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pioneer 668/868 or arcam dv79

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by LFC4ever, Jul 21, 2004.

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  1. LFC4ever

    LFC4ever
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    I've just got a Pioneer 434 Plasma and want to get an HDMI equiped DVD - not sure whether the Arcam is better than Pioneers own players or whether the Pioneer 668 offers as much as the 868 as both are HDMI capable,but the 668 is a lot cheaper - available for about £450.
    Any advice gratefully received,
    Thanks
     
  2. inzaman

    inzaman
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    From a picture quality view point the 868 will upscale to hi def formats i.e 720p where as the 668 will not, i am also pretty sure that the arcam also does not scale up to 720 etc.
     
  3. Anthony UK

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    Hi,

    I have just purchased a Pioneer 434HDE plasma and a 668 DVD player to make use of the HDMI capability. I was impresssed with the 480P output (compared to old CRT), but now I feel that I may have purchased the wrong DVD player as the 868 has the video scaler to achieve the native 720 resolution of the 434HDE.

    Does anybody know if the plasma has the capability to offer the same performance of scalling as the 868 DVD player, or am i losing picture quality because my DVD player can only offer 480p???

    Should I think about chaning my 668 for an 868 or other DVD player with an intergrated scaler? Would an external scaler improve the picture?

    Many thanks!
     
  4. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    There is a huge amount of misunderstanding about scaling in DVD players.

    Firstly, having a DVD player that scales above the native resolution of a DVD (720 x 480 or 720 x 576) does not improve the actual resolution of that DVD or in any way make it "high definition".

    Secondly unless your player outputs the exact "native resolution" of the fixed pixel device in both the horizontal and vertical domains, then the signal has to pass through the scaler in the display. Having concatenated (stacked) scalers is, in general, a bad thing.

    As it happens there are very few very (no?) plasmas that have 720 pixels in the vertical domain, so there are no cases where outputting 720p or 1080 will eliminate the display's scaler. The Pioneer 434 is 768 pixels high IIRC.

    And, even if you can get the display's native resolution in both the horizontal and vertical domains from the DVD player, who is to say that the scaler in the DVD player is actually better overall than the scaler in the plasma? It is definitely not a given thing.

    There are many other things that go into making a good picture; not least is the quality of the player's MPEG decoder and these are definitely not created equal. The deinterlacer quality matters too - and there are big variations here too.

    HTH.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  5. Anthony UK

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    Thanks John,

    You answer confirms some of my thoughts. My question now is why do some DVD players have intergrated scalers?

    It sounds like if the origional data of the DVD is scaled from 480 or 576 lines to 720 or 1080 then it will need to be scaled again by the plasma to the 768 (or mayby 1024) resolution of the plasma.

    Also, if the DVD only contains 480 or 576 (NTSC or PAL) lines of data, how can the equipment be classed as high definition??? Where is the extra resolution coming from? It sounds like some of the lines are being doubled or interperlated, but that is not additional resolution.

    I understand that HDMI is a digital connections so there are no A/D or D/A conversions or lossy analog cables to deal with, so you will transfer hopefully all the origonal data from the DVD to Plasma display with no loss of clarity. But HDMI sounds to me like a false name. Digital - yes, crystal clear quality yes, high definition - no.

    Maybe soon DVD disks may contain 720 lines resolution or more??? Then I guess you could call these high definition DVD players. (or are these DVD's already available?)

    I'm please to have the digital part of teh HDMI on my 668 player, but bit miffed that the resolution is no higher than a regular PAL or NTSC player.
     
  6. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    You have got it - these players cannot be called "high definition" except in the minds of some poorly informed marketing executives :)

    HDMI means high definition multimedia interface and it is just that - an interface. It supports standard definition (480i/576i) and enhanced definition (480p/576p) video as well as high definition video (720p, 1080i and others). So its name is OK.

    You can't get standard DVDs beyond 480 or 576 lines - it is the spec. There are non DVD Forum formats around that a very few machines can replay (WMV, DiVX etc) but negligible commercial software.

