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Help me choose Sony S550, Pioneer BDP 51 FD, Samsung 2500

wayden

Active Member
Finally it has come down to these three.
I have guests coming over for the weekend and I am arranging a movie evening.
Sony S550 - 329 Euros
Pioneer BDP 51 - 399 Euros
Samsung BDP 2500 -299 Euros
Panasonic BDP 80 - 349
Denon 1800 BD Special Offer from Saturn Munich 199 Euros. Sadly no HD decoders, so has to be taken of the list.

Please let me know your unbiased opinions. Also, a recommendation of a good transfer Bluray movie to start things off.

Thanks,
Wayden
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
How are you connecting the player to your TV/Receiver and what features etc are you looking for? Do you have many US DVD's or is your existing collection mostly European and PAL based?

In terms of 'wow' factor, then Wall-E's a safe bet, the two latest Bond films, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are pretty good, and the IMAX scenes in The Dark Knight can look pretty special. i-Robot is another good film in HD. Stick to newer stuff initially for wow factor, catalogue releases need a bit more research.

The Sony and Panasonic will be the least trouble out of the box if you only have a day or so to set it all up and get it working. The Pioneer can be a little quirky although plays all the above films without issue on the latst firmware. The Samsung offers decent basic performance but much fewer settings to adjust later in player, the Panasonic and Sony offer more, the Pioneer the most with 3 user memories for video setup and by far the most options. The Pioneer is however the slowest machine.
 

kingfats

Distinguished Member
Finally it has come down to these three.
I have guests coming over for the weekend and I am arranging a movie evening.
Sony S550 - 329 Euros
Pioneer BDP 51 - 399 Euros
Samsung BDP 2500 -299 Euros
Panasonic BDP 80 - 349
Denon 1800 BD Special Offer from Saturn Munich 199 Euros. Sadly no HD decoders, so has to be taken of the list.

Please let me know your unbiased opinions. Also, a recommendation of a good transfer Bluray movie to start things off.

Thanks,
Wayden
Hi. :)
If your sticking with optical then then the 2500 will deliver the best sound as you can use the players Re-encode feature on Blu-ray soundtracks to get max bitrate DTS.
Good DVD but region locked i'm afraid.
All the best.
 

wayden

Active Member
How are you connecting the player to your TV/Receiver and what features etc are you looking for? Do you have many US DVD's or is your existing collection mostly European and PAL based?

In terms of 'wow' factor, then Wall-E's a safe bet, the two latest Bond films, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are pretty good, and the IMAX scenes in The Dark Knight can look pretty special. i-Robot is another good film in HD. Stick to newer stuff initially for wow factor, catalogue releases need a bit more research.

The Sony and Panasonic will be the least trouble out of the box if you only have a day or so to set it all up and get it working. The Pioneer can be a little quirky although plays all the above films without issue on the latst firmware. The Samsung offers decent basic performance but much fewer settings to adjust later in player, the Panasonic and Sony offer more, the Pioneer the most with 3 user memories for video setup and by far the most options. The Pioneer is however the slowest machine.
Thanks Ian,
Everything will be hooked up to my receiver via hdmi. I am missing anything when I am using hdmi versus Analogue? About 25 percent of my movies are US DVDs. My yamaha DVD player is region free and does a pretty good job, unless you thing these players will be better? Basically, I wont mine spending more, if I can be assured of an excellent experience PQ and SQ (the thrill). What is the best buy within this price or maybe a little bit more expensive.

Thanks,
Wayden
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
Well, as KF says, the Samsung 2500 can't be made multi-region, and it's now discontinued, so on past form unless you really must have a Samsung, I'd leave that one.

Whilst the Pioneer has the most options, it does not yet decode DTS-HD to PCM internally, we are still waiting for a firmware upgrade (I have a 51FD and a Sony S350) to enable it. Latest rumour is sometime in June, but we've been waiting a long time, almost 9 months, and at that rate it could be June 2010. :)

The Sony S350 and the Sony S550 have the same PQ, and personally I prefer the picture on the Pioneer. I think it gives a little more detail. However, at 1080p/24 whilst differences are there, they are not massive, and I'm 50/50 on whether the Pioneer is a good buy if you're not using analogue outs...

If 25% of your DVD collection is US based, and your TV will accept 1080p/24 over HDMI, then I would go with the Panasonic. The main reason is that for NTSC film based DVD's, it can get the original 24fps off of disc for you resulting in losing the judder associated with 60Hz playback. So it could breathe new life into your US DVD's.

Panasonic players have also been very reliable generally playing discs and well supported with firmware, so I think it's a safe bet for now, and can be made multi-region easily (as can the Sony and Pioneer) to cater for your US DVD's. None of them can be made multi-region for BD without hardware modification.

EDIT: Beyond this price range things really get more difficult and I'd say at the moment there is a bit of a gap. Some new Denon's the 2010 in particular are due mid-late summer and may provide something extra, but that won't help for your weekend. A european Oppo is due, again probably late summer, early autumn, but it's unclear if the European one will have any MR DVD capability. New Pioneers & Sony's are also due, but again not around now.

The next jump up is a big one, Denon 3800 etc, and if you're not using the analogue outs then that's where a large amount of the engineering in these players has gone, so unless you must have the best, their value drops a little for HDMI only use. I would stick with the cheaper players for now, and if you want to upgrade in 12-18 months time, then there should be much better machines and more choice around at mid-market price levels IMO.
 
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kingfats

Distinguished Member
Good advice. :thumbsup:
Panasonic will certainly deliver the goods plus you could save a bit of cash (if you wanted of course) and go for the BD60 if your HDMI only. :)
 
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