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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Several people asked me to a do a review of DVD players so here we go...


I currently have ALL of these units and decided to do a comparison of some DVD's in them. This is just a quick post this morning after 3 hours of testing last night, I may add to it later.


Output to a Pioneer 503 plasma for those interested through component cabling. Popular opinion holds the 503, and I agree, to give a slightly softer more movie-like image, than the Panny 42 and 50 inch plasmas which give a more crystal/video like image should you happen to have one of those units instead.


For those who wonder, I am in quest of the very best dvd player for a moderate budget for my plasma possible so I took the time to buy a few units for comparison. I will be giving some away as gifts, some like the Rp91 had a mechanical issue and will be returned, and the Philips 985 is a recorder so I am not collecting players or a dealer, just an avid user of the technology.


I tested a few different type of dvd transfers:

Star Trek NG ( video type), Star Wars most recent all digital dvd, transfer of Space 1999 to DVD for some old material, Caddyshack for some old film material, The Fifth Element since everyone says its a great reference DVD, and Legends of The Fall for some good film source.


Caddyshack was tossed in because while I like the flick it's pretty much an average transfer so as to have a nice middle ground.


I could write alot about each movie but that would probably get my post chopped, so here are the results (my opinion only of course), ranked in order of quality.


1) Philips 963sa- Winner hands down across the board.-- **Winner**


Only unit in the group that uses the new Faroujda 23xx series de-interacler chipset.

Sharper edges, clearer, less artifacts, less wavy edges on moving objects, richer colors, better contrasts, you name it ,it was better. This player has a huge range of settings for the dcdi and truelife so your mileage will vary and making adjustments to dcdi/truelife settings is actually worth doing for different dvd's sometime.

Different settings looked better on some movies, esp when you turned DOWN some of the values for films like Legends of the Fall.


Also quietest, smoothest, tightest transport operation I have ever seen, on any cd/dvd player or recorder to date. Better quality constuction that any of the other units in this group.


price paid 419$ EURO (so about 419$ U.S.)


2) Panasonic RP82
Panasonic Rp82 link:

Clear, good de-interlacing, nice colors. Did better on the film based material than video based. The sc-fi and video based material looked next best on this machine. Does 4:4:4 video processing according to the panasonic web site(though some dispute this) and is supposed to have the Faroujda Chipset. I say supposed to , because its not on the Panasonic web site, but several people have said they opened the units and can easily identify the Faroujda chipset so its taken for the truth. I really did not have the time to open this many units to search for chips thats all. Next sharpest picture in the group after the 963sa.


price paid: 212$ U.S.


3) Panasonic R62
Pansonic RP62 link

A notch below the 82. The decoding , to my eye was not as good, and the colors were not as vibrant. It did fine with film material, and if you view most of that type of dvd, its enough for you. Does NOT do 4:4:4 video processing according to the panasonic web site but is supposed to have Faroujda Chipset for de-interlacing. Many posts have said you can't tell the difference between this and the RP82 unless they are side by side. I guess it depends on your eye, I disagree but everyone has different viewing tastes. I don't think its worth trading up to the 82 for 20$ more mail order roughly, unless you are replacing or buying a first unit, DO IT! For those looking for the best unit most likely to be available for a local purchase this is probably it.


Price paid: 179$ at Best Buy


Both units have noisy and slightly flimsy transport mechanisims in my opinion.


4) Philips 985 Dvd recorder/player.
Philips 985 Link:

This unit has great dvd play output, and it has the Faourjda chipset so no doubt thats why. I peg it between the RP62 and RP82.


Price paid : 800$ mail order in march of this year ( My first one was defective and had to go back to Philips but I did like it enough to get another one, the local Best Buy is sold out, mail order these are CHEAP now

Pricegrabber.com has several listings for 580$ approximately.

5) Panasonic RP91k

. Panasonic Site RP91 link

Sleek looking black unit with gold trim tabs--NICE looking!

Best with film material. The video and sci material was good but soft. It does not have the Faroujda chipset to the best of my knowledge for decoding but does 4:4:4. It does scaling of non-amorphic video material to fill a wide screen HDTV but needs a firmware mod to fix the left shift bug.


