worth spending much money on dvd players?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by danjos, May 20, 2004.

  1. danjos

    danjos
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    Is there a noticeable difference in movie sound quality - 5.1/dts - between cheap(£50) and more expensive players? same for picture?

    What advantages to expensive dvd players really offer? ive demoed £100 players and £1000 players and i think id be hard pushed to tell the difference.
     
  2. diabolik

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    The difference is evident with a good surround system and a decent large screen. When you say that you have demoed various players what were the various components to the whole system?
    I would agree that a 2000 quid dvd player seems to be exactly the same as an asda 50 quid special on a 50 quid portable. However, if you demoed it on an expensive plasma or projector with a 3000 quid audio setup you'd sure see and hear the difference.
     
  3. danjos

    danjos
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    the demo was on a £3k projector with a pretty impressive audio setup.

    I guess what im asking is that if i get a £50 dvd player that has all the features i require, am i sacrificing much in the way of audio/video quality as opposed to a £200 player ?
     
  4. diabolik

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    did you demo different different machines one after the other in the same system? If so and you couldn't see/hear any difference then go for the cheap option. But you don't need anyone to tell you that surely....
     
  5. danjos

    danjos
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    i wasnt considering buying the £1000 player. I was mainly demoing the projector, i just asked to see it on different players. This post was to get peoples views on whether its worth spending more money on a dvd player, i cannot decide based on a single comparison that i had so was hoping for a wider view. Ideally i would demo all players on my shortlist but as you know its difficult to find shops that stock any of them let alone all of them. As a hifi enthusiast of many years i fully appreciate the diminishing returns gained as more money is spent on equipment, but i would say a £200 cd player would sound very noticeably 'better' than a £50 one, is the same true for dvd players? :)
     
  6. MarkE19

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    IMO Yes! but it is just that, my opinion. I can notice a big difference in both sound & video between a £50 supermarket DVD and my Tosh SD900 which is now an old player and the newer Arcams etc I would think would blow even that out of the water.

    As stated above, it is only worth spending more money if the extra cost is noticeable to you. The only way to find this out is to demo many different players.

    Mark.
     
  7. Zone

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    As we're all aware technology move's on at a pace, particulary in AV and the £50 cheapo players that appear ridiculously cheap now, can probably out perform players that would have cost hundreds a few years ago, in both sonic and video performance.
    The players costing many hundreds now will be outclassed in a year or so by the cheapo players again, but by then you would expect the higher priced players to have moved the goal posts even further..
    Great for the consumer :thumbsup:
     
  8. Jules

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    I don't think there'll be much difference between a £50 cheapie and a £200 player. Mainly because the price difference is probably just down to its place of manufacture... i.e China or Japan.

    However when spending around £1000 or so, you really are starting to pay for better build quality.
    Personally I think most peoples choice between DVD players should be ones costing either £50 or £1000. Mid priced players are probably over priced cheapies with a brand name on it.
     
  9. bobbypunk

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    I have seen many DVD players used on many screens in many setups and although the quality doesn't get better necessarily with price it runs in the right direction. No player I have ever tried has been alot better or alot worse than it's price equivelants.
    The age of a DVD player seems to bear little correlation with the quality.
    A £600 DVD player from the 2nd year of DVD is as good or better than the majority of current £600 players, it plays less, has less features but is built better using more expensive components and is of a higher standard.
    Players are generally seperated like this.
    £50: Poor build quality, cheap video processors, cheap components.
    £100: Reasonable build quality OR Reasonable Video processors OR reasonable components.
    £200: Reasonable build quality, video processors and components.
    £400: Extra functions and Good video processor and components.
    £600: Extra functrions and Good build quality etc...
    and so on...

    This is very generalised. (Also the reliability is generally lower on cheaper machines.)
     
  10. Bassbin

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    I currently use a Toshiba 330 DVD player with a Panny AE200/ Denon 3802 and Paradigm speakers and subs. Overall I think the DVD player is the weakest link but it doesn't disgrace itself. I tried a Yamaha 540 earlier this year but didn't find it any better than the Toshiba. With the new Toshiba and Pioneer prog scan players about to hit the streets at under £70 I might try one of those but I don't think I'd buy the more expensive models (I'm talking the £70-200 price range) from those brands as they seem to have almost the same spec but as already mentioned just add more spec. The Toshiba 240 seems almost identical to the 340 but the lacks an optical output. Im sure the next model or two are also similar but probably add 5.1 decoders and DVD Audio. I'm quite happy spending £50-120 on any player that catches my eye as they can all be sold on for almost the new price anyway.
     
  11. Mungo

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    I just replaced my Toshiba 220 (£99 from Amazon a couple of years back) with a Denon 2200 (£525) and the difference is very noticeable. The picture is much much sharper and the colours rich and vibrant (using the same settings on the TV of course). Watching the first few chapters of The Two Towers last night the hair on the hobbits' heads seemed almost real when they were climbing the rocks. I was quite happy with the Toshiba until it stopped playing my US discs, now having spent more money I can see what I was missing.

