Arcam DV88 - DVD-A and Prog Scan?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by clived, Dec 11, 2002.

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  1. clived

    clived
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    I've owned a DV88 for just over two years now, and have been waiting patiently for the DVD-A upgrade board. The last response from Arcam customer services (about 4 weeks ago) regarding availability was "I really don't know". Helpful for something promised for mid 2002!

    I've waited so long that I'm now on the verge of going Plasma... which means I'm now just as interested in the prog-scan board. Question is this: Does anyone know if I'm likley to be able to upgrade my DV88 to both DVD-A and prog-scan, or should I look elsewhere?

    And if I'm looking elsewhere, whats out there thats multiregion, plays DVD-A, and has a fair chance of becoming PAL prog-scan enabled?!?!

    Cheers, Clive
     
  2. ian_guinan

    ian_guinan
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    It would do all that you ask, and despite what you may have read about 'issues' it is very likely that you could buy a machine with the latest firmware which is trouble free. Definitely worth a demo for you.

    You should still be able to get a good price for your DV88 too which should make the upgrade less painful.

    Also I've read that there is an Arcam DV-89 coming out in the new year which has progressive, DVD-A (and very likely PAL-P). Might be worth hanging out till then as would most likely work out cheaper than upgrading your machine.

    Regards,
    Ian Guinan
     
  3. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Or you can have your DV88 upgraded like I did..

    If you want to go to DVD Audio (Which is due 1st quarter next year I believe) then you will have to have the machine upgraded to the DV88+ spec which will take the DVD-A add-on.

    So either you sell your DV88 and buy a DV88+ (or DV89 which is the + with the DVD-A board) or get your current machine upgraded with the new boards.

    You are looking at about £400 for the upgrade to DV88+ and £200 I think for the DVD-A board.

    New prices for the DV88 are £999 and for the DV89 I believe £1200..

    BTW the Dv88+ (and DV89) are PAL/NTSC progressive out of the box!

    Matt
     
  4. MarkB4506

    MarkB4506
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    I've waited so long that I'm now on the verge of going Plasma... which means I'm now just as interested in the prog-scan board. Question is this: Does anyone know if I'm likley to be able to upgrade my DV88 to both DVD-A and prog-scan, or should I look elsewhere?


    You can certainly upgrade the DV88 to both of these.

    It will need the MPEG decoder card replaced - a Vaddis 5 card which will provide the MLP decoder for DVD Audio plus addition of 4 extra DACs to give analogue 5.1 output. I believe (but am not 100% certain on this , that Dolby Digital and DTS will also be available at these outputs)

    The Vaddis 5 board will also provide a progressive video output, with native support for both 480p and 576p as YPbPr from the existing phonos with menu based switching options between interlaced and progressive. However if you want the maximum quality available from the player , the Silicon Image board can still be fitted to provide progressive YPbPr or RGB from a separate set of 3 phonos.

    This will cost tho!
    I understood January was the DVD-A launch date. Sometimes you do get different stories depending on who you get talking to at Arcam. The mobile phone company Orange suffer from the worst case of this - you never hear the same thing twice!
     
  5. martintyler

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    Arcam support just told me it is not possible to upgrade a DV88 to DV88+

    Also said the only difference between the DV88P (the old prog scan upgrade) and the Plus is the new one supports PAL.

    Seems to be a lot of different views on these things flying about.
     
  6. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Believe me mate... you can get the DV88 upgraded... its in my front room :)

    I think I was the guinea pig trial run... but I can see no reason as to why they will not make it available... its public knowledge here on the forum???

    Very confusing I have to say.. I also believe that the plug progressive board was unofficially P*l progressive.. whereas the 88+ is the officially ratified player with pal progressive...

    The plug in board used <help required here> whereas the DV88+ had progressive features built into the Zoran chipset (i think) so they are substantial different. Some ppl here also say the plug board is better rather than the all in one. I cannot comment as I have not bought a projector etc yet!

    Matt
     
  7. martintyler

    martintyler
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    Maybe Mr Dawson can clarify then.

    Can you upgrade a DV88 to DV88Plus?
    Is prog scan on DV88P better than DV88Plus?
    Can you upgrade to DVD-A on a DV88 or only on a DV88Plus?

    Are things being kept secret or does the support team not know what they are talking about?
     
  8. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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  9. MarkB4506

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    The 88 can certainly be physically upgraded to the 88+ or 89 spec - the thing is modular and designed to be upgradeable. In fact part of Arcam's reputation revolves around this - your player isn't set in stone as things evolve.

