Arcam DV88 - please tempt me!

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by StaminaStan, May 1, 2001.

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  1. StaminaStan

    StaminaStan
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    Just before Chrimbo I was 95 per cent positive I would be doing the right thing opting for a Sony 36FS70 telly, but to make sure I asked the good chaps n chapesses on this board to convince me I'd not be wasting two grand if I bit the bullet and bought one. Thankfully, half a dozen existing owners were easily able to convince me the tv was a Good Thing and so I went for it, and have been very happy owner ever since, so...

    I am now in the market for a better dvd player than the early Sony 725 jobby I already own. I have virtually decided upon the Arcam, however, I'm gonna find it difficult to pay 900-00 squid for something that only ranks third on HCC's own best of hitlist! "Buy British" and all that, could an existing owner please confirm it is better than sliced bread and that the software hack as featured in the HCCO review works for all firmware versions. I have followed existing DV88 threads closely re-firmware upgrades and reckon I'll go to a shop in London to pick one up - and make sure its got the latest revision. Assuming I do - I'm not gonna be dissapointed by it, am I..? I don't actually own a seperate CD player so the Arcam will have to "double up".

    If you can convince me I'll convince the other half and I'll go shopping the long weekend, and I'll have loads of time to fiddle!

    Thanks for any and all help given!

    Stan.
     
  2. UrbanTiger

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    Hi Stan, I'll have first go.

    Until 3 weeks ago I had, and was very pleased with my Tosh 2109. I thought picture and sound in HC was excellent but CD playback was lacking.

    A friend had just bought the DV88 and the difference in sound quality for CD is amazing. What I hadn't bargained for was the improvement in picture and sound quality for HC as well.

    I have just had my player upgraded to the latest firmware and the software hack still works perfectly. RCE disks all work fine, even with the player left on auto region select.

    The biggest compliment I can give the player is that I have bought 2 CD's in the last week. Previously I hadn't bought a CD in about 6 months, I actually enjoy my music again.

    If you buy one can I have a cut of the salesman's commission? :D
     
  3. bishman

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    Hi Stan, I feel all I can do is share my experience with you.

    I have been pondering this very same thought for about 3-4 weeks. Yesterday I had the day off work, so I looked on the Arcam web site for local dealers and off I went.

    I knew I wanted to buy, but was setting off thinking, they probably wouldn't have stock and would probably be old software if they did (I think I needed an excuse not to buy!)

    I found 2 dealers and they both had stock, one did not know of problems and updates, so I went no further with them. The other did, although they said they had 1.4 which left me with a doubt, but not a large enough one due to the fact that they said they would call me when any upgrades came in. I made a quick phone call to 'She who might get upset' and she could not talk me out of it either. Back to the shop I went and parted with a Visa transaction.

    Got home, set it up and 1st surprise was 1.74 software!! After that I was just blown away. Quality is absolutely suerb. I had a Samsung 807 before and the difference in picture quality is imense. I then proceeded to go through my 'problem' disks. One by one the Arcam took them in their stride, Matrix, T2 Ultimate ed, Pulp Fiction, Gladiator disk2, Toy Story box set extras disk to name a few.

    I popped along here to refresh myself of the multi region hack. Open drive, press 1,1,1,1 on remote followed by region code eg 01 for 1 02 for 2 or even better 13 for all regions. As if by magic, region 1/2 all played no problem. I can't comment on RCE because I do not have any RCE titles, although there have been plenty of postings to confirm that they do play with auto region selection. If there was problems, there is always direct region selection anyway.

    Just watched T2 extended special edition, and it is superb. Previously I suffered plenty of glitching and random chapter repeats at the points where the film uses branching, but now pure smoothness.

    Just to prove the point of the picture quality, the Mrs would never notice small differences even when I point them out. She just looks confused and says 'I can't see it'. Well she was watching the Matrix with me, which is one she has watched several times before. She turned round and said, referring to Trinity, 'Her skins not really that good is it? I never noticed before!!'. If you were having any doubts then this must really be enough, any player which can make enough of a difference for the Mrs to notice, needs people to sit up and pay attention to it.

    Sound is equally empresive although I am only playing it through my dolby digital Toshiba widescreen. But it is enough to say that I don't expect to be dissapointed when I purchase a decent amp in a few months time.