    Your picture with HDMI will be about as good as it gets (though I might argue that the MPEG decoder and deinterlacer in an Arcam DV79 would give you a still better one!) but if you think you have been misled (but I am sure not by Pioneer who are dead straight IME) complain to trading standards.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  7. LFC4ever

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    I THINK I understand some of the replies but not being technically minded it's difficult to translate into plain English ! I guess I still don't know whether I'll get a better picture with an 868 over a 668 and whether the arcam 79 will be better than either - I have read some reviews which say there's no benefit with the Arcam using the 434 plasma over the 868, but as the owner of 2 Arcam 88+ and an A90 I'm getting to be a great Arcam fan......Probably time to call the guys at Creative Audio (who by the way I have found superb in their support and help in the past)
     
  8. SL Boy

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    I am about to install an Arcam DV79 to accompany a Pioneer 504 HDE. Auditioned the Pioneer 868 and picture quality was similar to the Arcam. However IMHO the Arcam scored much better on smoothness of sound especially on DVD Audio.
     
  9. rags

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    I have a Pioneer 504HDE and an Arcam DV79 and am very happy with the combination. The picture is breatakingly detailed. The only reason to buy the Pioneer 868 imho is if you believe the scaler in the player to be better than the scaler in the plasma. If like me you dont think so then the Arcam is tough to beat.

    The DV79 has a great sound to it with both movies and music - something I believe the Pioneer is not able to match. If you believe all SPIDIFS are equal then try the Arcam Vs some of the competition - its simply not true.
     
  10. Anthony UK

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    I dont feel bad now about choosing the 668 which was £440 and not the 868 which was £770 as it doesn't sound like the internal scaler of the 868 offers any more than the scaler in the 434HDE. The other feature of the 868 is the i-link, which i dont have a compatible receiver.

    My advice to pgh would be if you dont need i-link then buy either the 'budget' 668 which gives you an HDMI interface, and the picture is very good. Or buy the 'high end' Acram which will give you the best possible picture plus better Audio and more - at a price.
     
  11. Joaquin Mejia

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    I am sorry to have a different opinion here. The 868 scaler is for sure better than the one in the plasma, so that can certainly help. A friend retailer has told me several times how the 868 is noticeably better through HDMI than the 668 with Pioneer plasma. The review of both units at AVTech (HT supplement to Hi-Fi News) also marks the 868 gives better picture than the 668 (with FP and Pio plasma).

    As for the DV-79, I have had the same doubt as yours over the past days. It seems very promising, and I guess it sounds somewhat better than the 868. The DV79´s MPEG decoder is good, but it is not really a first class deinterlacer. Had it had Sil504 deinterlacing (which you can see in much cheaper machines, not yet with HDMI though), I would have gone for it. But I understand Pioneer´s propietary deinterlacer has been very much improved with the 868, so it is now only very slightly inferior to Sil504 or Faroudja.

    My FP accepts HDMI and has Faroudja deinterlacing (Epson TW500), so theoretically I could go for the DV-79, but the 868 gives me far more flexibility (I can calmly check what scaler is best, and what deinterlacer is best). I have also read the 868 allows greater control over colour and other features. And as you know, calibration is of the greatest importance!

    I have also read that the Faroudja chips lower the chroma resolution to 120 lines, so I wanted to have a non-faroudja good deinterlacer to make comparisons.
     
  12. eggybread

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    Just been to sevenoaks in manchester and saw the 868 and 668 on a 434 screen, back to back, both on HDMI.
    668 first - yes, very nice solid picture, crisp & solid images. put in some good quality dvd's (5th element) and some not so good (rob roy - non anamorphic)
    Ok, next up 868.
    Oh. My. God. 1280x720p first.
    As soon as the copyright warnings come up you see the difference. The fonts are like Win95 on 668, like winXP on 868 with 'smooth fonts' on.
    5th element - the scene where she is on the balcony being chased by the cops. you can see every strand of hair, you can read the ads on the buildings, the background snaps into focus. Two Towers, in the marsh with sam&frodo&gollum. incredible. just like looking through a window. the detail on the nazguls gauntlets...
    RobRoy - even this looked good. the select screen at the beginning was pretty sketchy on the 668, but on the 868 it was smooth and crisp.
    Saw a bit of 'Casino' too. Just amazing.
    BladeRunner - the interview scene at the beginning. You could see clearly the texture of the leather on the chair that the android sits on, and I never knew the white jacket he wears was that kind of plastic. Just unbelievable little details.
    1920x1080i --- about the same as 1280x720p to be honest, on the 434 panel, but maybe not quite is smooth.
    Probably not the email you wanted to read, guy who bought the 668, but thats my opinion, based on what my eyes saw, even if I cant back it up with tech-speak about scalers etc.
    Dunno about the DV79 cos I aint seen it, but I'm getting an 868, not a 668. It was like the step up from vhs to dvd for me.
     
