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Expensive DVD player or cheaper player with scaler?

icl

Standard Member
Hi everyone!
I have been trying to figure out which DVD player to buy for quite a while. I now have a Pioneer DV-757 and was wondering if it would be better to keep it and add a scaler to it (perhaps SDI modded) or to to buy a better player (I am considering the Arcam DV79 and Marantz 9500/9600). I am not after the ultimate picture quality, but I do want a good quality picture without macroblocking or other such problems (I was considering the Denon 3910 but its macroblocking put me off it).

Would the 3910 suffer from macroblocking if it was SDI-modded and hooked up to a scaler?
Should i wait for the Denon 3930?

Are there any other players I should consider?

The player would be connected to a projector: either the Optoma 72i or the InFocus IN76, or the Panasonic AE-900.

Many Thanks! :)
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
The best images I have seen all come from the VP route. This could come from your player now or even a modest £130 'upgrade', like the Oppo 970 feeding a video processor.
 

icl

Standard Member
Nic Rhodes said:
The best images I have seen all come from the VP route. This could come from your player now or even a modest £130 'upgrade', like the Oppo 970 feeding a video processor.


Thanks for the reply!
By "VP" I presume you mean 'Video Processor', right? And by that, do you mean an external scaler?

How much of a difference would I see if I had, let's say, my Pioneer 757 or a Marantz 9500 (got my eye on a used one of those) hooked up to a scaler?

Cheers... :)
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
Yes I mean a video processor which will do the scaling and deinterlacing as well as a host of image manipulation / converson functions. The trick is to feed the video processor an INTERLACED signal, as recorded on the DVD, and let the VP do the hard work. With your 757 this will be via the component connections. With HDMI make sure it can pass 480i and 576i, most players can't. VP really need allot of care in the setting up and their 'abilities' are really down to the partnering equipment, i.e. display. If you can drive a relevant display at it's native resoltion, then the gains can be VERY significant. If you can't they can still be good but less so.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello icI

As Nic says a Video Processor is likely to be your best option - though keep in mind your looking at £800.00 to £1600.00 to get something that makes a significant difference; the top figure gets you something that will make a big difference to the Interlaced YUV or RGB signal from your DV-757.

As long as the audio meets your requirements a 'basic' player used as a Transport + an external Video Processor is always likely to yield the best results and give you the most flexibility in terns of optimising any other sources you want to view on your Projector.

Optoma are abut to enter the VP market with the Gennum based HD3000 (UK SRP £2k) and of course the HD81 (inc HD5000) is on the way later in the year with a supposed £6K price tag.

The Projector manufacturers have recognised that the user 'programmability' and adjustment range on offer using an external VP to optimise for each source on an Input by Input and signal by signal basis is a big step in the right direction.

Go with Nic's description (VP) rather than think of the external box as a simple scaling engine - with time and care you can calibrate your system using a VP to a degree your never going to achieve using a player direct to a Projector.

Best regards

Joe
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
ici, don't forget the benefits from a VP are gained with ALL your video sources, not just DVDs in the case of a progressive/upscaling player.

Nick
 

icl

Standard Member
Wow! A lot of great information! Thanks, guys...

Using a scaler, would I get a significant improvement if I SDI-modded the 757, compared to using the interlaced signal via component?

The Audio (from CD) is not to my satisfaction but I am planning on buying a dedicated CD player, perhaps the Cyrus CD6s.

I see how VP will benefit my entire setup, including any new players I might buy in the future but I am wondering if it would not be better to wait for Bluray/HD-DVD to establish itself (or themselves, if we end up having both formats)? I am worried that if I spend £1000 on a VP, it will not be compatible with the new HiDef DVD formats. Am I wrong? This is also the reason why I cannot bring myself buy an expensive DVD player now, like the Arcam DV79, or the Marants 9600.

I have even found the Marantz 9500 for £650. So, what would be the better solution until HiDef DVD hits the mainstream consumer?

1) Pioneer 757, and maybe get a VP;
2) Marantz 9500. Would a VP be required here?
3) something else?

Cheers! :)
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
SDI will help the Pioneer but it will not get around the issues that hold the pioneer back in comparison to some other SDI modded players.

Video Processor like the Lumagens are very HD DVD happy, so are afordable and future proofed.

A VP is not required with any of your solutions, it is the prefered option for a quality picture however.

You would only use a VP with the 9500 if it output an interlaced signal, I can't remember if it does.

Something else, look at the baby Oppo 970. This gives an stunning digital DVD picture and will not break the bank at about £130 ish, then all the hard work is done in the VP. When HD DVD hit is UK, then this player can be retired, without much loss of money, and you can carry on with your VP.