    If I find any problems before the weekend, I will post for you. But I doubt that will happen.

    Well, it's been long but I hope I have helped. If you do buy then I really do hope you have plenty of stamina, you will need it for the weekend.

    All the best now

    Bishman

    PS, thanks to Matt Horne for your useful posts and for being my DV88 Guinea Pig!!!
     
  4. StaminaStan

    StaminaStan
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    Blimey!

    After those (thanks v. much Bishman and UrbanTiger,) there is no way I cannot buy one! So that's settled then - can anyone recommend a good retailer in London? (I'm gonna have to pick it up and carry it home on the Tube.) One that won't mind me looking at what software is loaded on it!

    Many thanks for your help, lads,
    Stan.
     
  5. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Thanks for the comments...

    I might as well add my thoughts as well..

    I bought my player in feb' with 1.3 firmware.. things were fine.. though the remote is quirky and will not work with my universal remote.. then the dropouts started.. BUT.. now everything is great.. the latest firmware has everything sorted (bar the quirky remote) and I am happier than ever.. the pic/sound even seemed to get better once my updated machine was returned to me. BTE RCE disks work fine on auto-region selection as I have tried The Patriot/Hollow Man etc etc...But you will need a Pronto remote if you want to read in the IR codes for the Arcam.. hey but thats another gadget to buy!!!

    Go for it.. you cannot beat it for the money and you are safe in the knowledge that when its has been decided whether SACD or DVD Audio is the new standard the player can be upgraded... and that you never have to have the machine chipped :D

    Cheers

    Matt

    P.S The Arcam support line is very good too..that alone is worth the money..
     
  6. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Stan...

    Try muscial Images in covent garden.. they are pretty good...

    When they turn on the player it will show the firmware quickly. if you miss it enter the setup screen and enter 4792. This should bring up the system page there a option is available to see both the drive and sofwtare versions.

    Matt
     
  7. StaminaStan

    StaminaStan
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    Matt,

    Okey dokey, I shall try Musical Images first!

    But re- the remote, I have a Marantz RC2000 controller - will that not learn to control the Arcam? If not I'm going to be very annoyed (the other half will be too, since she bought it for me as a moving in present!)

    Sorry if I am dredging up old discussion, by the way, if this topic has already been talked about to death, all help is *very* gratefully received!

    Cheers,
    Stan
     
  8. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    I do nto think it will.. the Arcam uses a parity bit after each code i.e

    1.CODE 1 CODE

    so that if you read in the IR codes to your universal remote it will only read "1".
    This means that if you press the same key twice or more it will only register once
    so 121 is ok but 11 will not work. The pronto/marantz RC5000 remotes seem to be the only ones which can cope with the parity bit
    (Arcam uses some Philips IR codes which are published on the unofficial DV88 FAQ)

    I have a Sony 2000 (the grey brick remote) and I have the same prob.Heres the link for the FAQ its good reading.
    http://www.envytech.co.uk/dv88/

    Matt
     
  9. Jon Weaver

    Jon Weaver
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    Thanks for asking that question.. I too bought a FS70, but now find my Samsung 709 a little to 'budget' for my tastes..

    I am finding it hard not to buy an DV88, except for the price.. Whilst I can afford it.. A grand for a DVD player is a lot of dosh..

    Are you still about to get this for 900 quid, or has the price gone up to 1000 everywhere?
     
  10. StaminaStan

    StaminaStan
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    Many thanks for everyone's help on this one - I am going shopping tomorrow afternoon and confidently expect to inflict GBH on the card card..! Looking around, it appears the machine has been upped in price to a round grand (3 shops phoned so far all quoting the same price, so I reckon I'll go to M.I. as recommended - espesh since the fella there confirmed his machines all had the latest firmware).

    Cheers all, and should anything exciting happen I'll keep everybody informed..!

    Stan.
     
  11. bishman

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    Hi again Stan

    I had the same experience with the price and neither of the dealers I went to would budge on it either. I ended up buying from the most friendly and helpful one.

    All the best with the weekend, I hope you are not disapointed after my glowing reccomendation.

    Please let us know what you think.

