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Discussion Starter #1
If you were told that a respected manufacture was going to introduce a flagship single play DVD player in 90 to 120 days and that it was going to have a $3000 price tag, what would you expect this player to consist of in terms of features, build quality, parts, performance, etc.?
 

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Well, on a more serious note....


1) Sage or Silicon Images De-interlacing engine

2) No chroma flaw


Those are the bare minimum. Features that would be interesting:

1) Upsampling

2) DVD-A or SACD multi-channel


Those are the quick and dirty highlights.
 

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Quote:
If you were told that a respected manufacture was going to introduce a flagship single play DVD player in 90 to 120 days and that it was going to have a $3000 price tag, what would you expect this player to consist of in terms of features, build quality, parts, performance, etc.?
A rebate coupon for at least $1500.


As far as I'm concerned any DVD player on the market, even with all of the features John has mentioned should be under US$1500. Hell, one already exists with John's first two features and costs less than US$250. It may not be top of the line, but it does go to show you that $3000 is just simply far too expensive.


But maybe if it had:


No chroma bug

Perfect de-interlacing

Great upscaling features

Great downcoversion

VGA, RGB component, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RAM compatibility

VCD and SVCD compatibility

No Macrovision

All region (RCE-compatible)

Perfect PAL-->NTSC conversion

HDCD, SACD, DVD-A, MP3 and bass management

Macrovision free

Build quality like a tank


Then I would consider it for that outrageous price.
 

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I agree on what has already been required:


- perfect adaptive deinterlacing (i.e. no flag reading) for BOTH NTSC and PAL progressive

- no chroma delay, chroma bug or chroma roll-off

- region free (must be doable from remote, no hw hacks)

- excellent video characteristics otherwise

- flawless audio/dvd performance on multiangle and difficulty authored titles (a list of these titles available on request for testing players performance)

- no audio synch problems of any kind

- no crashing, no audio drop outs, jerky images, etc.


Those are not hard to do and represent the minimum baseline to even get in the ring with other contenders (costing as low as $220!).


Then, if the manufacturer wanted to up the ante they could do any of the following (some taken from previous posts):


Signals and connections

- 480p/576p/720p/960p/1080i/1080p scaling and output

- component and RGB output

- DVI/Panel Link output

- firewire for connectivity and upgrades

- balanced audio outputs

- RJ45 internet connection for freedb.org connectivity


Format compatibility

- DTS 24/96 compatibility

- mp3 playback (Ogg vorbis would be a nice plus)

- CDR/CRW/DVD-R playback

- VCD/SVCD support

- NTSC->PAL, PAL->NTSC conversion


Audio capabilities

- CD, HDCD, multichannel SACD (real DSD->analog), DVD-A

- bass management (for multichannel audio formatsl)

- CD to 24/192 multi deltasigma upsampling on cd audio


Usability

- Ability to preprogram what soundtrack, what subtitles and what action to perform by default when disc is inserted (e.g. Select DTS discrete EX or DD if no DTS, disable subtitles and PLAY the DISC).

- good remote (too cumbersome to go into details)

- extremely fast operations and layer changes


Future proof

- Firmware upgradeable with cd-r (it WILL have bugs)

- firewire and DVI/panel link for future DVD-A/SACD digital output formats


Build quality

- Expenses used on the INSIDE not the front panel by selecting the best of class components in the price range

- separate power sources for audio and video parts

- good EMI/RFI shielding


Tricks to be done (if can't be put on a shipping player)

- No macrovision on ANY output

- SDI output


If it did all of the above with flawless audio/video performance, then it would sell not thousands, but hundreds of thousands. It would set a benchmark for all dvd players to follow.


I'd personally buy two right away and recommend it to a few hundred avid videophiles in at least seven countries.


I'm sure others will add to this, but the above would for me be the dream player and I'd be willing to pay up to $4000 for it, if it really worked and existed.


Cheers,

Halcy


PS A lot of manufacturers have gotten into the "feature game" only and have forgotten the "performance game". To succeed in this market, one must have a minimum set of features and EXCEL in the performance of these. Everything else is a step closer to the dream player, but if the fundamentals fail.... bye-bye...
 

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I'm sorry guys, it isn't as cheap as you all think it is to produce some of these players.


