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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a Sony 50" SXRD KDS-50A2000 . That same day, I decided it was time to stop using the PS2 so I bought a progressive scan DVD player: a Sony DVP-NS55P .


Let me attempt to justify the purchase of the Sony progressive scan DVD player. Basically, here's what it boils down to for my reasoning:

1) Upconverting DVD players could be considered a 'throw-away' technology

2) It appeared (through internet readings and conversation with others) that many are pleased with the picture from a standard def progressive scan DVD player

3) Upconverting DVD players are slightly more expensive (and in some cases astronomically more expensive, e.g. Denon)


The above being said, the picture quality for 3 different DVDs that we've played has been rather unimpressive for both my wife and I. Since we mostly watch TV in 1080i (Comcast), the difference is rather noticeable and borderline unbearable for me.


Having done what I feel is adequate (though not extensive) research on the subject of 1080P upconverting DVD players, I think a decent option would be the Oppo DV-981HD . It has received rave reviews from numerous sites, including this one. But there have also been a few "there are numerous artifacts on the screen" and "I see some combing" reviews. I mean, is the picture really going to be that much better?


I need a little convincing on making the purchase. Please help!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mean_sartin14 /forum/post/0


I need a little convincing on making the purchase. Please help!!

There is only so much that can be done with SD-DVD: it's encoded at 480i and has 480x720 pixels max (NTSC). That said, I have been pleased with my Oppo 971 and 981. Would the 981 make a dramatic difference over what you have now? I don't know how to predict that. It depends on your expectations and how fanatical you are about your DVDs.


My opinion: good deinterlacing gets you about 90% of the way there. The business with upscaling is an attempt to squeeze that last few percent out of a relatively low-rez source. I can tell the difference between scaling in the display vs scaling in the player; not night and day, but enough that I want it.


One benefit of a 1080p source is that you've removed a variable from the chain. Presuming your display does 1:1 pixel mapping you no longer have to worry about the scaling capability of your display. I suspect the various video processing tricks are bypassed also.


You might also consider the new HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player, some of which are said to have good SD-DVD playback. The Toshibas are becoming more affordable.


-Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain /forum/post/0


There is only so much that can be done with SD-DVD: it's encoded at 480i and has 480x720 pixels max (NTSC). That said, I have been pleased with my Oppo 971 and 981. Would the 981 make a dramatic difference over what you have now? I don't know how to predict that. It depends on your expectations and how fanatical you are about your DVDs.


My opinion: good deinterlacing gets you about 90% of the way there. The business with upscaling is an attempt to squeeze that last few percent out of a relatively low-rez source. I can tell the difference between scaling in the display vs scaling in the player; not night and day, but enough that I want it.


One benefit of a 1080p source is that you've removed a variable from the chain. Presuming your display does 1:1 pixel mapping you no longer have to worry about the scaling capability of your display. I suspect the various video processing tricks are bypassed also.


You might also consider the new HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player, some of which are said to have good SD-DVD playback. The Toshibas are becoming more affordable.


-Bill

Thank you for the input, Bill! I look forward to some more.


With regards to my expectations and the difference between what I had (I literally JUST got back from returning the Sony DVP-NS55P) and what I will be purchasing (Oppo DV-981HD), I am expecting a noticeably improved picture, especially considering the ~$150 jump in price of the component. I basically want to feel good about going with the Oppo when I watch a SD DVD on it.


A question I have is have you compared a SD progressive scan DVD player scene-for-scene to the Oppo DV-981HD? If not, do you know of any reviews that have done this? This would probably push me over the top. I would also like to know if you had to buy it again, would you and why? I just don't want to look at the picture of a DVD when I hook it up and go, "Eh, I guess that looks better."


As far as the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player goes, not until it can be had for ~$200 or less. More titles would be important also.
 

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I used to install home theater systems for a few years. Usually- it wasn't really about getting the "real" best picture, but rather getting what the customer wanted. Usually naming off "polk audio" and other name brands. This didn't really get them much of anything. Upconverting? mostly a term coined to sell more dvd players.


A dvd that wasn't recorded with good resolutions, won't took a ton better. Best thing to do? Go buy one of each- compare the video, return the ones you don't like. Yeah- things will look different between different DVD players- but really it's like going to an optometrist and getting a check up. Once he gets into the general area where my vision is, comparing #1 and #2 lenses are just so friggin hard to decide on. A really good TV will do more for video than comparing DVD players with in the basically same price range.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mean_sartin14 /forum/post/0


A question I have is have you compared a SD progressive scan DVD player scene-for-scene to the Oppo DV-981HD? If not, do you know of any reviews that have done this?