    Bishman
     
  12. StaminaStan

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    Ok, here's an update... (and I'm conscious about libel / slander here, so I'm only going to report the facts and not, for instance, bang on about how utterly go-out-and-smash-up-a-bus-shelter livid I am!)

    I called Musical Images on Thursday to confirm they had a DV88 player with the latest firmware revision in stock and they told me they had. So this morning I travelled into Covent Garden as fast as my excited little legs would carry me and they unearthed a box, only one left (apparently I'm a very lucky bunny). Again I asked to make sure the firmware loaded was the latest version and was told that yes, it was, and "wasn't I already told that on the phone when I checked availability?"

    In a moment of weakness I decided I'd also buy a Pronto, my Marantz 2000 looking forward to a happy retirement, and again I was lucky enough to get the last Pronto in the shop (having such a lucky day today, I was, until I actually got the bloody stuff back home!)

    Safely back in doors I unpacked everything and fired it up. Checking the service menu I was very upset to discover my brand new spanking machine actually dates from some time before Christmas, it being loaded with firmware revision 1.4, and so I called M.I. to register my unhappiness I'd been lied to twice. Very appologetic, very sorry etc., and a very nice chap there is going to call me next week to arrange delivery of a replacement brand spanking new machine.

    Well, I thought, there's still the Pronto to get familiar with... Except somewhere in between displaying the poxy thing in the window and stuffing it back into its box when I took it out of the shop, the rechargeable battery pack has been lost. Another call to M.I. and since it was their last one and they're obviously not getting any more in stock, it's a refund job... They'll pick it up when the courier comes to swap my v1.4 dvd deck for a more up to date model.

    So to cut a long story short, this morning I spent the best part of a month's hard earned wages and I can't properly play with *anything* I have purchased. Makes me wish I'd stuck with my Sony dvd and Marantz controller, it really does...

    ANyhow, I'm glad that's out of my system! Thanks for reading! I'll keep you all updated in case anyone is interested.

    Stan.
     
  13. bishman

    bishman
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    Stan, I was sorry to read your story. I hope everything gets sorted out for you ASAP
     
  14. UrbanTiger

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    Stan, sorry to hear you are having problems. All I can say is my Pronto and DV88 work faultlessly, hopefully you can put this experience down to a crappy dealer giving you bad service rather than the quality of the equipment you are trying to buy.

    Hope things are sorted soon :(
     
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    staminastan

    Hi, I note that you paid full post increase price for an Arcam that was loaded with old firmware thus implying that it was old stock.

    My previous posts have often had a suggestion that there are dealers out there ripping us off and this does nothing to change my mind.

    Any comments from the inside?
    It's not obvious from the written word but this is actually in good humour ;)

    cheers

    George
     
  16. UrbanTiger

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    George, I would hardly say the dealer ripped Stan off.

    There is no old, or new DV88. Only the software inside has changed, which is free to all existing Arcam DV88 owners making their machines as new as the ones sold today.

    Where the dealer has gone wrong is selling the last box in the cupboard. Both the Pronto and DV88 should have been checked before leaving the shop (I asked the dealer to do this for me before I left). But you shouldn't have to ask, its good customer service even if its not the last one in stock.

    Just my opinion, no offence :)
     
  17. Russ

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    True True,
    My dealer bought a few DV88's but kept them at the original price of £899 - once he has sold the ex-display models or has to order fresh ones then they will be at the new price.
    My own DV88 was factory fresh and came with 1.4/LO08. Now I have upgraded it to the latest software-and its fine.

    I wouldnt worry too much about the versions 'cos you will get it upgraded.
    Its just that if they said it had the latest software then it should have the latest software - without any problem for you.
     
  18. StaminaStan

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    Some further reading..!

    I was promised a phonecall today to sort out when I would be getting a replacement, fully up-to-date DV88, but 5pm was rapidally aproaching and I couldn't wait any longer. I telephoned Musical Images and the fella who promised he would ring me today was on holiday (until Thursday...) but one of his colleagues was super helpful and looked into both the DV88 and Pronto stock problems (in case you cannot remember, I purchased one of those remotes at the same time as the Arcam but found the rechargable battery had gone astray while the thing, the last in the shop, obviously, was sat in M.I.'s impressive window.)

