Panny S97 Panned by What HiFi

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by stanleyntl, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. stanleyntl

    stanleyntl
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    Yet again What HiFi slate what many forum members rate as a top player!
    Preferring the Pioneer 575 or Denon 1910. :devil:

    What could be so wrong on this player to incur their displeasure? :confused:
     
  2. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
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    I didn't read the full article (Haven't bought the mag yet, but there was apparent grain in the HDMI connection.

    Anyone else care to elaborate on this article ?

    Richie.
     
  3. KraGorn

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    clearly many forum members are wrong. :smoke:
     
  4. loz

    loz
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    Funny, I was going to make a similar post.

    The S97 was on my short list.

    The what hifi review seems contradictory to http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/cgi-bin/shootout.cgi?function=search&articles=all which places the S97 well

    quotes
    via HDMI - "colour palette is noticably muted", "edge-definition is more approximate than we would have liked", "minor issues with motion tracking"

    They do say that if this had been their first encounter with HDMI it would have got more praise.
    So it isn't so much the S97 is bad or poor - more that similar HDMI machines like the Denon have an even better picture quality.
     
  5. t0by

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    I have to say I was disappointed with the S97 via HDMI to a DVI connection on a PWD7. Watched a few bits and bobs and saw some horrendous solarisation (several times) on a LOTR scene. It looked a real mess. Switched to component and it was a bit better, then switched back to component on a Denon 2900 and it was gone...

    Just my two penneth, but I'll not be getting one now.
     
  6. hornydragon

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    why are people banging on about a £300 HDMI DVD player there is no need.......stick with component....HDMI as yet is not as good especailly on bargain basement units...
     
  7. richjthorpe

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    But why are they not as good though ? You would have thought it would come out maybe equally as good as component ?
     
  8. bonzobanana

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    What Hifi slated the humax 80 gig pvr but gave the earlier 40gig version a glowing review. As far as I'm aware the humax records the actual digital stream and there isn't meant to be any difference between the two technically apart from the harddrive. I would worry more about a bad review in What Video than one in What Hifi myself. I think What Hifi are good for sound reviews but I've disagreed with a lot of their verdicts with regard picture performance. What Video do extensive tests and benchmarks and What Hifi don't for visuals at least.
     
  9. hornydragon

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    Why?
    HDMI has been around for 2 years MAX and most manufacturers have only just got to grips with it..component has been around 10+ and they know what they are doing and the chipsets are well developed and cheap compared to HDMI which are new in early phases and expensive....
     
  10. Aquila

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    Home Theater HIFI is also known for good reviews and they say it's all in all a good player but has some problems (see review). They say that the problems could easily be solved with a firmware upgrade and since they've written their review, a firmware upgrade has become available. So I suppose/hope that a lot of the problems mentioned in their review will be solved now (?)
     
  11. danvitale

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    Last time I looked the Panny S97 was £200, £80 more than I paid for my multi-region Pioneer 575 at Richer Sounds.....
     
  12. richjthorpe

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    I don't know much about the functions that go on in a DVD player, but I would have thought it would read the disc, convert it to digital YUV then convert it to analogue YUV then sent through the Component leads.

    With HDMI, wouldn't you take out the DACs and pump it out through the HDMI cable or am I just simpplifying things ?! :D

    Richie.
     
  13. Loada

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    I wouldn't always believe what you read in magazines (especially What HiFi). Like the forum, use them as a guide to your decision-making process. As far as the Pana S97 goes, I think it's a bit vague to say the HDMI output is muted and grainy. What exactly does THAT mean? What was the test environment? Were any of the settings on the player utilised correctly? Were they upscaling? Which display were they using? Was the player equipped with the latest firmware which was recently released (addressing many issues; display quality, layerchange speed, macroblocking to name a few)?

    The bottom-line is that the player can be found for ~£200, multi-region. For that price, you get HDMI, Faroudja chipset (720p/1080i upscaling), good disc support and some useful tweaking features. It's closest competitor is the Denon 1910 and it has its own issues. The recent "Secrets" DVD player shoot-out had the S97 in 2nd place behind the $3500 Denon 5910 and that was with the old firmware (the new firmware fixes some of the S97's issues mentioned in that review).

    It's £200 people - if you want class-leading HDMI performance, it's the Pioneer 868 for you (or perhaps arguably the Denon 3910)...and that's more like £700. Best to keep everything in context.