Overall the picture was by far the softest on this unit. Many people prefer that, esp if you view alot movie material and depending on your type of tv. Since some tv's display a softer picture it may have a picture that is too soft altogether.


Current firmware is 2.5, after I modded the player it worked fine AND the picture was a little sharper. I have it in a 9meg zip file should anyone need it.


One big surprise: Legends of The Fall on this unit was better than every other unit but the new 963sa.


Did not do as well with the recent Star Wars DVD movie, lots of artifacts and wavy edges and some slight color edge and black issues.


Price paid: 300$ at Hi Fi Buys ( store goes by Tweeter depending on where you are ).


The quality of construction on the case on the RP91 looks very nice but the transport mechanism made nasty noises. I have read this is a problem with these units and several people have said the RP91 died a little after a year of use. This unit is STILL for sale online and in some stores. I don't know any player will last more than a year with new innovations and features so I don't know that in itself would keep me from buying it.


The recent Star Wars movie looked good on all the players but the RP82 and the Philips 963sa did by far the best with it. I think its a good dvd to push the edge of the decoder chips.


This was a great deal of fun and I had occaision to give something back to the board that helped me choose my Plasma so I was glad to do it
 

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Since you seem to love Philips so much even though their players and recorders have so many problems it is hard to take your review seriously. Besides RP91 has a great picture on film based material (I'd give you inferior deinterlacing since it does not have Faroujda) but if you had soft picture that means you have something set up wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
CKNA:


I didnt say I loved Philips at all. You are just trying to put words in my mouth and mis-characterize what I wrote. That's a shame.


I was doing something some people asked me to do and qualified it several times as my opinion and my chance to give something back. Obviously you seem to have a problem with that.


If you are going to attack me for trying to give something back I don't think thats very nice.


Also I specifically wrote you in the other thread if enough is discussed in it that heavily tips the balances towards -R video recorders instead of +R video recorders I would change so you are incorrect.


In the same thread I posted to you I was not happy with the issues I have had with my Philips 985 video recorder but see no other option right now in the +R video recorder area so you are misleading people.


As to the Panasonic Rp91 player having a softer picture several other people have posted that on here, so its not "my" doing something wrong.


I also started a thread asking about the Samsung DVD-HD1000 player asking about its availability, which has the same new 23xx Faroujda chipset as the Philips 963sa but does more things technologically as a player (like 720p from a regular dvd) and would have preferred it but its not available and may never be if the issues around copy protection are not resolved people say.


You sound very upset that 963sa is out and is a real product but happens to be +R format, which is just plain sour grapes.
 

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ZZTop,


I would like to thank you for "real life" review of these players. It basically states that the RP82 is very close to the Phillips 963a which still makes it or the CP72 a wonderful bargain for $200.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
hurtz777:


I have read that the 72 is NOT quite the same inside as the 82 in a few places on the net.

You might want to go to the panasonic page, compare them, and also search this board and ask around. If your priority is the multiple disc feature then its got that, but several places I have read people who compared the 2 side by side (72 vs 82) and the 82 came out ahead picture quality wise.


They went on to say some research revealed the 72 might not be the same inside but just have the addition of the multiple disc play.


Its very easy to do a side by side comparison of any of the panasonic dvd players by selecting 2 models on this page here:

Panasonic DVD players/models Main page:


A quick glance shows a few things the cp72 does not do the RP82 does:

4:4:4 Signal Processing

4:3 Shrink Function w/ Letterbox Zoom & Shift

Gamma Correction

Digital Re-Master Processing


That gamma correction would concern me tremendously on the 72, the 82 has the correction. The Rp62 does not have the gamma correction.
 

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ZZTop,


All the people saying that the RP82 and CP72 have a different video section is a FALSE. I have proven with pics of the guts of the CP72 that it indeed has the exact same Panasonic MPEG Decoder and SAGE FLI2200 DCDI deinterlacer chip as the RP82. Therefore the video and audio quality are the exact same on these players in progressive or interlaced. It also proves that the CP72 also does 4:4:4 processing and has DCDI which was another rumor that isn't true. The CP72 is a steal for $200 plus you get 5 disc playback. :) Please go to the link below and see for yourself.