    Anyway, the new fella I was speaking to first told me something along the lines of "there is no more up to date Arcam DV88 than the one I was given" (n.b. I was made so angry by what the fella said I cannot remember exactly the words he used - I should have written it down!) to which I replied that a number of my friends (Forum Siblings - we are all friends here :) !) already had more up to date firmware loaded machines than mine had, and that mine being version 1.4 made its birthday some time before Christmas. Then he told me that although new DV88s were on order he was not expecting to take delivery of black machines for two weeks and silver ones (the colour I chose, suprise suprise) for at least three. Bless his little cotton socks, he was going to see what he could do about the Pronto though and, fingers crossed, I'm to expect a phonecall on Thursday re- swapping the rubbish I have lumbered with for pukka examples with new firmware / actually existant batteries!

    When I get my player I am going to be so happy with it, I truly am, and I desperately don't want to sound like a Moaning Malcolm - all that has annoyed me is that *twice* before shelling out on it I was told that the machine I was a) enquiring about then b) getting ready to carry all the way home was a latest firmware-loaded model, and I was either deliberately lied to or, nearly as bad, the sales people there didn't realise the player had been sat at the back of their shelves for five months (which would probably account for the tonne of dust and footprints the box was caked in).

    Anyway, fingers crossed for Thursday, when hopefully I'll be able to report more hopeful news!

    Cheers,
    Stan.
     
  19. StaminaStan

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    More news, more news..! (v. good this time)

    Been called by a chap at M.I. called "Joseph" (I'm naming him because he's turned out to be a fifty eight carrott diamond at the very least) who has lept upon my plight and is "very soon" going to post me the latest DV88 firmware on dvd rom to upgrade my player with, together with a replacement docking station for my Pronto!

    After posting so negatively about them I wanted to even up the score a bit by also reporting the nice stuff they've just done for me.

    Fingers crossed my postie doeesn't lose it all now, that's all!

    Stan.
     
  20. bishman

    bishman
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    Just out of interest, the firmware number you are qutoting is the number which appears on the screen at power up isn't it?

    The reason I ask is that my dealer was convinced I was buying a 1.4 machine and they even checked on their update disc and it was labelled 1.4. 1.4 in this case I believe referred to the drive firmware, which is L014.

    Just wondering.
     
  21. StaminaStan

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    No worries, I've not made that mistake - firmware = 1.4, drive mechanism = LO14. So I am perfectly within my rights to telephone Musical Images every two or three hours or so, chasing up the update!

    Incidentally, I've been messing around with my new Pronto now I'm hopeful I'll get a replacement docking station to go with it and it is fan-bloody-tastic! I confidently reckon by the time I'm 65 I'll have my whole system rigged up exactly as I want it, too..!

    Cheers,
    Stan.
     
  22. Guest

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    Just to point something out, please correct me if I am wrong, when I purchased my Marantz RC-5000 I was told the reason the Philips was cheaper was because of the fact that it did not come with a base station or rechargable battery.

    Also the DV-88 software/firmware situation to me seems pretty clear, you all apparently own computers but I bet you didn't complain when you PC or MAC etc. came with 12 month old drivers from your supplier, you just accepted thats that what was preloaded and downloaded new ones. I'm sure your aware that not all stock is ALWAYS brand new that day, as for updating it I suggest taking it into your local dealer and have them do it.
     
  23. StaminaStan

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    jjboy - obviously I bought the Pronto docking station "complete with mains adapter and rechargeable battery" at the same time as I bought the remote - and was annoyed to discover where the battery should have been in the packaging was a second and completely unnecessary serial lead to connect the remote to my computer!

    And secondly, I understand that it's not possible for all stock held by retailers to have been built and loaded with the most up to date software, the day before it's purchased. What annoyed me was the fact I was *twice* told, by two different members of staff, that it was a fully up-to-date player - it was this promise that made me buy the Arcam machine from the company that I did, because they told me it had the new firmware and no other supplier could or would make that assertion. I didn't want to go through the hassle of updating the machine if, for the same price, I could get a fully up-to-date player straight off the shelf (or so I thought!)

    ...Which is why I was so mad when I got both new bits of kit home! I'm still awaiting a new docking station and the promised firmware disc, by the way...

    Stan.
     

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