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Preliminiary assessment of a Philips DVP9000

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Sigismund, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    It's alive... I mean arrived :cool:

    First of all I disconnected my Panny DVDS97, plugged in the new Philly, connected my AE700 with the Panny's HDMi lead - no lead with the 9000 :( pressed the eject button and popped in DVE. This immediately showed that the player doesn't appear to pass a blacker than black signal - the left hand bar is not visible. Hmmm.

    I set up contrast and colour, ejected DVE and replaced it with Star Wars II: A.O.T.C. Very nice! :) Subjectively, the image appears very similar to that using the Panny.

    Now, when I used the True Life function of the Philips 963 the image suffered from jaggies if I set it to anything above +1. The True Life function on the 9000 doesn't have the same problem - it really makes a difference to the image, giving it a much more 3D look, without causing any immediately apparent artifacts.

    One scene I use to check for macroblocking is the group meeting in AOTC - I think it's chapter 4. The red walls show up macroblocking quite clearly on the Panny. I didn't notice any MB using the 9000, so it does seem to be better in that respect - at least when combined to my AE700.

    The menu system is certainly better than the one used in the 963 - at least the movie continues as the setup menu is accessed. For some reason Black Level - I can't remember exactly what it's called - cannot be chosen?

    DCDi is set to on as a default, unlike the 963.

    As I tinkered with things it soon became clear that the unit isn't free of a few little bugs. For instance, if I chose the Sharpness setting, which comes up as a sliding adjustment, and set it to 2, then moved the slider back to the zero setting and pushed left one more time... the DVD ejected! There is no eject button on the remote. Speaking of the remote, I really like it and it's much better than the 963's, and my initial feeling is that it's pretty much on a par with the Panny's remote, but in a much sleeker body - very much like the DVD player itself.

    To sum up my initial reaction - subjectively, image quality is excellent, although I suspect that when it is put through its paces with my soon to be delivered HQV test disc, it will be beaten by the Panasonic DVDS97.

    Audio wise it's a no contest - this thing is awesome in comparison.

    All in all - so far - I'm very happy. I should say that I believe a DVD player really shows how good an image it can put out not by playing a DVD that has been blessed with an excellent transfer, but rather one that is poor to mediocre. For instance, the Region 3 release of The Bodyguard. When I viewed this on the 963 it looked truly awful - soft and with high levels of video noise. If I was reviewing the DVD I'd have given it a 3 or 4 for picture. Placing it in the Panny completely changed things. Gone was the noise, and now the image looked reasonably sharp! Easily a 6 or 7 out of ten! It's pretty much the same when using the HDMi out on the Philips. It's still clear that the image isn't the best ever, but it no longer looks like poo!

    All in all I'm happy. I now feel like I have a DVD player that satisfies me both image and audio wise. The Panasonic has excellent image combined with mediocre sound. I'd rate the Philips DVD9000 as perhaps not quite as good in the picture department as the Panny, but head and shoulders above it as far as audio is concerned.

    I have my fingers crossed that Philips will come up with a firmware update to iron out the few bugs. :smashin:

    EDIT: Some less enthusiastic thoughts...

    I cannot seem to adjust contrast, colour or brightness using the DVD player's settings. Also, horizontal pans seem jerky... at least on DVE - I haven't had a chance to check this whilst watching a movie.

    There are a number of things that are beginning to bug me a little too much, but hopefully I'll come to terms with the machine before too long. I've got my fingers strenuously crossed that this particular unit isn't faulty...
     
  2. pwood

    pwood
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    Great info thanks :smashin:
    When you say Pannys audio aint as good is that with movies or only when playing music CDs.
     
  3. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    Thanks :)

    Perhaps I should have made that a bit clearer. I find the Panny OK for movies, but it sounds very average to me. The Limit DVD900SE, Philips 963 and 9000 all sound much better; much more dynamic with more separation and a little more detailed.

