Pioneer 668 help with DVI/HDMI please!

snowy2004

Active Member
Hi all,

I think I have finally narrowed my choice down to the Pioneer 668 (which a local retailler is offering me at £500). I have the following questions and wondered if any of you guys (and gals) have the answers please ??? :

1. Is the Pioneer 668 a good player ??

2. The Pioneer sports an HDMI output and my TV (Samsun 43 LCDRP) sports a DVI input - I have ascertained they are compatible (The DVI supports HDCP which the Pionner HDMI needs). My question is: Will the DVI input offer better quality than the Component Video Progressive Scan input??? I am assuming the Progressive Scan is irrelevant with DVI ? Am I correct ?

3. Does anybody know a uk supplier for HDMI-DVI cables/adaptors.

4. Would I get a better quality picture by building an HTPC instead of the 668 - Tech knowledge is no problem and budget is not an issue ! help !

Thanks in advance
 

KraGorn

Novice Member
Be warned, not all HDMI players work with all DVI+HDCP displays ... the 868 and Denon A11 for example are reported not to work with some projectors (they fail with diferent projectors), so just because the standard says they should work doesn't mean they will. :(

An HTPC will probably produce a better picture than the 668 if you need the image re-scaling from DVD size to display size, this is because PCs with the right video card scale video better than many scalers built in to displays .. obviously this depends on the display device in question.
 

snowy2004

Active Member
Hmmmm... After raiding the spare parts bin I have a P4-2Ghz Processor handy, 1Gb of DDR RAM and a Gigabyte Motherboard. Couple of HDD's but thinkI would rather buy a nice new quiet one! I take it a P4-2Ghz would suffice ? Anybody got any ideas on which graphics card I should buy. Uses of the HTPC would be as follows in order of priority (top to bottom) - Money is no object BTW.

1. Playing DVD movies
2. Playing DivX
3. Playing Games 3D FPS
4. Surfing the NET

ALSO : My TV has a Standard VGA D-SUB connector as well as a DVI connector - Would I get better quality from an HTPC from the VGA rather than the DVI ?
 

Paul D

Well-known Member
I have the Pioneer 868i working with a Marantz S3 DLP projector.

The picture via the 868is DVI(HDMI)output is technically better than the component feed. The picture is smoother and has no video noise.
The AVIA test pattern are rendered to almost total perfection. The sharpness patterns have never looked as perfect, with the high frequency bars showing no shifting.
More actual detail is on offer via DVI, yet the picture seems slightly softer and less "3D".
I actually prefer the components picture(at the moment!), but i'm sure this is just a setup/calibration issue.

I intend to explore why this is over the next few weeks.

The component signal out of the Pioneer is very good start with. It has a very good Mpeg decoder which feeds high end video DACs.(14 bit 214mhz)
I then use Bandbridge 10m component leads to the S3.
The S3 uses Faroudja DCDi DVD optimised component inputs.
This method seems to extract the maximum amount of detail without excessive ringing or noise etc.
I think the Faroudja edge detection enhancement is what's making the picture look more detailed. Ie there isn't any more "actual" detail, but edges/features are exaggerated so stand out more.

I would imagine those people who have said DVI(HDMI) versus component was much better, may have had a poorer component feed to start with. (Bravo/Momitsu/Samsung etc)
I will be interesting over the next few months as more people get the chance to try DVI(HDMI), and see what they think.

I can totally recommend BetterCables Dislplay Magic DVI/HDMI cables.
They are about £38 for the 1m HDMI to DVI lead, rising to about £150 for the 9m DVI-DVI.
I haven't seen a single sparkly or astroid, and the HDCP signal locks straight away.
I ordered mine from Joe at the Media Factory, who's just got his shipment through.
www.tmfsolutions.co.uk
 

KraGorn

Novice Member
Originally posted by fulabeer
I would imagine those people who have said DVI(HDMI) versus component was much better, may have had a poorer component feed to start with. (Bravo/Momitsu/Samsung etc)
Being one of those people :) ... in my case I'm feeding a Z2 from a V880, meaning 1280x720, and thus can feed it native using DVI but component needs scaling. IMHO it's that more than anything else that means using the DVI produces a seriously better image. If it were possible to get a DVD player to output scaled 720p via component into a projector that could handle that the comparison would produce closer results I have no doubt, of course many (most?) don't accept 720p other than via DVI.
 