CP72 Is Same As RP82 PROOF
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by CKNA
Since you seem to love Philips so much even though their players and recorders have so many problems it is hard to take your review seriously.
The credibility erodes even further when looking at another post that states: "The reason there is movement towards the DVD+R camp away from dvd-r is that dvd+R is superior for video recording (visible better quality across the board when compared to dvd-r)..."
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hurtz777:




I would double check anything thats all. I wrote the post to help you, I just pulled those features that 72 supposedly does not have right off the Panasonic page and listed the links to help you out.
 

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ZZtop,


I am not attacking you but it is clear that you love Philips since you think DVD+R is better than DVD-R and you state that 963 is hands down better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
JeffWld:


The review choosing the Philips 985 over the Panasonic and Pioneer dvd recorders is clearly linked, is very recent and is not the only one.


I am sure there are some for the other players with -R choosing them as well.


Several online reviews, and several local stores also have the same opinion of the one I included a link for.


So while you may disagree you can't say its false or has no credibility.


Since I am still looking to replace a recorder,I will repeat what I posted in the other thread but you ignored, if enough is written that -R video recorders have that +R video recorders do not I have no problem getting one.


We all know the +R and -R are competing formats and everyone has an opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
CKNA:


Ok, CKNA, have it your way.


The size of the thread on the thread for the 963sa is huge, its one of the biggest on the AVS forum.


The fact is there is no other dvd player available with new chipset. Its got the best DVD picture from a technically superior new chipset. You make it sound like out of some type of brand loyalty or some personal grudge you have, consumers should not buy new model when it has improvments and new features from new chipsets.


I didnt manufacture it or choose the technology, sometimes letting go is hard I know, but try.....




:)
 

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ZZtop,


Unfortunately the Panasonic website is full of inaccuracies therefore right now no one should be sure of what it says for each model. I think it is their way of marketing different players.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
hurtz777:


Oh, I know lots of people have said that, thats why I mentioned in the my review post people disputed things that panasonic lists on its website. 4:4:4 seems to be a big one I hear heavily disputed but then another thread on here says the if the chipset is good enough, not doing 4:4:4 doesn't mean much anyway.
 

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ZZTop,


Faroudja chipset has less to do with picture quality, besides deinterlacing. Other factors go into how good picture looks, like Mpeg decoder which everybody knows that Panasonic decoders are the best and also video DA converter. I have no doubt that 963SA is a fine player but you, yourself posted in that long thread that it makes noise when you fast forward it makes loud chirp. This is a flaw because Panasonic does not do that. Also other people posted in that thread that 963 freezes when fast forward. I consider those things bugs and Philips has horrid customer service and all their products that I had always had some issues. As far as new chipset, I am sure that new Panny players will have it too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
CKNA :


You're just being petty now and writing responses that don't make any sense, grasping at straws rather desperately.


Quote: "Faroudja chipset has less to do with picture quality, besides deinterlacing."


That's basically saying the picture isn't any better unless you use the deinterlacing in the progressive scan. Well, dvd players do look better with progressive scan usually.


The huge 963sa thread on here with no less than 30 pages of posts, discusses it almost daily with raves on this brand new Faroujda 23xx chipset, which apparently no othe dvd player has right now, and its quality from dozens and dozens of people.


Here is a link for those who wish to check the thread out themselves:

. Philips 963sa thread:


As to it having a flaw , which you write :

Quote .... " but you, yourself posted in that long thread that it makes noise when you fast forward it makes loud chirp. This is a flaw because Panasonic does not do that "


I posted a question asking about the chirping noise , NOT saying it is a flaw though it may be a bug or not, for all we know its a cabling issue or something I have wrong in setup menu. I asked for feedback on how to determine what the issue might be. I only just made the post.


I don't know of a single new dvd player with brand new chipset technology player that ever came first to market that didn't have a bug or issue people felt was a bug.


Just what kind of a special member of this board are you anyway?


