Don't buy blind or on 'Reviews'

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by leedsfireman, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. leedsfireman

    leedsfireman
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    I would just like to give my opinion and experiences on buying AV equipment. I've bought many AV items over the last few years when new models have come out on the back of so called 'Recomendations'. My advice to any one parting with there money is to make sure you see what you are going to buy.
    I've been looking for a DVD player for the past couple of years to work with my Pio 434HD plasma, which I changed from a Panny W4. In hind sight the Panny, I belive, gave a better crisp image than my Pio, this may change when Hi-Def appears.But I bought it on the hype that was going around in the 'Mags'.
    I've tried quite afew DVD players that have come out over the last couple of years but due to money i've been limited to the sub £200 bracket.
    The players that get the 'Gives results of players 3 times the price' reviews, in my opinion, don't.
    Resently i've tried a Panny S97 to use the HDMI connection & upscaling function gave a very bad picture.
    Tosh 340E tried becuase of the rave reviews it has got in my opinion was cr*p.
    So I resently parted with my HK DVD30, which was quite good, and decided that if i've paid over £3k for a display why was I trying a £70 DVD player.
    I demoed an Arcam DV78, I would of liked a DV79 with a slightly better chipset but a little too much money, and as the old saying goes 'You Get What You Pay For'.
    The picture is better than any player i've tried and sounds great.
    So my advice is if you want the best you have to some times pay alittle more, don't spend a lot of money on one item the scrimp on another because you wont get the results. Some things are alot cheaper than others for obvious reasons some times.
    TRY BEFORE YOU BUY.

    Sorry if i've gone on a bit.
     
  2. Grimley

    Grimley
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    Is that magazine reviews or reviews by members here or elsewhere on the web? :confused:
     
  3. leedsfireman

    leedsfireman
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    You can find reviews on this site, in many AV mags & on the net.
    What i am saying just becuase an item gets a very good score, in my experience, doesn't mean it's any good.
    It has been rumoured that some companies may 'ask' to get a good a review to boost sales.
    So my advice, which you are welcome to take or leave, is before you part with you hard earned money is to get the device you are wanting to buy set up, or tested at home, before you buy it. I have fallen into that mistake myself and do not want others to be disappointed like I have been in the past.
    Have you honestly bought some thing with out actually seeing it set up because it has been 'recommended', I know I have.
     
  4. Daneel

    Daneel
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    If I could home demo, or even demo, I would but some times it's just not that easy. If I hadn't bought my SVS blind I'd have missed out.

    In theory I agree with you but in practise it's just not that simple.

    I put very little faith in press reviews though, I consider user feedback far more accurate.

    With your DVD experience I'd suggest it's horses for courses. I'm sure a guy with a 28" £500 tv would be very pleased with the Toshiba 340e. You with a large plasma on the other hand, need something a bit better.
     
  5. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony
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    The only really good guide to dvd picture quality, aside from trying the machine in your home setup, is the secrets to home theatre dvd benchmark, that evaluates each dvd player in the same way by the same people.

    Although it doesnt really take account of sound quality, it is the fairest and so far most accurate evaluation of everything else. It also shows up vast differences in picture quality between similarly priced machines and you'd be amazed how poor some expensive players are in certain aspects and how good some cheap ones are...!

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/cgi-bin/shootout.cgi?function=search&articles=all

    A lot of people swear by it, and I have no complaints with my Denon 3910 (bought before the evaluation came out!), which is one of their 2 best players of last year.

    M
     
  6. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    I think commercial reviews in magazines and user reviews are useful but you have to remember what you want the dvd player for. If a commercial review of a player states it has a great picture which is good enough for even a high quality projecter thats not going to do a lot for you if you have a 28" widescreen tv and can't really benefit from this picture quality anyway. Reviews are limited to the criteria they are testing and what equipment they are using with it. Same is true of actual users experience.