gmt steve

Active Member
It has a very good Mpeg decoder which feeds high end video DACs.(14 bit 214mhz)

Are you sure about that? The Pioneer website says it has 12 bit and also says it has 14 bit. Since it shares the same basic parts as the 668 and that is only stated as having 12 bit then it looks likley that the 868 is 12 bit. I would love to be proven wrong, but fear not.
Also I'm not sure the MPEG board is anything special, the 868 is pioneers newest player and the flagship at that and yet it still has the CUE.:mad:
 

Paul D

Well-known Member
Hi Steve
Where have you seen or read the 868i has the CUE?
I haven't seen it in either progressive or interlaced modes.
I believe there is another decoder error which Mpeg decoder have that people can mistake for CUE etc.
The 868i is 14bit 214mhz DACs as far i know.

Specs aside, i have done back to back viewing with my HTPC using TheaterTek and the 868i via component and HDMI-DVI. Component looks better to me, so i rate the 868i as very good.
I live in Manchester, and you are more than welcome to come see what i mean...:smashin:
 

Messiah

Well-known Member
I can also add that this afternoon I demoed my S3 to Hornydragon and we both came to the conclusion that an interlaced component feed from my (rather old now) Toshiba SD900E was far better than a DVI feed from my HTPC using Theatertek.

Surprised me for sure cos using the set up discs (AVIA, Monsters Inc THX setup, etc) the HTPC via DVI shows far better (and I mean way better) clarity, sharpness and colour and detail separation than the component feed yet on real world stuff (Pirates of the Caribbean) the component feed was much better (to the eye).

Don't think I'll be forking out for a new DVI player anytime soon :)
 

gmt steve

Active Member
Originally posted by fulabeer
Hi Steve
Where have you seen or read the 868i has the CUE?
I haven't seen it in either progressive or interlaced modes.
I believe there is another decoder error which Mpeg decoder have that people can mistake for CUE etc.
The 868i is 14bit 214mhz DACs as far i know.

Specs aside, i have done back to back viewing with my HTPC using TheaterTek and the 868i via component and HDMI-DVI. Component looks better to me, so i rate the 868i as very good.
I live in Manchester, and you are more than welcome to come see what i mean...:smashin:

Sorry if it looks that way, but I'm not for a minute saying you're wrong Mate. I would love to know for myself whether or not it's a 14 bit. Check out the Pioneer website, in one place it says 12 bit, in another 14 bit.:confused:
I haven't read anywhere about the CUE, I can see it! The iScan Ultra has a CUE filter and when switched on, there is a definite change.
I haven't heard about another decoder error, can you provide any more details?
 

gandley

Well-known Member
there are 3 types of cue. thing is fulabeer the s3 has a chroma filter in its faroudja chipset.
if it hadnt Messiah would be weeping over the problem with the tosh 900e. as that has one of the worse cue bugs examples out there.

also for spec i found this

PureCinema Progressive Scan (3:2 Pulldown) on PAL/NTSC 14/12-bit 216MHz Video Signal DAC for high-quality DVD.

this impliess its variable but i cant see that, but maybe.

snowy if your gonna build a htpc and good games machine go for this spec

intel 3.0mhz 800fsb cpu.(northwood core not presscott.)
use a canterwood 875 chipset.(abit ic7-max3 is ideal as has gigabyte ethernet connector for broadband)
1gig mem
ATI 9000xt graphics card.
zalman all copper cooler(as it is very quiet)
if you can afford too. wang old hard drives and get some nice quick SATA drives as these help pereformance.(as long as motherboard can take sata cables

this is a bare min spec to run Doom3 Halflife 2 at a good frame rate. any less will be poop.
2ghz is just too slow now

also vga is analog, so is a tiny bit inferior to dvi but only just
dvi only excepts progressive scan. so it still applies as per your original questions
 

Paul D

Well-known Member
Hi Steve
The invitation wasn't a "prove you wrong" offer, rather a friendly "come see what you think" etc.
Since you live local, i thought two pairs of eye would be better than one!:)
I seem to learn something new every day in this hobby, and i am beginning to assume nothing until i have seen it myself!:D

I like others are finding out, that the S3 seems to perform a little magic with the component feed. Meaning HDMI/DVI isn't as superior as first thought.

