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Expensive DVD, really worth it?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Richard QC, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. Richard QC

    Richard QC
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    I'll fire this question in and then stand well back!!

    With DVD players now available from supermarkets for £40 can anybody really honestly justify something like £800 (20 times as much) for the top of the range Pioneer 868??

    I have a JVC dvd recorder connected via component to a PIo 434 plasma and an old LG dvd player multi region hacked for playing dvd films r1, r3 etc, all r2 go via the JVC and component inputs for what everybody says is the best quality.

    Now the Pio plasma has HDMI, again, the so called best input available. So the next big question (assuming I can find somebody selling one) would an £800 top of the range player connected via HDMI really give me over £700 worth of improved picture quality?

    Is there really that much difference? Now I don't mind paying £800 BUT if I do pay that much I really want to be able to see the difference. When playing DVDs across my exisiting two players the differences are not all that great and to be honest both look good, can things look even better?
     
  2. pjclark1

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    I find the big name dvd players very limited
    I would much rather have a dvd player that can play everything from any region out of the box. I have a DK Digital 915 (ebuyer £52 delivered), no component out but SCART (RGB), s-video, composite, digital audio (coax and optical) and 6x phono decoded surround. Plays all regions, xvid, divx 3,4,5, .mpg, .dat, .vob, WMA, mp3 off all recordable media. Perfect picture quality, it even plays proper NTSC or PAL (you choose) for any standard media. Only faults I can pick are cr@p remote and macrovision can't be turned off. Looks great on my plasma.
     
  3. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    What one person perceives as worth £700 another may not. It's an impossible question for anyone but yourself to answer. I can tell you that not all component or indeed HDMI/DVI outputs will be equal in performance. Improper set up of source and display may mask any differences (not saying you don't know what you are doing just pointing out possibilities for other posters).

    I think you might have to borrow an 868 to find out if it's better than your current player.

    Gordon
     
  4. hornydragon

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    There are many things that a £800 DVD player will do better than a £40 DVD but what it cant do is performe that much better per pound cause a £40 unit that plays DVDs is alot of performane per £ but seriously what seems reasonable? Howmuch did you pay for screen????
     
  5. Richard QC

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    Thanks for the replies, some interesting starts!
    The screen was expensive (about £4000) but after seeing in action (albeit in local Currys!) and reading what was talked about on here I decided to go ahead and buy the best that money could buy at the time. DVD is quite a small section of my viewing (mainly Sky+), and as I said the actual money is not the main concern, what is my concern is the absolute best viewing. I mainly view region 1 and region 2 DVD films, no interest in Divx, SACD, MP3 etc just absolute best viewing on films, TV and sport.
    One would assume given all the hype, a properly connected HDMI would give a better result than a £40 dvd via SCART, but then yes the question is raised how do you define a "better result". What would be more pleasing to my eye would not necessarily be the best to somebody else.
    However one would hate to spend £800 and then see little or no improvement over £40! On the other hand if a significant improvement could be seen then the money would be well justified.
    The two issues I have with my current setup are a little bit of graininess and poor resolution in dark scenes. The grain does vary a bit from disc to disc and player to player, whilst the resolution is I'm sure an artefact of the plasma. All the reviews I have seen of HDMI players refer to the remarkable increase in dark scene resolution and detail and I guess really thats what I'm after and thats how I would define "better results".
    On another note, just got my Star Wars dvds today, on boy how will they look on my 42" plasma?
     
  6. vonhosen

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    In my experience of buying a variety of players there is a diminishing return.

    Your average £500 player will show a significant increase over your £50 player , but the differences between the £500 player & a £1K player is less for the difference in price & same goes again for the difference between a £1K & £2K player.

    The further up the chain you go, the larger the increase in price to see a smaller improvement. I know it's a bit of a generalisation & there will be some players that will buck that trend.
     
  7. Ekko Star

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    It's all subjective to what quality is worth to you and how much you are willing to pay for it.

    However, I doubt you will be satisfied spending £800 on a DVD player. Basically if you are asking this question before you buy then it is probably not for you. People who want this quality tend not to question or compare the price. It's usually a case of 'I want the best'.

    Also a major factor in the price differences is the HDMI element. As an early adopter you will always get skinned over and above what is it's literal value. It's always the way in this game.

    Only you can decide.
     
  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Hi Richard,

    I wouldn't get too concerned with reviews of HDMI DVD players. There are plenty of ways to skin a cat..

