I'm going to be projecting a picture on a 110" screen. Negating bells and whistles, which of these players produces the best picture taking into account mpeg decoding (no jaggies, chroma bug, or artifacts), de-interlacing, and gama control?
What kind of DVDs will you be watching the most? Video-sourced or film-sourced? Stacey Spears thinks the RP91 produces a better picture with film-sourced material than the RP56 (at least I thought I read that in one of his posts in a different thread in this forum) whereas the RP56 will produce a better picture with video-sourced material.
Hey greggz, I will admit I have NOT seen EITHER player in action... I asked the question to give those who HAVE had experience with these players more info to go on to help get a better or more accurate vote in your poll....
The so-so deinterlacing on the RP91 only refers to badly flagged movies. I hardly notice it, i.e. most movies are flagged correctly and the RP91 does fine with those. Otherwise the PQ is outstanding. The DVD audio is a nice feature as well.
The de-interlacing artifacts on the RP91 are visible even on properly flagged movies. For example, watching an innocuous movie such as What Women Want, I was easily able to point out the artifacts with the RP91 to my fiance as the camera pans by buildings. Once I showed her that, she was able on her own to pick out de-interlacing artifacts without too much trouble on a regular basis. The RP91 came closest in picture quality to the Kenwood 5700 that I eventually acquired as my personal player, but the PQ on the Kenwood is better, and the de-interlacing head and shoulders better. The closest that I have seen a player come to the Kenwood has been the progressive output of the Philips 985, which was a very pleasant surprise. I will be receiving a 962 for review within the next month, and personally I suspect that it will be the player that I really like in the $500 class.
Can you expand a bit on your comment that the "RP56 has better de-interlacer/less artifacts, but the RP91 has a better picture"? How can motion artifacts be decoupled from the judgment of the picture quality? (not trying to be confrontational, just trying to understand what the components of a quality picture are in your judgment and the weight that you give to each)
My problem is that I am projecting on a 8 foot wide screen and the chroma bug and the artifacts are, of course, magnified. I never had a beef with my player on a 36" TV, but now I find the decoding defects distracting. I'm looking to get the smoothest, most film-like picture possible.
The de-interlacing artifacts on the RP91 are visible even on properly flagged movies
How do you know it is properly flagged?. Even if it is from major studio does not mean it is properly flagged. What firmware revision is your RP91.
Latest firmware revision has much improved deinterlacing and RP91 recovers very quickly. All players with Silicon Image or Sage chips will have softer picture due to its going into video mode to avoid combing.
After owning the RP-91 for many months, I've come to the conclusion that the de-interlacing issue is blown waaaaayy out of proportion.
I bought the Panny 42" plasma. In the year I was shopping/researching the purchase, I saw this plasma hooked up to so many DVD players I've lost count.
I can say that in my home, hooked up to my RP-91, I am looking at the very smoothest DVD playback I've ever seen on this screen. I cannot believe how artifact-free it is (especially in progscan). I'd already determined the RP-91 has an amazing picture quality in regards to sharpness and color rendition, and it was icing on top of the cake to discover there were not drawbacks regarding it's de-interlacing. I virtually NEVER notice distracting artifacts, and I hate motion artifacts.
For instance, in the 2001 DVD, there are a couple of shots of a ball point pen slowly swirling around in zero gravity. In so many plasma/DVD set-ups I saw that pen outline produced jaggies and pixelation break up. On my RP-91, that pen remains crystal clear...the best I've ever seen. Also, in the Alien DVD, when there is that famous crane-up shot from the "dead alien pilot" in the space ship, there are all sorts of geometric lines, straight and curved, revealed as the camera pulls up. In every single previous DVD/plasma combo, these geometric lines produced fits of de-interlacing artifacts. On my Panny/RP-91 it is perfect. I couldn't believe when I saw it for the first time. Totally film-like.
So, I'd like to give a vote of confidence for the RP-91. In my experience, it performs stellar de-interlacing in the majority of DVDs that I watch (mostly film based, admittedly.
No drawbacks on the RP-91's performance that I have encountered. Far from it. I absolutely love the highly detailed controls for tweaking the picture. I use them all the time to get the best out of each DVD (the RP-91 remembers the picture settings for up to 200 DVDs).