    So it seems odd indeed that people are being told that they cant have this.
    Sometimes it's a time thing and the new player has to be around a while before they start an upgrade program fully - I dont know.

    What is certainly not true is to say that the only difference between the 88P and 88+ is 576p! - you could always get 576p from the 88P - and interestingly the progressive scan menu option which enabled this (and was present in software 1.79) has disappeared in the current version of software - 1.81. The progressive scan menu now only has options for RGB and sync on green. The 625 option has gone! It now outputs 576p by default just like the 88+.

    And that chipset is amazing - nothing holds onto film mode like the Silicon Image - and the new 504 has some improved diagonal algorhythms for video mode! It was always good with this tho.
     
  10. rafaelp

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    My two cents,

    Wait for the DVD-A upgrade. By waiting your DV-88 will be upgraded to the Vaddis 5 as part of the upgrade. May I also suggest you upgrade the DVD transport at the same time so that you get support for the new media coming out DVD+R, etc...

    I'm "sortof" in the same situation with my DV27. I will be doing the DVD-A upgrade which will provide the better Vaddis 5 but would also like to upgrade the Sil 503 to 504 and also upgrade the transport to the latest version.

    As to the differences between the DV88P and DV88+, I agree with MarkB4506 that the Sil503 in the DV88P is a more refined solution though I've been told by someone I trust that the MPEG decoder on the Vaddis 5 is better than the one on the Vaddis 3.

    Isn't all of this confusing. We could have bought a Denon but I don't think we would have this much fun! :))

    In closing just listen to a CD and realize why you bought it in the first place...

    Regards,
    Rafael
     
  11. clived

    clived
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    In closing just listen to a CD and realize why you bought it in the first place...

    Ahh... well, I don't really use it as a CD player... I have an ancient Marantz CD-94 that I've just come to love the sound of!

    Clive

    P.S. Thanks for all the replies so far - just wating for Mr Dawson to get all definative with us... :)
     
  12. MarkB4506

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    Rafael - Indeed waiting for the DVD-A upgrade is a good idea in that you'll get the two upgrades at once. Upgrading the transport is also a good idea. Just on the point of the Silicon Image chipset - there are only a few differences between the 503 and 4 some of which dont really make any practical difference.

    -it's smaller and requires less power although there is pin-for-pin
    equivalence between the two.
    -it generates its clocks from 1 PLL as opposed to 3 on the 503
    -it has some extra diagonal processing for video mode.

    Thats about it - the first two dont make any difference. If you watch a lot of video material possibly the last might be useful but theres no difference at all in film mode - which is what we all want a prog scan player for in the first place of course!

    You might wonder if its worth it. That said I fully appreciate you wanting it because its the latest chip - I suffer from that myself!!!
     
  13. martintyler

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    Would be nice to get a definitive answer from Mr Dawson here :)

    Read a lot recently about Arcam's great customer service and I have been an Arcam customer for 10 years and never had to even find out what the service was like.. but now i asked them a question and dont get much back and what i did get back differs from what people are saying here.
     
  14. MarkB4506

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    "And to reassure folk who own regular DV88s, it is possible to upgrade these to support DVD-A, as we have always said we would do. The prices and procedures for this are not yet set however. This group will be amongst the first to know when we are ready to do this.

    HTH.

    John Dawson (Arcam)"



    Martin this is a cut from a previous contribution by John. The current issue of Arcam file, the magazine , also refers to this. The DVD-A upgrade will include the chipset changes made in the + version.
     
  15. martintyler

    martintyler
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    Thanks.

    I am aware various comments have been made, but seeing as the answers I (and others) have got from the support line I think some confirmation would be good.
     
  16. clived

    clived
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    Mark,

    I think the issue is (well, at least the issue for me is!) that it still isn't 100% clear exactly what DV88 owners can upgrade to - i.e. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to add both DVD-A and prog-scan, but I'd like to know technically what that will make my machine (DV88+ spec, DV88P spec, DV89), which chip set it'll end up with and of course, what it will cost! I'd also like to know when, as these are pretty long promised (and overdue) updates.

    Cheers, Clive
     
  17. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Martin - it would be helpful to know the name of the person to whom you spoke - a PM to me is fine. It certainly doesn't sound like it was one of our normal customer support team members.

    Anyway here is where we stand today on the thorny question of upgradeability. This is applicable to UK customers only right now. To anyone from overseas - you are not being forgotten but please understand the logistics may be significantly more complicated and remember that the prices are set by the local distributors.