    I find the Panasonic pretty pants with CDs, although to be fair I haven't played any DVD Audio discs on it - actually, I have; the Elvis 30 No. 1s. From memory it was OK, but again, not up to the Limit's abilities. Which reminds me, I'll have to try out the SACD disc that came with my Sony DVD player on the new Philips - I'm also looking to get the War Of The Worlds SACD, so will let report back. :)

    For me the new Philips is a solid allrounder, that I suspect will be a little "found out" when some serious tests are performed on the video side of things. Subjectively speaking, I think it's superb :clap:
     
  4. Family Guy

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    Looks kind of funky to... :smashin:

    Can I ask where from and how much please...?
     
  5. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    It does look good and is remarkably heavy! The only real area where I think the 963 outperforms the new kid on the block is the DVD loading tray. The 963's was silky smooth and virtually silent - when I didn't fancy watching a movie I just opened and closed the tray for a little enjoyment. ;)

    I bought it from Pixmania. I did a Google search and found a link that gave a 7% discount. A further search gave another discount by using a voucher. On top of that a rather nice young lady immediately offered me free postage when the DVD player wasn't sent out on time, so all in I paid a couple of quid over £200.00. I'm pretty happy with that.
     
  6. tulloch2003

    tulloch2003
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    @Mark Haywood have you tried the hack yet and what did Google search for this 7% thing. Got any nice pics of this looker then :lease:

    Regards Tulloch
     
  7. Ged

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    Mark,
    have you tried holding down the stop button on the remote? I think it may function as an eject button if pressed for a few seconds.
     
  8. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    It's playing my DVDs fine ;)

    I did a search for "Pixmania discount voucher" - there were a couple of sites that gave you a code to get the 7%, but there was one that linked to Pixmania so you got the discount as long as you spent over £200.00. That was the same search that gave up the £10.00 off (or whatever it was) voucher ;)

    Cheers for that, I'll try it later :smashin:
     
  9. tulloch2003

    tulloch2003
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    @Mark Haywood so are you selling your panny then.

    Regards Tulloch :hiya:
     
  10. Family Guy

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    Picture here. Can you tone down those lights?
     
  11. tulloch2003

    tulloch2003
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    No real life picture :D


    Regards Tulloch
     
  12. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    I'll try and take some shots tomorrow and my Panny may very well be up for sale... but I really want to do some more comparisons first. :)

    The lights can be dimmed, but cannot be turned off ;)

    The holding down the stop button works!
     
  13. tulloch2003

    tulloch2003
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    @ Mark Haywood how much you after for the Panny to my door m8.

    Regards Tulloch :hiya:
     
  14. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    I've decided to keep the Panny for a while. Sorry :)
     
  15. tulloch2003

    tulloch2003
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    @Mark Haywood. Ok bummer what you think of the Pioneer DV 575A for pic and sound then :confused:

    Regards Tulloch
     
  16. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    Sorry mate, but needs must ;)

    As for the Pioneer - I would say it depends on what display you're using. I had one connected to a Panasonic AE300 and I didn't think it was all that - my Yamakawa 365 gave a better image.

    In my experience you can't go far wrong with the rating of DVD players by Home Theater Secrets, at least as far as image quality goes. I am immensly impressed with the image using HDMi out on the Panny DVDS97 to my AE700. Secrets also rate the Oppo Digital player highly, as long as you can take advantage of HDMi.

    Personally, I've had me fill of Philips DVD players ;)
     
  17. tulloch2003

    tulloch2003
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    You selling your new Philips then LOL.

    Regards Tulloch
     
  18. Family Guy

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    So - must be time for a marks out of 10 for the Phillips and a comparison score for the S97 then...;)

    Tulloch - you never know, you may end up with an S97 after all now i've had my stitches out...;)
     
  19. tulloch2003

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    @ Family Guy Hope so got a Tosh LCD coming Monday :D got nothing to test it with now bummer :( What did you have done. I had a pin put in once **** life for 3 months :thumbsdow , the morphine was good though :smashin:

    Regards Tulloch
     
  20. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Don't put too much creedence on the HQV 'test disc', you will be much better off with an 'independent' one ;)
     
  21. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    Oh well, more dosh down the drain, then! Actaully, the main reason for me going for the HQV was in the hope that it would be a good way of becomming aquainted with the form of the tests. I supose most, if not all, of these tests, or the equivalent, can be found on Avia or DVE both of which I have. It's just that they can be a bit of a pain to navigate when everything's new - although the amount of times I've used the contrast/brightness/sharpness/colour settings on both these discs makes me wonder now why I ever thought the menu system was daunting!