The scaling feature is tremendously useful. Having lived with it I'm not sure I'd buy another DVD player without it. It has "saved" quite a few DVDs for me - most of them non-anamorphic. Many screens, like the Panny plasma, offer very few aspect controls once they are fed a progressive scan signal. It's nice to have those controls still available when you use a DVD player like the RP-91. Plus, it's better to do scaling with the DVD player anyway, for quality's sake.
One example: The DVD for the movie "Young Frankenstein" is not an anamorphic transfer. Anamorphic meaning that the image will come out looking properly proportioned, with the correct aspect ratio, when played on a wide-screen (16:9) TV like the Panny plasma. Non-anamorphic movies
often look distorted on a wide-screen TV like the Panny, because they have
been transferred to look proper on a regular (4:3) TV.
The non-anamorphic transfer of Young Frankenstein does not fill my Plasma screen properly. Depending on what aspect mode I apply with my plasma, the image is either shrunk to the center of the screen (black bars on top/bottom/sides of the image), or it is stretched and distorted looking.
This is exacerbated by the fact that many 16:9 screens do not allow you access to many "re-sizing" controls once you put your DVD player into progressive scan mode. The Panny plasma only allows "Full" and "Zoom" settings when fed a progressive scan signal, neither of which work well with my Young Frankenstein DVD.
The solution: engage the scaling from the RP-91 DVD player. Viola! In progressive scan mode, the Young Frankenstein image now fills the screen completely, in the correct proportions and aspect ratio. Works like a charm.
If you watch any older, or TV-based, movies that are in 4:3 (standard TV) format, then there is the issue of burn-in with the plasmas. You might risk
uneven screen wear, or burn-in, with an image that only fill the center of the screen. I've found the RP-91's zoom function to be terrific for zooming in on 4:3 material to fill the screen completely. I zoomed in on my copy of "The Night Stalker," a made-for-tv movie, and it filled the screen in an amazingly cinematic manner, with excellent detail. I lost very little information in terms of image composition from the original 4:3 format.
Sorry I can't comment on the DVD-A or CD performance yet. Haven't used those functions, but I will soon.
Film-based vs Video based DVDs: Not going to get technical here so...
Film-based is anything that was original shot on film, such as virtually all theatrical movies, and most made-for-tv movies are still shot on film.
Video-based means anything that was originally shot on video - such as compilation of some of your favorite TV shows, sports oriented DVDs, Concert DVDs, etc. Think of anything they'd use television/video cameras for, rather than film cameras.
There is a distinction between film-based material and video-based material because film frames (from movie cameras) move at a slightly different rate than video "frames" (from video cameras). Therefore, if a DVD image is film-based, it needs one type of de-interlacing algorithm. If it is video-based, it needs another type of de-interlacing algorithm.
Some de-interlacing chips, such as the Genesis chip in the RP-91, are said to be better at de-interlacing film-based material, and not as good at de-interlacing video-based material. The idea is, in the case of the RP-91, if you put in a movie to watch, the progressive scan image should look nice and smooth, with few motion artifacts. But if you watch a video-based DVD, say a football DVD, you may notice more "combing" or breaking up of mage outlines, especially straight lines. I don't know how true this really is, as I have not watched any video-based DVDs yet. I'm into films, and they look great with the RP-91.
For improperly flagged non-anamorphic movies, like Titanic, if you manually set the RP-91 to zoom in, does it automatically zoom in the next time you pop that movie in the player? This is regarding the 200 disc settings memory, and what settings the player remembers exactly.
Yes, the RP91 can remember the scaling setting, as well as many others, for up to 200 disks (you may need to check this number). In order to remember the settings, you need to NOT be in one of the standard modes (such as Normal, Cinema, etc.). I think you pick U3 or U4.
"After owning the RP-91 for many months, I've come to the conclusion that the de-interlacing issue is blown waaaaayy out of proportion."
I agree entirely. I've had the RP-91 well over a year, since a few weeks after the first shipment hit stores last spring. I've watched my entire collection (250+ DVDs) on this player, and many movies several times over and I can honestly say that I've noticed the de-interlacing problem on very very few occasions. When it does happen the player seems to recover from it so quickly that even to the trained eye its barely noticeable in most movies (2-3 frames it seems). Note that I watch mostly 'film' source material and rarely watch 'video' source material ... so I can't really say that I have enough experience watching that kind of material to comment about the player's accuracy in that arena.
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