One particular OEM transport solution, bare bones, is over US$1000. This is no chassis, no audio modifications, etc. I'm not naming names, because it's irrelevant.


When you add up the incremental costs and the modifications that are made to usually poor performance on the audio side, you'll start to understand why these players are US$2000+.


Yes the Panasonic RP-56 and RP-91 are inexpensive, and I will not be surprised to see the audio measurements not stack up vs more expensive counterparts.


Take a look at the audio results on the individual tests when they are published. I can tell you the player I liked the most from a subjective standpoint just happened to measure the best. Thank goodness for that, or I would have been really given hell from Stacey and Colin ;)


Regards,
 

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Quote:
When you add up the incremental costs and the modifications that are made to usually poor performance on the audio side, you'll start to understand why these players are US$2000+.


Yes the Panasonic RP-56 and RP-91 are inexpensive, and I will not be surprised to see the audio measurements not stack up vs more expensive counterparts.
John, I'm sure that's true, but I'm guessing one can get a pretty damn good one for US$1500. No? It must be restated that the RP56 costs only $225 and the RP91 costs only $425. That's still another $1000 to work with, plus a couple of free DVDs thrown in.


Anyways, I defer your knowledge since I have zilch in this field, but am I wrong in thinking that one of the reasons that some of the components are so expensive is that very few people want them? Diminishing returns as one goes up in price... Plus, we weren't really talking about DVD-A or SACD specific players anyway (or were we?).


By the way, I forgot to mention. IT MUST HAVE AN INVISIBLE LAYER CHANGE. My el crapo Apex has no discernable layer change, so it cannot be that difficult to implement this feature on a >$500 player.
 

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Quote:
A rebate coupon for at least $1500.
LOL!

Quote:
PAL progressive
Not allowed by DVD licensee.

Quote:
576p/720p/960p/1080i/1080p scaling and output
Not allowed by DVD licensee.

Quote:
No Macrovision
Not Allowed by DVD licensee.

Quote:
All region (RCE-compatible)
Not allowed by DVD licensee.


A company could get fined somewhere around $100k per player sold if they did some of the above. I don't understand why Apex is still doing business, they got caught.


There are several DVD players on the market that are not built by OEMs. They might be able to get away with the above. This includes Theta and Camelot to name just a couple.

Quote:
Ability to preprogram what soundtrack
Again, not really allowed. Though I doubt one would get into trouble for doing it unless they really pissed of Toshiba.

Quote:
that the RP56 costs only $225 and the RP91 costs only $425.
These are both mass produced in very large #s so they can get the costs down. There is no way a specialty manufacturer could ever do this. This is why they charge the higher prices. A lot of specialty players are even based on these less expensive players. They probably buy around the same cost as you, then modify.


The RP56 for example uses the lowest tolerance parts at that cost point. You may find large video differences between mulitple units.
 

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Quote:
These are both mass produced in very large #s so they can get the costs down. There is no way a specialty manufacturer could ever do this. This is why they charge the higher prices. A lot of specialty players are even based on these less expensive players. They probably buy around the same cost as you, then modify.
Yes of course. I applaud the companies for the desire to create the perfect player. I personally cannot justify spending that kind of money on any player as you may have guessed however. OTOH, I would be willing to spend $1000+ on a top-of-the-line mass-produced feature rich player even if it meant not being the absolute platinum standard.
Quote:
Not allowed by DVD licensee.


A company could get fined somewhere around $100k per player sold if they did some of the above. I don't understand why Apex is still doing business, they got caught.


There are several DVD players on the market that are not built by OEMs. They might be able to get away with the above. This includes Theta and Camelot to name just a couple.
One wonders how far a reach these rule makers, etc. have. It is interesting to note that the big brand name companies make all region players all the time in other countries. Walk into a store in China and elsewhere and you'll see Panasonic, LG, Pioneer, etc. all with a full line of DVD players all region free, in sealed boxes direct from the factory.


Apex on the other hand now makes Region 1 restricted machines so it seems they're in line with the rules in North America. I'm guessing the reason that many of the Apex still remain popular (besides the fact they're cheap... in more ways than one) is because some use off the shelf computer parts, and there are already modifiable firmwares floating around the net. For example, for at least one Apex machine, the method of making one modification is simply to take apart the machine and plug the drive into a PC, run it as a Windows DVD-ROM drive and to make modifications from there. Or one can even make custom firmwares with personalized backgrounds using freely available software if one wishes. Any video game generation geek can do this. This is simply impossible with most other DVD players however, so mods will cost big money, done by 3rd parties.