    Anyway, thanks for the heads up - I'm still looking forward to the HQV disc and even more testing!

    Cheers,

    Mark
     
  22. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    You will learn stuff from it but it is a disc designed to show off a certain chip :)
     
  23. GeoffR

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    Nic
    Whats best for setting up your display then?
    I've used the test screen with my hk 22 but is something like dve or avia a "must have"?

    Geoff
     
  24. dazbug

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    is it true u cant change the colour/contrast on the player.

    anyome know how it would compare to the oppo
     
  25. DarrenH

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    Mark

    Just one question.... Since buying the Philips, have you been able to just sit down and enjoy it or are you still going through the detailed review stage? If you have been able to just watch a film, did you forget it was a Philips 9000S and just manage to appreciate the film?

    Darren
     
  26. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    Hi Darren - the unit is faulty unfortunately, so I didn't get a chance to watch a whole movie :( It seemed to me that it was quite "buggy" - a nice looking machine, with superb sound... but as for the video side of things - I'm still undecided. ;)
     
  27. DarrenH

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    I think Tulloch is getting one soon, and mine should be arriving Tuesday. What fault did you see ... just in case. Also, has it been easy and inexpensive to send it back?

    If I get a 'good' unit I will try to give some feedback.

    Darren
     
  28. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    They've been very helpful in getting things sorted - they will be picking the unit up from me :)

    I'm unsure whether I want a replacement or not :(

    As for the fault - it just locked up and now isn't functioning as it should. Not a good start for me and Philips...

    Fingers crossed yours and Tulloch's will be OK :)
     
  29. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I rec both DVE and AVIA as they do different things, I think they are the best two.
     
  30. Sigismund

    Sigismund
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    Right... I finally got my head around what was going on with the Philips :clap: I've also got my HQV Benchmark DVD through, so I ran through the tests on the Philips and the Panny - here are the results. Both players were connected using an HDMI lead.

    Philips DVP9000 tested at both 480p and 720p

    Test 1 - Colour Bar/Vertical Detail.

    Test consists of colour bars which should be viewed through a blue filter, and progressively finer horizontal and vertical bars.

    Colour was accurately set on my Panasonic AE700 and vertical image detail was excellent at both resolutions. This test scores 10 for excellent detail, 5 if minor flickering is observed and 0 if no image detail is seen i.e. vertical bars disappear and only solid colour remains.

    Score - 10/10 for both resolutions, but vertical resolution is clearly better - sharper and more detailed - when set to 720p.


    Test 2 - Jaggies Pattern 1.

    Test consists of a rotating bar within a circle, with an area marked on the circle between the approximate positions of 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock. If jaggies appear on the rotating bar or circle points are lost.

    Jaggies are not seen until the bar enters the green area and the logo is free of jaggies.

    Score – 5/5. Turning off DCDi or increasing True Life setting to even +1 causes noticeable jaggies.

    Test 3 – Jaggies Pattern 2.

    Test consists of three bars within a circle. The bars continually move from the 2 o’clock position to the 4 o’clock position and back again and ideally should be free of jaggies.

    All three bars have smooth edges at all times.

    Score – 5/5. As before turning off DCDi or increasing True Life setting to even +1 causes noticeable jaggies.

    Test 4 – Waving Flag.

    As the title suggests this test simply consists of an American flag being gently wafted by the wind.

    No jaggies crop up – the image is smooth and clean.

    Score – 10/10. Again, turning off DCDi or adding True Life has negative consequences.

    Test 5 – Picture Detail.

    A simple scene consisting of a curving road with moving vehicles, a bridge and a statue testing for video noise in the sky. The test consists of looking for fine detail on the bridge, grass and statue.

