Panasonic DVD-S97 Player Review
Panasonic has always made highly regarded DVD-Video players, and the DVD-RP82 was widely regarded by many as one of the best DVD players ever made (so much so that when it was discontinued, these players were selling on E-Bay for higher than the original Manufacturerâ€™s Suggested Retail Price!) However, it seems that after the DVD-RP82, Panasonic went down-market and released a set of lackluster models.
Well, this is no longer the case, as the DVD-S97 is a worthy successor to the DVD-RP82. Like the DVD-RP82, it is a progressive scan DVD-Audio/Video player with Faroudja DCDi deinterlacing. However, it improves upon the DVD-RP82 through the addition of quite a few significant features:
* Digital video and high-resolution multi-channel audio output over HDMI 1.1
* Video resolution up-conversion to 720p and 1080i over HDMI
* Improved audio upsampling features
* Support for additional audio and video formats such as JPEG, MPEG4, WMA (on all models â€“ the RP82 only supported WMA on US/Canadian models) in addition to MP3 on multiple media types (DVD-R/RW, DVD-RAM, CD-R/RW plus HighMat discs)
Support for both PAL and NTSC (the RP82 only supported PAL on non US/Canadian models)
* Support for PAL progressive scan (the RP82 only supported NTSC progressive scan)
* Limited support for HDCD (it will recognize and play HDCD encoded discs, but does not implement Peak Extend which increases dynamic range by an extra 1 bit or 6dB)
* On-board Dolby Digital Pro Logic II decoder (in addition to Dolby Digital, DTS and MPEG Multi-channel)
That is a very impressive list of features (in particular, the DVD-S97 has support for Dolby Pro Logic II, which I have not seen in any other player to date). The only optical disc format that this player will not play is Super Audio CD (which is to be expected since Panasonic is a major supporter of the competing DVD-Audio format).
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