    Most reviews in What Video are based on commercial dvd playback and nothing else. So if you want vcd, svcd and divx compatibility info their reviews are near useless. They also connect to sophisticated tvs and displays so if you want the dvd player to give a nice clean image that will work with a 14" portable the review may not be that helpful.
     
  7. pjclark1

    pjclark1
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    bought my Skyworth dvd/divx player from whsmith "blind" for £30
    great performance and PQ
     
  8. KoThreads

    KoThreads
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    This is such good advice. So why don't I do it with DVD players?

    I've always heard what I've eventually bought when it's been hifi, and have been happy, but never with DVD players, and looking back I've made some bad mistakes, Wharfedale 750-very noisy transport, Minato DVD-G1-nothing but trouble (both because of '5 star' What hifi reviews, I no longer buy hifi or computer mags because of the 'might be influenced' factor) Toshiba 220e the best I've had, and now the 340 which I hate more and more each day! But from now on after my 340e I'll do it with them as well.
     
  9. Rohirrim

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    I bought a Sharp DV 740h dvd player blind in 2001, its great. Bought a Toshiba 240e this christmas for a present (family member) and the comparison to my player was very poor!!
     
  10. NPM108

    NPM108
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    I think in the end they simply serve as guidelines. Given the vast choice of equipment, it is very often the case that even with reputible manufacturers of production line a/v equipment, a good model in the past doesn't always guarantee that in the future. It is very difficult for the consumer to decide how to part with their money which is why I firmly believe in forums like these. Use a magazine review to guide you and I tend to pay particular attention to what was considered 'bad' about the item reviewed and even really look at the techical data like Jitter in DVD players etc etc. I would also say that it very much depends on which magazine you are looking at, who the person is doing the review and whether you have 'agreed' with them in the past when purchasing a recommended model etc.

    In forums you go on ppl's first hand experience, but remember that very often you only get ppl posting who either a) Are very happy with their equipment or b) Are Unhappy with a particular aspect and out of all those not everyone choses to use such forums.

    The best method I would say is to use magazine reviews and such forums to narrow it down to a shortlist and then if possible go check them out first hand. Often its best when chosing say Displays, DVD players etc to take along your favourite DVD or if its audio, your fave CD etc. I even know some ppl who go as far as to take their own DVD player and cables when chosing a screen/display. With regards to audio its always hard as you can't really take along your speakers, or say your own a/v receiver!!

    Ppl like Comet always have naff store feeds to displays etc but I've also come across a shop that used the best cables and interconnects for example which can also be misleading if you aren't going to mimic that exact setup as all you see is the potential not maybe the actual PQ you will experience.

    In one of the popular A/V mags there's an advert from a specialist company that says, Hey Its the time of the year for reviews, and warns ppl not to just go out and buy a 5 star reviewed item but promises to give the 'best' equipment for your budget and existing setup. Basically saying first hand experience etc is better than just a review. I guess what you have written here kind of highlights that.

    Also note that for example in the case of certain a/v receivers you will see a paragraph in a review that says this was great, but be carefull which speakers you match it with, etc etc.

    Food for thought I guess!
     
  11. PJTX100

    PJTX100
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    Info from this forum is much more valuable than mag reviews. However my DVD player experience is fairly limited, I've tended to stick to Pio's 'cause I've never seen a bad picture from the one's I've owned. And they've played every disc I've thrown at them without a problem...PJ
     
  12. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    What was the criteria for comparision though? I have a Sharp DV740H myself and of all the dvd players I've ever owned it has the best dvd drive fitted. Reads practically anything. If I get dodgy dvd its always the sharp that gets used with it. However the Sharp is older technology now and doesn't do any colour sampling I think. It literally displays exactly what is recorded on the dvd with 8bit DAC I think. Comparing the picture on a standard tv may not show much difference with the Toshiba but connect them both to a large scart RGB equipped set and the Toshiba will be noticably better. However if your a Toshiba owner and trying to play dvd-r discs it can be totally frustrating where as the Sharp owner just watches the dvd-r from beginning to end without even worrying about media compatibility as it just works.
     

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