    Top marks.

    Score 10/10. Adding True Life creates moiré patterns along the concrete steps and turning off DCDi showed jaggies in the moving vehicles.

    Tests 6 and 7 – Noise Reduction and Motion Adaptive Noise Reduction.

    The Philips has no Noise Reduction abilities, so scores 0/10 for both tests. By contrast the Panasonic has two methods of reducing video noise – 3D Noise Reduction and Mpeg Noise Reduction.

    Test 8 – 3:2 Detection.

    This test consists of a racing car travelling at speed around a bend on a racetrack. Empty seats make up the background. The car should appear to travel smoothly.

    This is a difficult one to score, as the car definitely appears to “stutter” a little and does not move perfectly smoothly. A moiré pattern shows up across the seats lasting under half a second. The reason I find this difficult to score as the result doesn’t fit exactly into any category.

    Score 5/10.

    Test 9 – Film Cadence.

    The test here consists of a repeating scene of a guy reading a newspaper in a restaurant, with a couple of cups on the bar. Jaggies in the newspaper or shimmering in the cups leads to lost marks. In all there are eight tests here –

    2:2 2:2:2:4 2:3:3:2 3:2:2:2:2 5:5 6:4 8:7 3:2

    Again, I found this difficult to score as I noticed a small amount of shimmering in the cups in all of the tests bar the 3:2 test, which is absolutely stable. The shimmering is very minor and is not accompanied by jaggies in the newspaper.

    Going strictly by the guidelines I would have to score each test a 0/5 apart from the 3:2 test which scores 5/5.

    Totall Score – 5/40

    Test 10 and 11 – Mixed 3:2 Film With Added Video Titles.

    Two tests consisting of vertical and horizontal scrolling text against a moving background.

    No Jaggies or combing in sight and scores top marks in both.

    Score 20/20

    Total Test score…..70/120

    I repeated these tests with the Panasonic, which scored pretty much identically, aside from the two noise tests, which it passed with flying colours. The Panny’s score would therefore be 90/120.

    I was interested in seeing whether the Depth Enhancer feature of the Panasonic had the same kind of effect as the Philips’ True Life adjustment, which caused jaggies and moiré patterning. Jacking Depth Enhancer right up to maximum setting - +4 – had absolutely no effect on any of the tests, so this clearly works differently.

    Other thoughts: It really threw me when I couldn’t adjust Colour, Contrast, Brightness and Sharpness settings on the Philips. The manual states that these adjustments are not adjustable when using component output, but says nothing about HDMI. I originally believed this to be a fault with my player, and it still seems very strange to me, but I’ve read elsewhere that this seems to be how Philips’ sets up these players!

    The usability of these players could not be more different – the Panasonic is reasonably simple and straightforward, once you get to grips with it. The Philips is a strange beast – full of inconsistencies and bugs… press fast forward and then play on the remote and suddenly the DVD stops and is ejected! That gets really annoying when you’re doing these kinds of tests. Going into the player’s menu brings up more bugs, especially when using Digital Video Essentials and Avia. During some tests it’s impossible to enter the menu system, whilst during others the menu simply turns itself off! A couple of hours of this and the Panasonic’s menu seems heavenly by comparison!

    At the end of the day these types of test are useful, but it’s the subjective image quality that really puts these DVD players to the test. In this sense there is very little between the two and if I were to ask my wife to put a DVD that I knew well on one of the players so that I was unaware of which player was being used – I would have no idea which player was being used... unless a particular macroblocking scene that I knew well was chosen - I think the Philips does slightly better here, at least in conjunction with my AE700. This is definitely not the case with my Limit DVDSE900. If this were put in the same test I’d have no difficulty in telling which was which.

    Despite the Philips’ shortcomings I’m tempted to keep it. Hopefully there will be a firmware update to sort a few things out. And the sound quality is pretty darned awesome with this thing.

    If anybody has any questions I’ll do my best to answer them and any suggestions on how to test the unit further, or how to improve things, will be very welcome.
     

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