No, my previous player was an ancient non-progressive toshiba. Fine for its day, but not up to snuff now. You might search the sticky threads at the top here where people review their gear. And the 981 thread, of course. The Home Secrets shootout review is not up yet. You've looked at the player test results there, I presume? http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/cgi-bin/shootout.cgi

Quote:
Originally Posted by mean_sartin14 /forum/post/0


I would also like to know if you had to buy it again, would you and why?

Absolutely. Oppo has a "cultish" following here for several reasons. The price/performance is unbeatable. Your customer support emails are answered by real people who are open about system internals and limits. They release regular firmware updates to fix faults and provide new features.

Quote:
I just don't want to look at the picture of a DVD when I hook it up and go, "Eh, I guess that looks better."

Well, it's not magic and it will never look HD, but on a well-mastered disk I find myself marveling: I can't believe there are only 480 vertical pixels in the source. SD-DVD has it's limits but I feel I am getting every bit out of the material.


Oppo has a 30-day return. It's worth trying just to see for yourself if the difference is worthwhile.

Quote:
As far as the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player goes, not until it can be had for ~$200 or less. More titles would be important also.

I agree! How many times are these people watching HITCH? Cheap rip-ability would be nice, too.


-Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Originally Posted by areallygoodname /forum/post/0


I used to install home theater systems for a few years. Usually- it wasn't really about getting the "real" best picture, but rather getting what the customer wanted. Usually naming off "polk audio" and other name brands. This didn't really get them much of anything. Upconverting? mostly a term coined to sell more dvd players.


A dvd that wasn't recorded with good resolutions, won't took a ton better. Best thing to do? Go buy one of each- compare the video, return the ones you don't like. Yeah- things will look different between different DVD players- but really it's like going to an optometrist and getting a check up. Once he gets into the general area where my vision is, comparing #1 and #2 lenses are just so friggin hard to decide on. A really good TV will do more for video than comparing DVD players with in the basically same price range.

Understood and agreed. The only part that confuses me is that I thought the Sony 50" SXRD KDS-50A2000 was 'a really good TV'. Is there some setting I need to adjust to make the picture look better for progressive scan SD DVD player input? I have adjusted absolutely 0 settings on the TV to this point.


Assuming that the Sony 50" SXRD KDS-50A2000 is generally considered 'a really good TV', what more could I do? So far my viewing experience with HD channels/programming (through Comcast) has been nothing short of spectacular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain /forum/post/0


No, my previous player was an ancient non-progressive toshiba. Fine for its day, but not up to snuff now. You might search the sticky threads at the top here where people review their gear. And the 981 thread, of course. The Home Secrets shootout review is not up yet. You've looked at the player test results there, I presume? http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/cgi-bin/shootout.cgi


Absolutely. Oppo has a "cultish" following here for several reasons. The price/performance is unbeatable. Your customer support emails are answered by real people who are open about system internals and limits. They release regular firmware updates to fix faults and provide new features.


Well, it's not magic and it will never look HD, but on a well-mastered disk I find myself marveling: I can't believe there are only 480 vertical pixels in the source. SD-DVD has it's limits but I feel I am getting every bit out of the material.


Oppo has a 30-day return. It's worth trying just to see for yourself if the difference is worthwhile.


I agree! How many times are these people watching HITCH? Cheap rip-ability would be nice, too.


-Bill

Bill - I think your answers pretty much cover it. I had not looked at the shootout you linked, but I have now. It seems that the overwhelming majority of reviews on the Oppo DVD players, customer service and product quality are very positive. As such, I just need to figure out where I want to buy it from. Amazon.com has it for the same price as Oppo, but offers free shipping. Only question is what is their return policy like? Haven't experienced it personally.


So I think I'm convinced. Got anything to push me over the top?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mean_sartin14 /forum/post/0


Amazon.com has it for the same price as Oppo, but offers free shipping. Only question is what is their return policy like? Haven't experienced it personally.

I bought my 971 from Amazon for the free shipping. When I had a problem Oppo took it back directly. They shipped me a replacement immediately, gave me 30 days to return the old one and paid the shipping.


I bought the 981 direct from Oppo and paid for shipping myself.


Check the stocking situation carefully. If Amazon (or other reseller) is out of stock Oppo will have new units before anyone else.


To do a fair test you should run a calibration disk on the new player and adjust the display. I started with THX Optimizer but now use GetGray from http://www.calibrate.tv/ (you have to download it and burn your own disk). In either case the THX blue filter glasses are handy: http://thx.com/home/dvd/blueglasses.html .


I have Avia and DVE but find them cumbersome compared to GetGray.


Good luck!