Lesson learnt this week?
Test patterns do not tell you how good a picture will look, rather they just reveal technical strengths and weaknesses.

HDMI/DVI passed all the technical tests, yet i prefered the analogue image.
HD via HDMI/DVI might be a different story though!

Snowy,
I hope to try my HTPC later on today via DVI. I've had issues with my Radeon 9600 that have prevented me trying.
I will post back as soon as i know.

Gandley,
I've only just started using the Faroudja de-interlacing, as i have just been using the 868i in progressive mode.
I assume the Faroudja chipset is bypassed if fed progressive, so i should have seen any CUE.
If it does in fact suffer CUE, then i musn't be sensitive to it!
Any news on your S3?
I would love a review of the A11 via DVI versus Component.
Maybe the A11 will be better via DVI into the S3, because as you may have read, i wasn't overly impressed.
 

Dobieman

Active Member
Morning!

I have been experimenting with output from my A11 both DVI and component and would concur that test patterns are rendered perfectly using the digital feed. I also prefer the DVI connection for films. It's interesting that theoretical hypotheses don't always translate to a universal acceptance of any given methodology and that human individuality remains so intrinsically demonstrable. While it should prove that the cleanest signal from disc to light would provide the best image this is not always the case.

Makes this game all the more fascinating!

Gandley - good choice on HTPC matey - never did like those Athlons!

Fulabeer - fantastic cinema room - what a credit to you and inspiration to what can be achieved with vision, hard work and lots of money! Do you have two A/V rooms (red and white)? I see you have plasma and PJ - your house must be a mansion!

Darren
 

gmt steve

Active Member
The invitation wasn't a "prove you wrong" offer, rather a friendly "come see what you think" etc.

No no, I didn't think it did, it's so difficult to convey the subtleties of the spoken word in writing sometimes. I'm like you mate, trying to find out as much as I can, especially about gear I actually own.

I very confused about the 12/14 bit thing and can only think that maybe as gandley says, it's variable; 14 for progressive, 12 for interlaced maybe?
The test I use for CUE these days is the menu screens on DVE, the text is deep red and through the 868 the text is very streaked, whereas via the iScan (with CUE filter on) the text is clean.
 

gandley

Well-known Member
could be then that the pioneer deinterlacing has a slight filter as well.
meaning its only noticeable in interlaced mode sent to a none filter chipset.(thats if gmt dosent see it if the pioneer does the deinterlacing but i gather if u switch of the iscan the dvd player will be in interlaced mode and this would explain y fulabeer dosent see it)

the A11 also has chroma bug error in interlaced mode, they use the faroudja chipset to filter. kinda sucky as ive seen cheap £50 decks with no cue problem.
 

Paul D

Well-known Member
Thanks Darren!:smashin:

However i'm a signalman on the railway, and far from rich!

I do have a converted bedroom made into a cinema room.
I did all the work myself, and the conversion excluding equipment was about £2000.(lighting/carpets/furniture etc)
It took me about three months between shifts.
I started with four newly plastered blank walls.
Everything thing in the room was made from ten sheets of MDF.
Over the last three years i spent about £5000 the Barco 808s/Scaler/Amp etc.
I have haggled like mad to keep costs reasonable, and don't go for very high end stuff.
The plasma is in the frontroom, and again it was a DIY conversion.
My house is only a three bedroom semi, not a mansion!:D

I have just spent a fair amount on my new DLP projector, and can assure you it will be a while before i can afford anymore kit!

In fact the wifes asking when we can have new windows, but i've told her we need a new screen first!:devil:
Boy did i run after saying that!
 

gmt steve

Active Member
Just to muddy the waters further, the US Pioneer website lists the US version of the 868 as having 14 bit depth; no mention of 12 bit at all.
 

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