You must also consider the audio of these players as well. For me I would look at using your existing player feeding a VP for now.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello icI

SDI is very good - though keep in mind your looking at an approx 500.00 GBP Outlay on top of the price of the 'standard' VP as you'll need to mod the player plus stick an SDI board into the VP.

The main advantage with a current generation VP is going to be with your current source devices - a VP can have benefits for those with HD DVD (and I'm sure too BD once it arrives) but for now I'd be concentrating on improving your SD sources if that's your main viewing; after all they will be just as poor once you add HD DVD (possibly more so as they will look worse once compared to HD!!!).

If the Movie sound from your DV-757 hits the spot then I'd stick with that for now. If you want a better chassis to act as a 'transport' for DVD playback into a VP and you want an all digital signal path the Arcam DV-79 or a Pioneer DV-868AVi are the best option as they offer you Interlaced YUV via HDMI.

Best regards

Joe
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Just by 2 pence, please rubbish nicely if you think I am wrong. :smashin:

Have you considered the Pioneer 989?

I was contemplating buying a projector and since I see the Rainbow effect decided on the Sony HS60 with the Panasonic AE-900 a close second. I also had a Pioneer DV717 which for the time was very good but old hat.

I demoed the pj with my old player, my old player upscaled via a Yamaha 2600, a cheap although apparently well repected Sony model and the Pioneer 989.

The difference between them was clear cut whilst the Sony and the upscaled player seemed pretty good, the 989 was so mucher better, much more 3D like pictures.

I don't know if the 989 is still available and I didn't believe it suffered from macroblocking but although a reasonably priced player (750ish) it was certainly worth it for matching with a projector.

In the end I actually went with a Pioneer 436XDE plasam and still haven't changed the dvd player yet. The panel seems to be doing a very good upscaling and I really need to borrow a better player to see if there is noticeable difference.

Hope this helps
 

icl

Standard Member
Thank you all for your replies! :thumbsup:

Nic, what issues does my Pioneer have?

If I were to get a VP, which one(s) should I consider, and why?

I'll check to see if the Marantz 9500 has interlaced via HDMI.

How much of an improvement over my 757 would the Oppo be? I have not actually seen my 757 in action yet: I bought it second hand (for 130 pounds) and received it just today. So I also do not know if the movie sound will hit the spot!

To give you an idea of my budget, I have been seriously considering the following:

Arcam DV79 and AVR-300 (about 1,650 pounds here, in Poland)
Marantz 9500 or 9600
And also the Pioneer 989, which I did not mention in my previous posts.

So considering all this, what would the most logical option be"

1) Stay, as you mentioned, Nic, with my 757 and get a VP;
2) Oppo with a VP;
3) Arcam DV-79, perhaps initially without a VP, then get one later;
4) Pioneer 868 (575 pounds new) or 989 (630 pounds new) with a VP..

The million dollar question here is at what point does the extra expense for a pricier player yield improvements in picture quality that are too small to justify the player's price? To put it another way, as I tend to be a perfectionist I would hate having macroblocks and other such annoyances. However, I am not a perfectionist to the point that I want to spend 10,000 pounds (or more!) for the ultimate system. As an example, I am sure that if I saw two systems side by side (one costing 5,000 pounds and the other 10,000) I would prefer the 10,000-pound one (assumiing that it was in fact better!), while I might be very happy with the cheaper system if I watched it in isolation.

I do apologise if I am asking so many questions but there is no where to demo these products here where I live!

Cheers! :)
Iason

P.S. By the way, if there is a no-brainer option here (if, for example, the price of a player is too good to miss) please do let me know!
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
The only think I would say is that you look like you are go to spend quite a bit of money on a source (DVD player) and possibly a VP to partner a fairly entry level projector.

I would have thought that normally if you are spending 1,650 pounds on a source then you would be spending 4 to 5k on a projector to get the full benefits.

I am not saying you wouldn't get better performance by spending the money but you will reach the limits of those projectors before you reach the limits of an upscaling DVD and/or VP. In this case you would get much better performance from spending the money on the projector.

If you can't demo the thing where you are then, you are unfortunately going to have to rely on others views and reviews.

I would personally try your 757 first and see if you like it. If you like then leave it be. If you are set on a £600 player + VP then buy the player first and see if you like that and what the improvement is between that and the old one. Then you can always buy the VP at a later date.

