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Discussion Starter #1
Before I proceed with my review, a little overview...


I recently purchased and am enjoying the Panasonic RP-56. However, I have not jumped the boat to the Panasonic RP-91 because de-interlacing is important to me. While the majority of my DVDs are anamorphic films, I occasionally enjoy watching video based DVDs such as concert DVDs (I use James Taylor Live at The Beacon as THE FILM BASED REFERENCE DISC).


With that in mind, I wanted a well rounded player that not only displayed a good looking picture but can eliminate those hated jaggies in film based DVDs. I know many AVS members feels the RP91 has better picture quality vs. the RP56. Even Don Munsil noted it was indeed better, but "not huge." By the same token, Don and Stacey did unequivocally agree the Sage chip (in the RP56) outperforms the Genesis (in the RP91). Therefore, I chose the RP56 as my well rounded player.


However, Stacey's post "And the winner is..." peaked my interest with the new Toshiba 3750/4700/5700 series.


Out of curiosity I picked one up at Best Buy yesterday and have put it through the paces. My findings are...

PICTURE QUALITY (w/anamorphic FILM)

Very close, with the RP56 edging the 3750. The picture was a bit sharper, where the Toshiba tended to be a tad soft [the Panasonic displayed a noticeable better pic qual on not so great transfers, i.e. The Godfather (Part I)]

DE-INTERLACER (w/VIDEO)

RP56 with the Sage chip wins hands down. The 3750 did an admirable job but once in a while showed jaggies on panoramic shots. I noticed the stage colors in James Taylor Beacon DVD were vibrant and dead sharp on the RP56. The 3750 was again a tad softer (yes, I recalibrated) with details lacking.

SOUND (digital outputs only)

I noticed no difference in digital sounds between the two players. I used the RP56's optical vs. 3750's optical and coax digital outputs. Toshiba's 192kHz/24bit vs. Panasonic's 94kHz/24bit yielded no noticeable advantage. Perhaps Stacey can explain if 192kHz DACs vs. 94 should indeed yield an advantage in digital out?


With these findings, I'm leaning towards returning the 3750. I will continue to examine the Toshiba for next week before I finalize my decision.


Some interesting findings of the 3750 potential buyers might like to know...


1) Stacey was correct. The 3750 does use the Zoran Vaddis V MPEG chip. I opened up the unit with the chip facing upwards. I believe the Vaddis V will be used also in Toshiba's 4700 (DVD w/HDCD) and 5700 (w/DVD-A).


2) The 3750 does allow you to switch between interlace and progressive via remote


3) It has "Aspect Ratio" control, but not true scaling like RP91. That is, it will allow you to display 4:3 or non-anamorphic materials in PROGRESSIVE (with black side bars for 4:3 or black bars all around letterbox movies)


4) The "Zoom" feature is trivial. In Progressive or Interlace, one can move the picture and zoom in, but it displays an annoying non defeatable zoom icon on the left of one's screen. Basically, it's a cheap imitation of scaling.


5) I inspected the Toshiba SD-K700 unit at Costco. This is the same exact unit as the SD-3750. It is indeed rebadged for the warehouse market (like Costco). Someone suggested (in ***************.com) that maybe Toshiba had units with "bad" Zoran chips displaying the chroma bug and unloaded to mass merchandising. This is of course hypothetical, and Costco has is for $189.99 (vs. Best Buys $199.99 for the official SD-3750). I opted to pay $10 more for the official moniker.


6) The 3750 does indeed have much better features and a very friendly GUI. The icons are text based and one can change settings in Progressive mode such as film/video detection, aspect ratio, and the ever important Video Settings (Toshiba gives you 4 User settings).


I hope this helps any members potentially thinking about buying or just comparing these two GREAT VALUE DVD players.
 

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Vu


Thank you for your review. I also have the James Taylor DVD and was wondering if you could provide more info about why you selected this DVD and specifically what (and where) you look for in it in when you are using it to evaluate DVD players.


Thanks,

Dennis
 

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i did the same thing as you did,


scaling works for me well:


once you put it in 4:3 mode you zoom out and it diplays it in its exact aspect ratio, and all you have to do is click on exit and it turns off the zoom icon, which wasnt a big deal for me since i have a toshiba and it doesnt lock in full mode, but it seems to do a little bit better of a job the the toshiba tv it self. the reason i like this option is because i watch alot of hk movies and when i do this the subtitles stay on the screen vs being cut off sometimes becauce i have a 16X9 television


i agree with that the toshiba gave a sharper picture on the godfather as well, to me the toshiba gives out a sharper picture, but the colors looked better on the panasonic, at first i was gonna stay with the panasonic after the first day of comparing but after a little time messing around with the toshiba i was able to tweak it to look better then i had my panasonic, what im saying is they diplay i pretty equal picture give and take one excells in one play while the other would another


i didnt get any time to test any sound, im going to stick with the toshiba because of the features, since they both display similar picture
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dennis,


I chose the James Taylor DVD because frankly it's arguably the best 4:3 recorded DVD in terms of colors and sound. And of couse, how can one go wrong with James' acoustic and singing abilities. Truly a reference concert DVD.