    Good analogue outputs may in some cases offer superior performance to DVI/HDMI outputs. I know of one player that someone I trust has tested and found the digital video output to have poorer performance than the analogue one.

    Increased low level detail on HDMI might just be due to the DVD player or display having different output and input levels for these signals. It may well be that after proper calibration there is less difference...or more.....

    The main differences most folk are likely to notice are removal of de-interlacing and scaling artefacts and increase or decreases in detail. Colour fidelity and gamma(let's not get in to this but it has an affect on levels of detal visible in low light scenes). Products like the Pioneer are likely to be consistent in their build quality. A £40 player out of tesco may not be built to as fine tolerances. So you may find one is good and next on the shelf is not. After consistency there is performance. I'd expect the level of picture adjustment on a high end machine to be such that superior performance on a range of products would be achievable over a cheapy supermarket unit. If your display device doesn't have great de-interlacing you may find the DVD player can do it better removing artefacts. Conversely if the display has some decent processing built in there may be less benefit to be had.

    The problem putting a monetary value on this is as I've said. If you were to view an image and find it unwatcheable with a cheap player but very enjoyable with a product 20 times the price would you class the more expensive one as good value for money or would you class the cheap unwatcheable one as good value for money? For me something that is unwatcheable(and I'm not saying yours would be to me) has no value, no matter how cheap. Whether the better unit is affordable is of course another question ;)

    Further note regarding HDMI. If you wish to use an HDMI DVD player you must make sure the display has an HDMI input or a HDCP compliant DVI input. You also need to check that the resolutions coming out of your DVD player are supported by the display.

    'm sure you will be able to find a dealer who will do you a demo or home trial of a DVD player so you can see all this for yourself. If/when you do please post your thoughts.
     
  9. AML

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    Many interesting replys. I agree with gordon in that you do need to decide for yourself.

    You should get a demo from a shop so you can see the quality difference then you can choose wether you buy or not.

    In my own personal experience, i started my Home Theater hobby with fairly cheap stuff.

    Once I got into it, I realised that by doing something simple like buying a more expensive cable (ie component), can improve the picture quality.

    As you build up, you buy a more expensive therefore better quality DVD player which will make the picture look better than with the older one.

    More expensive isnt always better though. You need to study up and use magazines and web sites to get info and comparisons (good points and bad points) on any product you may want to buy.

    This way you will always make an informed and intelligent decision.
    Use logic, and dont let your wallet or your desire for the most expensive stuff guide you!
     
  10. hi-de-hi

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    I'm fairy interested in the answer to this post...

    What I could do with knowing is exactly what the differences are between your £300 HDMI DVD players and the £800/£1000 ones. I understand that the "Is it worth it?" question is highly subjective, and I have been advised on a seperate post to visit my local dealer and compare cheap and expensive side by side, but defining what improvements can be seen when increasing the amount of money you spend must be able to be nailed down. And nailing this down will (I hope) give me a slightly better chance of noticing the differences when comparing them. Any suggestions...?

    (By the way, I currently have a Sky box with a Pioneer 504HDE coupled up to a NAD L55 DVD player by way of s-video leads. )
     
  11. hi-de-hi

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    Having just re-read a post above I thought I would clarify my question as I haven't made myself as clear as I'd wanted to. Sorry!

    I am refering specifically to HDMI machines from £300 and then up to the £1000 - not the basic £40 player from the supermarket. Apologies for that not being as clear as it could be.

    Cheers

    Simon
     
  12. Radiohead

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    A Fiat Panda will get you there but people still buy Ferraris.
     
  13. Richard QC

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    Some interesting additions to this argument are about to arrive in the shape of the Denon, Panasonic and Samsung DVD players with HDMI for around £200. Now at that price they could be worth trying to see if they suit and if the HDMI is better.

    The problem is living in Doncaster it is a bit of a AV wasteland. I do not know of any decent dealers nearby who would be willing to spend a bit of time demonstrating a range of gear or allowing a loan unit for an evening or a couple of hours. There are plenty of places like Currys or Dixons and Comet but we all know how well informed most of their staff are (I say most because I did have a brief spell working at Currys!), but getting a decent demo from there is impossible. If anybody knows of anybody please do advise, places like Leeds and Sheffield are within travelling range.
     
  14. Henry

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    I believe these people are pretty good.

    Hi Fi Studios Map

    Address: The Long Barn, Wakefield Road, Hampole, Doncaster, Yorkshire
    Telephone: 01302 727274
    e-mail: info@thehifistudios.freeserve.co.uk

    Plus there's a few good places in Hull too. Sevenoaks there are good. Zen Audio too. Don't really know Leeds or Sheffield.
     