I am sure the sound will be fine from the 757, again it depends on how you are feeding to the rest of your system and what it is.
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
The Pioneer I thought had Cue issues, that aside, I always thought it a good player. Personally if it was my money, I would take the softly softly approach. I would use a vp as this will give a better picture when fed from a transport. If you then still want an extra degree of sharpness then go the SDI route or interlaced from HDMI. Here the Oppo 970, Arcam and Pioneer 989 all can do this. 757 with VP gives you best bang for your money, next up would be the Oppo and vo. I have only limited experience of the 989 but that would need to feed a VP as well to compete here.
 

icl

Standard Member
ChuckMountain said:
I would have thought that normally if you are spending 1,650 pounds on a source then you would be spending 4 to 5k on a projector to get the full benefits.
The 1,650 price was not just for the DVD player but for the DV-79 AND the Arcam AVR-300 receiver. It is an offer to buy them both together.


Nic Rhodes said:
The Pioneer I thought had Cue issues
What is Cue?


I think that this is all begining to settle in my head. I think I'll stick with the 757 and see how it is with the PJ once I get it.

WhenI do decide to upgrade, would the best bang for buck be to add a VP, or to get a better player instead? Nic, I know you said it was adding a VP but I also wanted ChuckMountain's opinion.

Do any of you have experience with VP's? If so, which one would you receommend? I have had a look at Lumagen.com and dvdo.com and I'm not sure which one would suit my needs the best.

Thanks!!! :)
Iason
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
Cue is nasty colout error from MPEG decoders.

I have plenty of vps here. If you have an interest in HD then look to the Lumagens, if SD is fine for you the DVDOs are nice. You can spend more money if you want....
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
With your new player (757) you are limited to the output it can give as it has no digital out. An SDI upgrade for it seems an expensive route to take especially when there are potentially players out there for similar cost that would have better transports and give HDMI out so you can plug into your VP.

Personally I don't have much experience of VP but of what I do know are they are much more customisable than the likes of upscaling DVD players. They also do this for all your sources bringing an improvement. I don't think you will be disappointed at all with the results of buying one and it will certainly improve on the 757 if you output at the native resolution to the projector.

I would also say that you need to make sure everything else is decent like for example your screen, don't invest in a DVD Player and VP then go project on a painted wall. Not saying you would be it has happened.

I know the scaler in the Sony HS60 didn't seem that hot with low res stuff so an external VP or upscaling DVD would have been a must for me if I had gone down that route. I only had a Yamaha 2600 which as Nic I am sure would point isn't a "proper" VP but does a considerable job of approving picture but it was left behind by the 989. I am sure that it would give a VP run for the money.

The only real way to try is with your own eyes if you are happy with it then leave it as it is. Its a shame you don't have a friendly dealer close by as in this country they would certainly lend you the kit to try out.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello icL

Once you get your head around the range of variables that are involved with capturing, editing and duplicating/distributing Video, Film and Animation and then throw in the vagaries of one half of the planet doing everything at 60Hz and the other half at 50Hz you start to see the huge possibility for introducing unwanted errors and problems into a video image.

Having decided upon a 1280x720 pixel projector as your preferred Display device (and as ChuckMountain says remember the screen and your projection room is also an important element in what you end up viewing) you now need to decide how best to get your single or multiple video source signals into your Projection engine.

For many enthusiast and non enthusiasts the best of today's HDMI equipped Progressive scan with up-conversion DVD players will be more than adequate and you can spend anything from 150.00 GBP through to 1,600.00 GBP and get varying degrees of unwanted errors introduced by the DVD player, the Projector or the combination of the Player and the Projector.

For some folk these visible errors are not an issue for others they are a big nono.

Even assuming you had the perfect DVD player plus the perfect Projection engine you then get into Calibration and ensuring you have everything in your system optimised for peak performance - though of course performance varies over time as you have a lamp based projection engine and the lamp degrades as you use it.

Your potential choice of Projector seems very reasonable and offers you very good performance for the money.

Your DVD player is a relatively decent unit that wont offend and I guess hasn't cost you too much.

If you introduce a VP into your system you will immediately see an improvement in the video image you see on screen and if your keen you will open up a whole host of calibration and adjustment opportunities to enable you to best configure your system - did I mention you also need to purchase something along the lines of a SpyderTV + third party software and dedicate lots of time to 'tweaking' your set up.

Assuming you went for the likes of a Lumagen or DVDO VP with your DV-757 and whichever Projector you go with you have every chance of producing very decent image in your cinema room and once you get a handle on all of the technology I'd then start to investigate how a more costly DVD player used as a transport can improve things even further.

Alternatively order an Arcam DV-137 plus your preferred Projector whack the DVD player to 720P and the Projector to Cinema mode and forget about trying to eek out 100% performance and make do with 90% in 'out of the box' mode :)

Best regards

Joe
 

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