progressive scan (480p) capable and has no chroma bug because of its Panasonic MPEG-2 decoder (once you know what to look for you don't want this in a player), and very little combing (when the 3:2 pull down flag cadence encoded on the disc is improperly set) considering it uses an older Genesis de-interlacer chip. When you get a 16x9 HDTV in the future it has a very good non-anamorphic to pseudo-anamorphic scaling mode so you can keep the TV in its FULL mode.


The Panasonic 56K is also progressive scan which uses the new Faroudja/Sage de-interlacer and is cheaper, but has a problem with flickering, and the Sage chip will not do anamorphic scaling of non-anamorphic DVDs. No DVD-Audio either.


Overall, the Panasonic RP91 is the better buy IMHO.


Progressive scanning to 480p from 480i has pretty much reached its limits at the present time unless you go with a headache inducing HTPC w/DVD-ROM drive and a software scaler and like to tweak a lot, so getting one now shouldn't be a problem.


Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I went with the Toshiba SD4700 and I'm quite satisifed. As I hoped, any downconversion artifacts aren't really noticeable on my 32" interlaced screen (frankly I don't see any at all on most material, 8 feet from the screen). The ergonomics of the player are quite good and the sound quality is also quite good through my borderline-audiophile sound system. I was surprised to find that the sound quality is very noticeably better on CDs than my (several years old) CD player.


My only complaint might be that the transport mechanism is pretty loud during seeks, etc. (Avia really gives it a workout!), but I can live with that. I suppose my next, higher resolution display will highlight whatever problems the player has, but I can live with that too.


I see DVD players as being in the same state as digital cameras were a couple of years ago when I bought my current one. I thoroughly researched the offerings and realized that the perfect camera did not yet exist, so I decided what compromises I could live with, made my choice based on that and never looked back. I suspect the same approach will work here.
 

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I'm in the same situation as Richard where I have an old 32" TV, and I'm trying to buy a DVD player that I'll enjoy now, but will still be happy with when I get a HDTV in a year or two. Yet it kinda seems like a waste to spend a lot on a progressive scan player now when I won't be making use of the progressive scan capabilities for perhaps another 2 years.


I really think it would be a bad decision for someone to spend $450 on the Panasonic RP91, even though that's a great price considering what others may have paid in the past. With all the improvements taking place each year in the progressive scan video quality, and perhaps updates to DVD-Audio like time alignment in future generation players, I think it's wise to spend the least amount of money now so that you have less to loose when you upgrade to a newer better player in the near future. I'd hate to spend $450 on the RP91 now, and then want a newer better player in a year or two. I'd feel better about upgrading if I only spent $135 to $250 now. If Panasonic comes out with a RP91 replacement next year which has "time-alignment" for DVD-Audio, I'm sure a lot of you will want to upgrade to the new model.


I considered just buying a cheap Samsung M301 for $135 right now, and then when I buy an HDTV I'll get the newest greatest DVD-Audio player.


But I think the Toshiba SD4700 will be a good compromise for now. It's not too expensive, yet it should be good enough to enjoy the picture with an HDTV in the future, and I'll be able to play some DVD-Audio discs (but without time-alignment). And I'll be able to justify upgrading it sooner than if I spent twice as much on the RP91.
 
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