But I digress.
 

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Bugsaretasty....


You say you have zero knowledge in the field, yet you say that anything over US$1500 is overpriced. This is of course in complete contradiction with themselves, since you have no idea what it takes to produce such a player.


Once the law of diminishing returns kicks in things escalate in price. Trying to get last 1% of performance, say that additional 2mph on a car, or that additional decimal on distortion, or that 0.1dB of accuracy on a component that gets quite expensive to produce.


Me, I use about a $1500 DVD-V/DVD-A player, and I'm satisfied with it....


I'm sure if I hear better I'll end up with it, and it WON'T be cheap.


Regards,
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by John Kotches
I'm sorry guys, it isn't as cheap as you all think it is to produce some of these players.
I'm sorry John, but it isn't as cheap as you all think to buy some of these players :)


One particular $3000 player represents a normal persons two months worth of salary (after taxes and rent/mortage) in most place of Europe. CEOs and higher paid middle management excluded :)


That's 1/6 of what you make in a year. It is not cheap.


So, I don't think it's too much to ask if the player (boutique or not) performed AT LEAST on the level of a mass produced $200 player and then upped the ante with SOME (not all) additional features.

Quote:
Originally posted by spears


Not allowed by DVD licensee.
Thanks for enlightening me/us on these. Let's hope it's a boutique player. Also, I think you are mistaken about the PAL progressive. Yes, you can output it, but it must have Macrovision (and yes, Macrovision for PAL progressive IS ready - as told by a macrovision representative - it can be licensed by any DVD licensee for several months already).


They guy asked his opinion, we gave him ours (regardless of how unrealistic).


What would you look for in a $3000 player (in more realistic terms as you know more about the financial realities of producing one)?


It'd be very interesting to hear your needs/wants.


Best regards,

Halcy
 

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Halcy,


I've never made any commentary about income level etc....


Where have I said that it shouldn't perform as well as an inexpensive player?


My statement is that it is very expensive for the last bit of performance is true in almost every brand of product.


Want a basic washing machine? THat's available around US$200.


Want the latest / greatest super cool-o washer? That's over US$1000.


So even in regular consumer appliances there's a huge spread of prices.


Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter #13
A $3000 DVD player introduced at this time would undoubtedly

have to press the envelope in some manner in order to have any

viability. I imagine this would start out as an engineering project wherein the design team would be assigned the task of creating

the best component they can without consideration as to cost.

The results may or may not be God's gift, but in the process, much is learned and new standards in certain areas may be achieved. These "break through" achievements are costly on the first "flagship" model, but suprise suprise, in six months the new technology begins to migrate downward through the manufacture's lower-priced introductions. What used to cost X now only costs Y. And the beat goes on...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by John Kotches
Bugsaretasty....


You say you have zero knowledge in the field, yet you say that anything over US$1500 is overpriced. This is of course in complete contradiction with themselves, since you have no idea what it takes to produce such a player.
True. (However, it's a matter of perspective as I'm sure everyone knows.)

Quote:
Once the law of diminishing returns kicks in things escalate in price. Trying to get last 1% of performance, say that additional 2mph on a car, or that additional decimal on distortion, or that 0.1dB of accuracy on a component that gets quite expensive to produce.
Also true, although one wonders if in blinded subjective testing many would hear a significant difference in an optimized high-end DVD player from a larger consumer-oriented company vs. a boutique player. Ie. I'm wondering how good a player Panasonic could build for $1500 street if their mandate was to put something up against the boutique players. (Isn't the Camelot based on one of the Panasonics by the way? I can't remember.) I still have huge problems hearing any differences between more down-to-earth amps like Denon, etc. vs. the high-end boutique amps. Obviously my ears could be part of the problem though.


Anyways, I have nothing against boutique equipment per se. I think they often push the envelope and sometimes their existence forces other companies to stand up and take notice. For instance, if the other boutique players with the Sage chip hadn't existed, I doubt we'd be seeing a Panasonic RP56 today. Some of these bigger companies sometimes need to push the envelope more (although some do try to). And once superior technology does start to trickle into the mainstream, the larger companies would do well to capitalize on it at both the low and high end. This would undoubted bring the overall prices down, more in line with numbers that us mere mortals could afford.