    Oh, and I do own an S97. And I don't work on the "Secrets" webpage. Or for Panasonic. :)
     
  14. stanleyntl

    stanleyntl
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    The trouble is Panasonic UK are rather lax about issuing upgrades. I believe its only available in the states at present; and you certainly won't find it listed as a user download. :(

    The web source you refer to seems to pan most players because they don't pass their anally retentive tests. Surely, only critical faults should be tested for. If discs have authoring errors, then the fault lies with the movie studios and not the players which have to conform to standards laid down by the DVD Forum.
    Even if a group of players were to pass their spurious tests, none of them would perform identically, as they all would use different mpeg decoders, different deinterlacers, scalers etc, and be built with different internal components. Accurate playback is a relative thing, if a player were hooked up to different displays - none of them would produce identical results : the quest for accuracy is totally meaningless with a DVD source! :mad:
     
  15. ginger

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    Do a little search for "S97" in this forum and you will very quickly find a link to a download of the firmware update
     
  16. Loada

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    It's freely downloadable, there are links here and on several other forums. The firmware upgrade is not region-specific (the S97 is identical hardware across regions anyway).

    The tests are designed to fairly test the players' ability to decode DVD discs correctly - they may seem technical but DVD players have to do a pretty complicated job, especially when upscaling. No matter what the output display is, if the DVD player can't get the data off the disc correctly before it's sent there, the resulting picture is going to be compromised. Things like layer-change and chroma/colour levels are pretty important to anyone's setup.

    If you head over to the "other" forum (USA) then there is a very (VERY) long thread dedicated to the S97. It has a lot of useful information (handily edited onto the first page of the thread by a moderator). That might help in getting a more balanced view of the S97's performance - there is a lot of useful discussion and comparison with rivalling players.
     
  17. overkill

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    I wouldnt pay ANY attention to a What hi-fi review. It's regarded as a comic by those in the trade. It does little to no blind testing and no bench tests. Basically it's all down to the reviewer, and who's paying the bills - literally.

    As above, stick to a combination of fellow users and a wide range of reviews.
     
  18. loz

    loz
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    You must work for one of the rival hi-fi mags then :D
     
  19. Prax

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    I must admit i did buy the the S97 initially played LOTR on it through HDMI on my 435 Plasma no problems it was perfect.

    But soon as i read the What hi fi review which recommended 1910 as the better i quickly swapped it as my exchange peroid on the product was nearly over.

    Initial problem since the swap was the cables as now i needed an adaptor for DVI to Hdmi and seperate connection for sound which i did not need for S97

    I am no expect which is why i rely on magazines the little i saw of the picture quality there seemed no difference maybe slightly better but i would have to put it side to side.

    I am still not sure whether i made the wiser decision? :suicide:
     
  20. Loada

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    If you're happy with the 1910 then you made the right decision.
     
  21. edinburgh160

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    I bought the S97, as I wanted a player I could use my DVI Plasma connection with, and my budget was pretty stretched after buying the screen.
    Thing is, it only cost me £200 and I didn't expect miracles for this outlay.

    I'm very pleased with the player, but of course, I wish I had £1000 to buy a better one.

    It's going to have some flaws, but serious (and rich) enthusiasts would not look twice at this player. For the happy go lucky consumer it really is a case of 'you get what you pay for' and this should do most fine as a step up into the HDMI game.

    Looking at 'the Fast and The Furious' superbit, the picture and sound blows you away. Other side of the coin is that in some scenes in The Return of the King the player does show up some flaws, but that film (with all it's darker scenes) demands are higher and alot of more expensive players would I'm sure show these up as well.
    Majority of new discs play superbly.
     
  22. Prax

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    Well...fair enough but still got to play more discs...guess the idea of owning a Denon and thought of buying a denon amp in the future made me go for it.

    Which is a pretty laim way of choosing the player but i had to choose bet the S97 and the Denon 1910 and What Hi Fi made the decision for me :rolleyes:
     
  23. kourosh

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    the other thing is a lot of these mags are very much influenced by some manufacturers so they are gonna be unfaire to other makes eg if one editor is getting a load of freebi's from denon and its all expensive top of the range they may slate a few other makes it goes on trust me :devil: and at the end of the day you get for what you pay for if you wanna the best you have to pay top money but also dont always trust what you read in the mags cause at the end of the day the only person's opinion that matters its yours ;)
     

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