  13. Mr. Wilby

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    1080i will just be down-scaled to the panel native res, so you're not likely to see much difference over 720p on the current crop of plasma displays. That said, I can't remember if the 434 supports 720p (I assume it is a "hi-def" panel?).
     
  14. John7

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    I have recently "upgraded" from a Denon DVD2900 to the 868i to go with my 434, based on reviews and trusted dealer advice.

    On first impression, the 868 is not built to the same high quality standard of the Denon, which is more physically impressive.

    However any doubts over the prowess of the 868 were dispelled as soon as it was fired up through HDMI. I would not have believed there could be such a dramatic improvement in picture quality over the highly rated 2900 and I totally agree with the comments made by eggybread - I am revisiting some of my old DVD collection to savour all the extra detail (Alien anyone?)

    But now the best news - I thought the Prog scan output of the DVD2900 through my 2 year old Panny LCD projector was good?

    868I - no contest - it makes the 2900 look like a VHS feed. I have been contemplating upgrading the Panny - not any more! The picture from the 868 is breathtaking. Superb contrast, improved definition, vibrant colours etc. Even my wife (who is not really into technical stuff) has remarked on how much better the picture quality is. It seems IMHO, that the 868 video processing capabilites are of a higher spec. than the 2900 and not totally dependant on HDMI for good quality output.

    (If anyone out there is contemplating a 2900 to be used with a projector you MUST audition an 868)

    I`ve just been and bought an AX5 (today) to replace my 2011 to make use if the i link. I have not yet had the chance to set it all up correctly but I am hoping for similar improvements to the audio.
     
  15. z5461313

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    John7

    Can I ask what is the model of your Panny projector ae100,200,300 or 500?

    I saw this 868 dvd player being used with a domino projector in Sevenoaks and the picture was really good and I've just got a really really good picture with my Sony ns930 dvd player ( panny ae300 projector ). But this picture I saw was better

    Think the 868 is a very special dvd player
     
  16. Gorshin

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  17. John7

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    My projector is the AE100,purchased when it first came on the market (5000 hour lamp life was tempting!)
     
  18. BAN5HEE

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    Also remember that the 868 has i.Link so if you have an amp compatable like say the pioneer vsxax5i then you have some kickass digital sound. :thumbsup:
     
  19. eggybread

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    Thanks for the link Gorshin. Looks interesting.
    Does it have a built in scaler for HDMI that the Pioneer 868 does though?
     
  20. mikemccon

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    ....and Denon UK tell me the ilink on the DVD-3910 is compatible with ilink equipped amps from Pioneer and Yamaha, but they haven't actually tested them yet !!

    Can we believe them?
     
  21. Radiohead

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    Well I guess iLink is a format defined by specific standards, so it should be ok, but until they try it there's no way to tell for sure.
     
  22. nikyzf

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    Unless they are being awkward just for the sake of it, it should be compatible with other IEEE1394/FireWire/iLink components.
    http://www.firewirestuff.com/whatis.html
    :thumbsup:
     
  23. Mr. Wilby

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    Anybody know if the denon 3910 up-converts a la 868?
     
  24. j0nners

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  25. Mr. Wilby

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    Useful link jonners, thanks. Certainly sounds promising.
     
  26. kocl

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    HI, a question about pio 868. It's possible to output simultaneous signal from component output and hdmi. This is to feed a plasma and a projector.
     
  27. John7

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    Yes, this is exactly how my setup operates - Note though, that RGB from scart) is disabled when Component output is selected. This would only be an issue if you did not have HDMI display and wanted Component to feed say, a projector and RGB to feed TV
     
  28. kocl

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    Thats my problem with pio 757.
     
  29. John Dawson

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    Out of interest I have just had a chat with our DVD player designer about how this kind of dichotomy affects the Arcam DV79.

    The answer is that the DV79 can output video simultaneously from both its HDMI and analogue output ports, provided they are the same type of video, i.e. both 480i, or both 480p, or both 576i, or both 576p. You can even run RGB down the HDMI line for DVI displays whilst outputting component video from the analogue sockets. On interlaced video the composite and s-video outputs will continue to work as well (there are 6 video DACs in the DV79); these outputs will of course be muted if progressive video is chosen.

    HTH.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  30. kocl

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    Can the HDMI output be connected to any DVI input, i heard some probelms, are they addressed?
     

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