P.S. I hope nobody takes offense to any of my comments. These are the ramblings of a DVD enthusiast who just wishes he had more money to blow... :)
 

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Quote:
Also, I think you are mistaken about the PAL progressive. Yes, you can output it, but it must have Macrovision (and yes, Macrovision for PAL progressive IS ready - as told by a macrovision representative - it can be licensed by any DVD licensee for several months already).
Nope, it has not been approved by the DVD forum yet. Until then, it is not allowed. I know John at Arcam has been fighting this battle for a while now.


There is the other little issue of the display device. I am not aware of any PAL display device that will accept 576p. THe ones that do may choke on Macrovision. Several high-end display devices in the US choke on 480p Macrovision.


I am not against any of the stuff mentioned, I just don't want people to hold out for something they may not get for a long while. In fact, I have a few DVD players that will do 576p and I enjoy it.
 

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Bugs,


I think it's great that outstanding performance is getting down to real world pricing. Me, I'm considering an inexpensive seriously good player for DVD-V alone, leaving my DVD-V/DVD-A player to play DVD-A and CDs.


The Camelot and EAD players are based on OEM Panasonic transports. The Ayre is based on a Pioneer OEM transport. By the time Camelot, EAD and Ayre are finished there's very little of the original player left... As far as I can tell, only the MPEG decoder is used from the OEM transport. Well the remote is probably reused too.


So, the video stage is overhauled the audio stage is overhauled and quite likely the power supply(ies) is/are upgraded.


Panasonic does build a player to compete with the Boutique players, it's called the H2000 -- and it has an MSRP around US$2500. Read the benchmark to see what Panasonic can do with their high-end player.


Regards,
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by sspears
Nope, it has not been approved by the DVD forum yet.
I stand corrected. Thanks.

Quote:


There is the other little issue of the display device. I am not aware of any PAL display device that will accept 576p.
Eh? I'm not sure what you meant, but at least Loewe Aconda has progressive input and several PAL DLP/LCD/CRT projectors accept 576p. I hear that certain LG and Grunding CRT TV models can also be fed PAL prog (haven't been able to confirm these myself).


Did I misunderstand what you meant?

Quote:


THe ones that do may choke on Macrovision. Several high-end display devices in the US choke on 480p Macrovision.
This could well be - fortunately I haven't been able to test 576p signal with Macrovision :)

Quote:


In fact, I have a few DVD players that will do 576p and I enjoy it.
I've seen Denon and Arcam on Pal progressive and enjoy none of them to the fullest - unfortunately. They both jerk/stutter/drop frames on PAL progressive. I wonder what causes this (I'm not an engineer)?


I'd really like to see a PAL prog player that just performs - even if it's a remote hack, non dvd-licensed player, an official pal prog player or a hardware mod.


I feel like a second class HT citizen for living in Europe :)


cheers,

Halcy


PS John, I understand your point (and agree with it). I didn't mean to appear as argumentative. My apologies.
 

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Quote:
They both jerk/stutter/drop frames on PAL progressive.
Just to be clear, this is native PAL being played back at 576p and not NTSC being converted to 576p correct?


I have seen one Sage and one Silicon Image based DVD player output 576p with not jerk/stutter. I am happy to look into such things.


Was this disc(s) specific? The only PAL discs I have are Seasons 1-7 of Friends, Ring, Ring 2, Looking for Alibrandi, Iron Monkey, and Snatch.


So more than the 10HT can play 576p? That is good to know.
 

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Q. What would a $3,000.00 DVD player need to have to get my attention?

A. $2,200.00 worth of performance better than an $800.00 HTPC.


--Jerome
 

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I can personally vouch for the fact that if you are lucky enough to own an HTPC that has been optimized and tweaked by a certain un-named poster to this thread then you will never ever again even want to consider a standalone. No matter what it has in it

and no matter what it costs. No matter anything. I now wouldn't trade my HTPC for a dozen of these hypothetical DVD players.


p.s. a month ago I would have gladly traded the same HTPC for

that "el crapo Apex".


Bob Wood
 
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