-Bill
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mean_sartin14 /forum/post/0


Understood and agreed. The only part that confuses me is that I thought the Sony 50" SXRD KDS-50A2000 was 'a really good TV'. Is there some setting I need to adjust to make the picture look better for progressive scan SD DVD player input? I have adjusted absolutely 0 settings on the TV to this point.


Assuming that the Sony 50" SXRD KDS-50A2000 is generally considered 'a really good TV', what more could I do? So far my viewing experience with HD channels/programming (through Comcast) has been nothing short of spectacular.



Bill - I think your answers pretty much cover it. I had not looked at the shootout you linked, but I have now. It seems that the overwhelming majority of reviews on the Oppo DVD players, customer service and product quality are very positive. As such, I just need to figure out where I want to buy it from. Amazon.com has it for the same price as Oppo, but offers free shipping. Only question is what is their return policy like? Haven't experienced it personally.


So I think I'm convinced. Got anything to push me over the top?


Sean,

Just wanted to throw this in, it might be useful or encouraging you;

I am also an owner of a 50A2000 and the Standard DVD quality on my set is really outstanding. I do have a Dennon progressive scan DVD player (older model, non-upconverting). If I compare the picture quality to a Mitsu (older cheap model) DVD player that I also own, the Dennon is waaay better looking. My conclusion would be that the DVD player can make a substantial difference. I do not own an Oppo myself (yet) but but as someone said earlier, they are highly praised on this forum.

Assuming you do not have other issues that are causing you to see sub-par DVD quality, I think you will be pleased with the Oppo.


Just for what it's worth.


Rusty
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain /forum/post/0


I bought my 971 from Amazon for the free shipping. When I had a problem Oppo took it back directly. They shipped me a replacement immediately, gave me 30 days to return the old one and paid the shipping.


I bought the 981 direct from Oppo and paid for shipping myself.


Check the stocking situation carefully. If Amazon (or other reseller) is out of stock Oppo will have new units before anyone else.

Since both Amazon and Oppo are out of stock at this date, sounds like I will be purchasing from Oppo. Oppo estimates that they will begin shipping again 26-Jan-2007.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain /forum/post/0


To do a fair test you should run a calibration disk on the new player and adjust the display. I started with THX Optimizer but now use GetGray from http://www.calibrate.tv/ (you have to download it and burn your own disk). In either case the THX blue filter glasses are handy: http://thx.com/home/dvd/blueglasses.html .


I have Avia and DVE but find them cumbersome compared to GetGray.


Good luck!


-Bill

Now this is totally uncharted territory for me. A 'calibration DVD' ? Shows you just how behind the curve I am. Where can I learn more about this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyWatkins /forum/post/0


Sean,

Just wanted to throw this in, it might be useful or encouraging you;

I am also an owner of a 50A2000 and the Standard DVD quality on my set is really outstanding. I do have a Dennon progressive scan DVD player (older model, non-upconverting). If I compare the picture quality to a Mitsu (older cheap model) DVD player that I also own, the Dennon is waaay better looking. My conclusion would be that the DVD player can make a substantial difference. I do not own an Oppo myself (yet) but but as someone said earlier, they are highly praised on this forum.

Assuming you do not have other issues that are causing you to see sub-par DVD quality, I think you will be pleased with the Oppo.


Just for what it's worth.


Rusty

Rusty - Thanks for the input! It is comforting that you are satisfied with SD DVD quality on your KDS-50A2000. Perhaps the Sony DVP-NS55P is just not a good DVD player? I think I am pretty sold on the Oppo DV-981HD, so now it's just a question of getting it, hooking it up, calibrating it and seeing the result.


Thanks again for the input!!


I need to learn more on this 'calibration DVD' thing. It really is news to me.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mean_sartin14 /forum/post/0


Now this is totally uncharted territory for me. A 'calibration DVD' ? Shows you just how behind the curve I am. Where can I learn more about this?

There is a calibration forum: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=139 . It seems to used by both absolute beginners and hardened professionals. There are professional calibrators who will come and do the works on your system for a few hundred dollars.


I have no experience with that. The calibration disks I know about display patterns that help you optimally set your display's Brightness/Contrast/Saturation/Hue, etc. The best known products are Avia and Digital Video Essentials, available from Amazon and elsewhere. There is a Monster/ISF disk that uses video clips instead of test patterns which might be best for non-technical users.


I use the GetGray disk I mentioned earlier.


The easiest way to get started is to practice with the THX Optimizer which is available for free in the setup section of THX Certified disks. See the list here: http://thx.com/mod/products/dvd/dvdFind.html .


Calibration is really essential if you to get the most out of your system.


-Bill
 
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