  15. Miniholic

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    Richard,

    I live in that AV wasteland too, I've used Superfi in Leeds, Sevenoaks in Sheffield and Sound Organisation in York, all of which were very helpful (and patient :D ).

    I've not been to the Hi-Fi studios, but have heard lots of good things about them and may be paying them a visit soon as a DVD player upgrade is on the cards. They are on the wakefield road (right hand side) about 1/2 a mile after the A1, you can't miss it, it's the second or third building you come to and looks quite an impressive building.

    Moorgate Acoustics in Sheffield have a good range too, and there is a Superfi in Sheffield but that is closing soon as they are at the end of their lease, might be a chance to bag a bargain though.
     
  16. Smurfin

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    Think you've answered the question yourself:)
     
  17. John7

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    "The screen was expensive (about £4000) but after seeing in action (albeit in local Currys!) and reading what was talked about on here I decided to go ahead and buy the best that money could buy at the time. DVD is quite a small section of my viewing (mainly Sky+), and as I said the actual money is not the main concern, what is my concern is the absolute best viewing".

    So I guess youve kinda answered your own query here?

    You bought one of the most expensive plasma displays because it offered the best quality display (though I doubt Currys would have it set to display its best results!) and from positive comments posted on this forum.

    Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. The quality and specification of the components in a £200.00 DVD player will not be a match for a £1000 player. Its all relative though and like the car analogy above, a cheaper DVD player will get you where you want to go but not necessarily with the best quality ride

    Prior to the 868 becoming widely available (I have a Pio 434 bought for the same reasons as you) I used a Denon 2900 which as you probably know is highly rated. I can honestly say that the picture quality improvement provided by the 868 through HDMI is streets ahead in resolution, black level etc. For me it was easy to justify the "upgrade" (and loss of 50% of the cost of the 2900 after 1 year :eek: ) to the 868.

    I dont have limitless pots of money to spend on AV gear but just felt that having spent so much on a display for its quality, I would be crippling it by not giving it the best input signal.

    As Gordon and a few of the others have said though, the only real way youll know the difference before buying (and as should apply to all hi-Fi purchases) is to demo the kit yourself, so you need to seek out a good dealer. Toruble is with this market though, there is always something better (and cheaper) just around the corner...................
     
  18. welsh113

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    The homecinema dvd shoot out in the united states does not really give alot of the higher dvd good ratings in my opinion they fail alot of crucial tests that you would expect alot of these players costing as much as they do to pass with flying colours!!!!!!! IMO you dont get what you pay for in this department but at the same time this agruement can go on forever it uses the best components ect ect its real results i would like to see and i have not seen any real results from these such players granted better then the 30-40 quid players but not many people will notice any difference if there is a difference between 150-200 pound dedicated player and one at 500-2000 player......better build quality but come one lets be serious it goes in a rack and stays there what can go wrong!!!!!! failure rate on even the cheapest of cheap dvd players is like 5 percent over 3 years.
     
  19. Bernard Barnett

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    The car analogy is not correct. Fiat Pandas and Ferraris are completely different driving experiences and you simply will not find the same level of difference between DVD players. For ultimate PQ that will have your jaw hitting the floor, my suggestion would be to stick with a reasonably priced DVD player for the time being and wait until high-definition DVD comes along in a couple of years. Or if you really can't wait, try a high-def d-vhs player, available now with a smallish library of movies on tape (see the CRT Projectors website for details) - an expensive option with a limited life but it really does make DVD look like VHS!
     
  20. Nobber22

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    I know this thread is all about DVD players and their picture output, but for me the biggest difference between a £40 player & an £800 machine is the quality of sound each outputs. That's where the real difference exists for me. :lesson:
     
  21. BrianC

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    I've noticed a real, measurable difference in picture quality since upgrading from my HK DVD 25 (cost me £300 last year) to my Denon 3910 (£800 this month), both outputing prog scan to the same display, both calibrated via DVE.

    Scenes like the one in palpatines offices in episode 1 & 2 have far more detail on the cummerbund around his waist, Andy Lau's jacket in House of the Flying daggers is dark green rather than grey/black.

    Its a black and white difference for me, once you start looking at the detail, I doubt that level of detail is important for most people.
     
  22. Richard QC

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    Thanks for that tip re Doncaster!

    You know I drive that road regularly and have never seen that building or noticed the shop. Maybe they need a bigger sign?

    I'll pop down this weekend and take a look and hopefully report back.
     

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