For colors, I viewed the colors of stage set. Specifically the panoramic scans when lighting and colors were transitioned from different songs.


For details, look at close ups of James face. Particularly if you can see the skin textures and the sweat collecting on his face.


For de-interlacing, look at his shirt (the arms in parcticular) and his guitar. A good de-interlacer chip (like the Sage/Faroudja in the RP56) shows no jaggies whatsoever. The Toshiba does exhibit occcasional jaggies - but I doubt it's no where nere as bad as the Genesis chips (as indicated my Shootout II).


Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
MassaCure,


Ahh. I stand corrected. The zoom feature is defeatable! Thanks for telling me about the "exit" key.


I agree that the Panasonic displays colors much better. But I think you misread my comments on poorly mastered DVDs such as The Godfather (Part I). I really felt the Panasonic displayed a much sharper picture vs. a softer (and unwatchable) picture from the Toshiba.


I intend to do finer calibrations with the Toshiba this weekend to and see if it can yield better results.
 

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no the zoom mode is much improved, if you zoomed before the picture quality would be almoust unbearable on my 5109 im not sure of the 6200
 

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I purchased the Toshiba 3755 after my Toshiba 3109 was giving me tech problems after 2 years. I loved that player...great picture, crystal clear, natural colors...great sound.


I couldn't decided whether to continue with another Toshiba since I had disc jamming errors, audio sync, disc skipping problems.


However, I decided on the 3755. I've experienced a couple of problems, probably some I can live with since the picture again is so great. However, the sound is not as full as other players. I've hooked up my player via optical! When I hook up the player with traditional RCA plugs, the bass and fullness is improved but lacks the center channel separation for better vocal scenes. So I'm frustrated. After fiddling with the player, I realized I had the Dynamic Audio Range turned on. When I turned it off, the sound improved and became fuller.


I do find that the player skips occasionally, the audio syncing can be off during certain scenes throughout a film, namely 'Next stop Wonderland' and 'Aliens'. And between chapter changes, the film freezes for approx 2 seconds then resumes play into the next chapter. The 3755 also throws english subtitles on movies after the film is paused and play is resummed. Do most players do this? Have you heard of any of these issues?



I believe this is the only huge problem and I have tried adusting my Denon 1801 Digital Surround Sound Receiver to pump up the fullness of sound and subwoofer but no luck.


I've read a lot about the panasonic RP56 player and am considering switching it for this player. The picture on the Toshiba is generally great, crystal clear! Just can't understand if I'm expecting too much from any player.


Love to hear what anyone has heard or experienced.


Thanks,
[email protected]


p.s. What's the chroma bug anyway? In laypersons terms, please!
 

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Thanks Vu for the review. I have been hedging between the RP 56, RP 91 and the Tosh 3750. With the RP 56 haveing the better Sage chip and the lower cost I am biased in this direction. Read the reviews on the Tosh and was again undecided. But with the reported softer picture, I prefer sharpness, I will look towards the 56. Thanks again

John
 

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Eventhought I don't have the need for aspect control, DVD-A, DVD-RAM. Just like to mention few features that set the RP91 apart from the RP56: 1) Remastering of CD audio from 44.1khz? to 98.2khz in 3 different modes (rock, jazz, classical), make older and poor production CDs sound closer to DVD-audio... 2) Pictrol Control esp. "F" mode make the pic sharper and clearer.


Question: if one's DVD collection consist of newer DVD (assuming improve quality in production over older DVDs), would deinterlace factor matter?


CHI
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Chi,


Ok, Ok...you've peaked my interest enough to at least try the RP91. I am immensely curious why you and other RP91 owners have stated that you returned the RP56 once you saw the picture quality of the RP91. RP91 proponents seem to see a significant improvement going from the RP56; however, Don Munsil and Stacey seem to indicate minor improvments.


Nevertheless, I will see first hand myself and order one from JandR. I'm curious, what is this "F - Fine" tunning capability of the RP91? How would it make an anamorphic any more "sharp and clear?" Is it just a contrast/sharpness increase or is it an edge enhancement feature?
 

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Vu,


You just have to try it using your own A/V equipment (mine is Sony plasma 42B1 and I see the film-like quality). I am not proponent of Pana, if there is a better DVD in the same price range, I 'd put it up for sale instantly :) There is something about Pana 91's fingerprint that I like, like fingerprint of Leica M6, like fingerprint of Nakamichi sound (ok enough)... I actually enjoy watching Pana 91's 480p more than Tosh DST3000's 1080i (silky smooth vs. extremely crisp-generally speaking).


Pana's digital picture modes include N (normal), S (soft), F (fine-details are sharper), C (cinema?), and 4 users mode. I don't know if F mode is sharpness/contrast increase or edge inhancement. I mainly use Sony aspect control instead of Pana, because it seems better.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Chi,


I will try the Sade disk. I ordered the RP91 with it due to arrive next Friday. I'm looking forward to compare it to the RP56 and SD-3750 - especially the "silky smooth experience."


It's funny, I shouldn't hear a difference when using optical digital out via bitstream - but I do! The Toshiba has a better tonal balance while the Panasonic seemed thin and nasal. I know can't be possible since both units are outputing bitstream...just an interesting observation.
 
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