You post messages that put words in my mouth and contribute virtually no new information every time, and make negative personal comments even after a regular member such as myself asks you not to
 

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Wow, evaluating DVD players is crazy stuff. I can't believe how different my experience is than ZZTOP. I dislike a "softened" picture. I do like film-like resolution, however I often find that people describe soft DVD images as "film-like," when in fact they are just looking at an image softened, or blurred, by the DVD player/transfer, what-have-you.


I have the Panny 42" plasma, which can definitely look soft or sharp depending on source material. I've seen this plasma driven by more DVD players than I can remember, and I've never seen a sharper picture than that provided by the RP-91. It's mind-blowing. Some of the technically oriented have mentioned that the RP-91 has terrific resolution, and that's exactly what I see.


Meanwhile, I have the RP-82 on hand that I'm comparing directly to the RP-91. So far, the RP-82 has no resolution or color advantage over the RP-91 at all on my screen. In fact, I have to purposely up the sharpness a tiny bit to get it to look like the RP-91.


I'm not saying who is right or wrong here. I'm just amazed how different our experience is, and therefore how difficult it might be for people trying to make a decision based on other people's reports. (Mine included, of course).


Rich H.


0f course, now I'm curious about the Philips player :)
 

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Rick: You MUST recalibrate your TV for each DVD player. If you don't you're shortchanging yourself. This makes DVD player comparisons not so convenient with some TV's. I can certainly say the RP82 and RP56 required different setups.


ZZ: The video chips used are only an indication of possible capability. It's their implementation that counts towards realisation. IOW, the chips used are no indicator of the quality of final results, and the firmware counts much too.


The Panasonic website is notoriously inaccurate. It is better than it was, but still incomplete. Panny doesn't tell you what they don't want you to know. Thus the huge number of threads re people trying to figure out what is what.


Agree that the RP62 is very obviously not in the RP82 league. Around here, the price difference is much more than $20, in fact yesterday it is even more than I mentioned a few days ago, now $105 around here.
 

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ZZTop,


Did you calibrate each dvd player, separately, using Avia or Video Essentials--or are you a professional technician?


Just wondering.
 

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ZZTop,great post.The response kinda proves what John Kotches said in another thread about the secrets shootouts-how they were accused of being biased when someone didn't like the results.Its your opinion,which you clearly say,and I think thats the whole point of this forum-to share personal observations.I,for one appreaciate the time and effort you took to share your results.One question-whats your opinion on audio of 963?Specifically,cd playback using the upsampling?Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
lonwolf615:


Ok a few notes on the audio related stuff:


One of the CD's supplied was the special music recording of Star Trek music on DVD. I played that and a few Christmas CD's. I would say the richness is pretty good but would need more time to sample more music.


Much richer and more life-like, like I am close to the orchestra than my Sony DVD player or philips 985 , which actually plays cd's well also.


The a/v receiver is a 3802.


Guests are pleasantly surprised at just how rich and clear the sound is for movies, even at very high volumes. It's fun and of course with the volume turned up some, you "feel" the experience that much more.


Price Paid was 699$ for the Denon-3802 at Crutchfield, AND you have to be very careful, buy it off the net and likely you have NO warranty whatsoever. Very few places are authorized to actually sell that way. The 3803 is out or on the way they told me but this 3802 has quality of warmth dozens of reviews said belongs in a 2000-4000$ receiver so lets see if Denon can catch lightning in a bottle twice. Speakers are the Eosone RSF-1000 supertowers, which I don't see replacing for a long time even though they are 6-7 years old already.


A nice surprise, however, is the 3802 is does increase the quality of the S-VHS signal considerably from satellite which was a pleasant surprise. People who have an a/v receiver who has s-vhs switching and a satellite might want to check this function of their receiver out.


The 3802 has on-screen programming for receiver signal outs and mapping and lots of other good features. I like the S-VHS monitor output jack, helps immensely with all these devices that allow S-VHS signal monitoring, pass -thru or just start outputting s-vhs out of the box before you change setup. The setup menu is an absolute bear and the remote is hard to learn to use for this a/v receiver.


I am sure over in the 963sa thread there are many more people who have owned the player longer and have more hours in on it. From what I read several specifically purchased the player with the new audio capabilities in mind, my focus was the video.
 
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