    The designs of both the DV88 and DV27 are modular, so in principle almost anything is possible by swapping out boards. In practice if you choose to change nearly everything on a player then it is probably more economic to sell your old player and buy a new one. In this sense it is a bit like upgrading a PC.

    The original players were designed from the outset to be upgradeable to support DVD-Audio and/or to add an extra board to support progressive scan video. That hasn't changed, although we are still waiting to complete the player SW for DVD-A and that has delayed the launch of DVD-A capable players until Q1 2003.

    If you have a DV88 and are happy with it but now want to add just progressive scan video then we recommend you buy the existing PS board, which uses the excellent SiI503. This can be done by an experienced dealer, or at the factory, for £350 in the UK. This upgrade is subject to availability, particularly at this time of year, but it is current.

    If you have a DV88 and want to add DVD-A capability, you will need a new DSP board and the extra DAC board, plus DVD-A SW. This upgrade is unfortunately, for SW reasons beyond our control, not yet ready; currently we are planning on late Q1 next year. The cost is not set but in the UK is expected to be in the region of £400. If the host product is a DV88 note that when this upgrade is done the revised player will not properly support PS as delivered by the DV88 Plus (nor was this bonus feature ever promised) - to do that you will need a new AV board as well, adding up to 50% to this cost (alternatively you could add the original extra Silicon Image PS board as above and which is of course already fitted to a DV27). All of this is a factory only job.

    The DV88 to 88 Plus is in principle possible - needing a new DSP board and a new AV board, though the parts availability and engineering time make it frankly very difficult to offer at this time of year, when we are selling all the DV88 Pluses we can build. Again it is a factory only job and the minimum cost is £400. You might well want to wait till the DVD-Audio part is available next year.

    If you buy a DV88 Plus and want to add DVD-Audio capability that will be offered for a limited period next year at the difference in retail price between an 88 Plus and the equivalent DVD-A capable player, the DV89. We expect this to be fittable by an experienced dealer.

    I hope this clarifies matters. When we are properly ready to book units in for upgrading, sometime in the new year, we will make further announcements. Right now please bear with us while we concentrate on other matters - it is the busiest time of year in our industry and we are all hard at work getting regular new products out into the dealers.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  18. clived

    clived
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    John, thanks for the reply.

    Can I just make sure I've understood something correctly:

    PS upgrade for DV88 - £350

    DVD-A upgrade for DV88 - itro £400

    DVD-A upgrade plus new AV board to support PS - itro £600 (£400 + 50%)

    DVD-A upgrade plus Silicon Image AV board to support PS - itro £750 (£350 + ~£400).

    Couple of questions - one technical, one commercial:

    1) What's the difference between going for the "new AV board" and the "Silicon Image AV board" - I guess some of the chip set junkies can answer that one for me :)

    2) Obviously I appreciate that you're running a business, not a charity, but if the upgrade to DVD-A and PS adds between £600 and £750, putting the total cost significantly above that of buying a new machine, whilst you may be sticking to the letter of the "upgradability" promise, it could be argued that it hardly sticks to the spirit! I never expected to get either for free, but to pay nearly as much for an upgrade as it would cost to by a deno, sorry, I mean decent new machine with both these features seems a little obsurd! :) Maybe a combined "make my DV88 DVD-A and the latest PS and at least give me something off for doing them both at the same time" price could work?!

    Regards, Clive
     
  19. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Hi Clive,

    The AV board is the long thin one at the back of the player, containing all the video output filters and buffers and the audio clocks, DACs and so on, including all the socketry. It has to be a new board issue to cope with the PS output of the new Vaddis 5 main processor. It doesn't need a new board if you just want interlaced video as on the original DV88.

    The Silicon Image PS board is an add on board with the SiI503 deinterlacer, memory and 3 video DACS, filters and buffers. It is fitted as standard to the DV27 and is an optional extra on the 88 family. The SiI board IMO does PS a little better than the deinterlacer built into the Vaddis 5, especially from video sources (remember most movies are not mastered in video however) and it is also useful if you need to run interlaced and PS video simultaneously, as in a 2 zone system.


    Your price calculations are correct. However your max upgrade price using the Vaddis 5 for everything including PS plus DVD-A is itro £600 - which is about half the retail price of a new DVD-A capable DV89. Not so unreasonable I think. If you didn't need the PS part it is more like £400 - which IMO is more than fair.
    HTH.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  20. Garincha

    Garincha
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    All in all, forget real upgradebility like TAG.

    Each time when I read "for limited time" I know what it is about. Just another one in line . . . :-(
     
  21. Dak

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    Mr Dawson,

    I see a full time job for you, keeping the Arcam website up to date!! Inevitable in this fast moving age though. I had my vinyl player for 20 years......

    Seriously though, thanks for the info. Not sure if you provide this on work time or not but the support levels definitely made my decision Arcam rather than [...other...].

    BTW guys, people seem to be forgetting that the alternative to an upgrade (ie most other manufacturers products) is a full replacement item at full retail, trying to trade in / re-sell a now out of date product.

    Dak

    PS Dumped my TAG after numerous upgrade problems.
     
  22. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Personally I think the issue of the cost of the upgrades comes also down to the length of time you have had the player.

    You could understand if you had bought a DV88 just before the DV88+ was released and then wanted to upgrade that you would be paying out more than a person who bought a DV88+ straight away.. especially as the prices on the DV88 have never moved downwards (until recently where they are being cleared out for the DV88+)

    I am in the position where I had my DV88 for 2 years before it was upgraded, and therefore I have got 2 years out of the player and so my expectation of its worth will have diminished (if I wanted to sell it on).

    So in this case I had payed £900 2 years ago for the player, and recently £400 to upgrade it to + spec. Next year I will probably upgrade it to DVD-A costing approx £200 I think.. so in total I will have paid £1500 which is only £300 more than the cost of a new DV89.

    If I had bought my DV88 recently and paid full wack for it.. then I probably would be talking to my dealer to see if they would swap it, especially if the DV88+ had been available at the time of purchase.

    At the end of the day.. the choice is yours.. and luckily for us DV88 owners we do have that choice,

    Cheers

    Matt
     
  23. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    OK - to clarify the limited time upgradability remark I made earlier today ref DVD-A - it's not the upgrade that's limited in time (though obviously it will have stop at some point in the distant future) but the pricing, where we propose for a limited period no difference in retail cost between buying a DV88 Plus now, then having it upgraded to DVD-A later, or buying the DVD-A capable version when it is ready next year. The point is to avoid putting off anyone who might fancy DVD-A from buying a DV88 Plus right now. At some future point, when both models are freely available in the market, we might feel it is reasonable that you should also pay for the bespoke task of opening the player, fixing in the extra board and cables, loading new SW and testing it all. So that might make the UG cost just a bit more than the price difference between the two products. That's exactly how we've done our CD upgrades for the past 8 years or so without complaint.

    I'll try to be even more careful what I write next time - I just knew somebody would take it the wrong way :-(

    I think that's enough for today.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  24. clived

    clived
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    John,

    Given that a new DV89 costs £1200, I guess you're right. And if I'd have wanted a De***, I'd have bought one if the first place! ;-)

    I think that Matt also has a good point regarding length of ownership being a factor. I suspect I'm secretly just bored of waiting for DVD-A now and am starting to get tetchy! I still think that a lower price for doing both jobs at once might be in order - there must be less total work doing it at all once - but who knows, that might transpire in the new year, so I'll wait and see.

    When can I book it in? ;)

    Cheers, Clive
     
  25. MarkB4506

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    John - could I ask the one last thing which I'm unclear on - do the latest releases of the FMJ DV27 use the 'old' AV board as used in the DV88 or the 'new' AV board as used in the DV88+?

    I imagine its the older one since PS is dealt with by the excellent Silicon Image board but could you please clarify?

    Thank you.
    Mark
     
  26. sapper

    sapper
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    Usless information for you all!

    WEll, I am provisionally booked in my local Seven Oaks for a demo this thursday, with the option of a home demo overnight.


    Adrian
     
  27. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Sapper.. Cool... hope you enjoy it!

    Matt
     
  28. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Mark -

    Current DV27s carry the Vaddis 5 processor and the latest AV board too.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  29. paiger

    paiger
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    I reckon AV equipment owners get a good deal. Try the same trick with a car dealer after 2years ownership and see how you get on.

    For a company like Arcam to run a continuous upgrade service would probably involve creating a whole new, unprofitable, division of the company. That you can get you 88 upgraded to the latest spec for the price you paid plus the premium for a new one is a great bargain. It can't be profitable for Arcam and they must only run the scheme for the benefit of owners (and to instill confidence in potential buyers I guess).

    I time limit for upgrades is completely understandable.

    See that gift horse?....

    Steve
     

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