    The reasons I went for the Denon rather than another cheaper model were:
    1. It has component video connections (which my Toshiba had but many don't) which my TV has also
    2. It is capable of sending a progressive signal (which my TV can accept also)
    3. It can play DVD-audio and SACD so I wanted an element of future proofing on new formats
    4. The build quality is excellent- larger and heavier it just feels more robust
    5. A couple of magazines I bought confirmed my own view and rated it very highly

    It is generally true that you get what you pay for. There is a law of diminishing returns but I firmly believe that you should buy the best you can afford. As you have said you like Hi fi you probably already know that there is a point at which extra money buys you only small incremental improvement. I reckon arpund £500-600 is that point for DVD players.

    Your £50 player will probably do a reasonable job but may not have the connections, build quality, compatibility or any future proofing and you may find that it does not play other forms (eg DVD-R, DVD+R) consistently. And you will always wonder about the picture quality.

    Cheap does not always mean better value.
     
  12. buns

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    My experience definitely tells me that there are very noticeable gains to be had by having a 'good' expensive player as compared to a bog standard. This needs backed up by the statement that this will be totally dependent upon associated hardware (as said by another poster).

    Anyone who cant hear the difference between a £50 beko from tescos and a £1000 ish arcam is just not listening to the right things or doesnt have the ablity to do so. If you are using the speakers in your tv, im sorry but you cant expect to be hearing differences, they are just awful (universally so). Similarly, if your display is a 14 inch portable,the picture will be so small as to mask any potential picture problems and you wont notice if a player isnt doing things right. And trust me, som players dont do things right. When you blow up a picture to big scale, even expensive players can look a bit rough, with a cheapy it becomes ridiculously clear why it is cheap.

    So the story is that you buy what suits your setup. Keep it balanced otherwise at some point you are wasting money

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  13. bonzobanana

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    I'm not convinced the performance of a player is down mainly to price. Even the excellent Arcams use chipsets which aren't particulary expensive and can be found in cheaper players. There are some frighteningly bad dvd players at the bottom end of the pricing but also some gems. Take the Denon 700 which to many is a quality dvd player and a step up from the budget end but in fact its circuitry is of the very cheapest standard and its video and audio jitter ratings (critical timing) are very bad and yet many magazines have given it high reviews.

    One point I think is important though is perversely cheaper dvd players do high quality output signals better than lower quality signals. What I mean to say is if you buy a cheap zoran based player and use it for component output the actual component signal is generated by the dvd decoder/video encoder chip itslef and the lower quality components fitted to a cheap player aren't really involved in the process of outputting. However the same player producing a s-video signal would do more of the work in external circuitry to the main decoding chips so effectively it does component better and it would compare well to more expensive players. Composite for example is often a lot worse from a chinese cheapie than a high quality upmarket player.
     
  14. danjos

    danjos
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    Thanks for all your replies, have yourselves a beer on me :beer:

    Im gonna try a cheapie and see what i think. Worst case scenario is i'll end up with a £40 player relegated to the bedroom :)
     
  15. roversd1

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    Hi Guys

    Technology may be moving at a pace that can part ones hair, but if that technology isnt implimented correctly, it is all for nothing.

    The best way to find out how good your DVD (and processor) player is for Audio, is to listen to the electronics:


    :lesson:

    Now this may seem complicated, but it works.

    First, remove any disks and switch the DVD player off and just whack the volume right up on your processor and listen to the background 'hiss' - is it loud? Is it 'bitty' / scratchy sounding?

    Now turn the processor volume down to a lower level and switch the DVD player on - do you hear any pops and clicks?

    With the player on, but with no disk, whack the processor volume right up again - what do you hear? Is any 'hiss' louder?

    Following the above, you will easily be able to judge for yourself whether equipment is up to scratch and meets the needs of performance/ value for money

    Remember, any backround noise generated by the elctronics will be there when a tense quite moment comes up in a film and you do not want this to disturb you! Especially, late a night/ sensitive speakers and so on.


    THere are processor and players out there that hiss like a bastardo!
     
  16. bonzobanana

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    I don't think thats a good test for people using a their dvd players with a projector and who only use the digital outputs for audio.

    I personally think jitter results both for audio and video are important as it shows the timing of the player and timing is critical to a dvd player in creating accurate audio and video signals. Poor timing causes loss of information and detail. Poor timing is caused by poor quality components, cheap timing crystals, poorly regulated psus etc. It doesn't represent performance overall but does represent I think design and build quality and with poor jitter ratings you don't stand a chance of getting good performance overall.

    Some dvd player results

    Top end performance for video jitter being 5 or less and very high quality audio jitter being less than 300. Higher figures are worse.


    Denon 700 £200 video jitter 32ns/Audio jitter 728.6ps
    Yamaha 540 £150 video jitter 5ns/Audio jitter 1572ps
    Toshiba 330 £80 video jitter 6ns/Audio 2125ps
    Thomson(LG) DTH460 £150 video jitter 2ns/audio jitter 188ps
    Thomson DTH231U £80 video jitter 4ns/audio jitter 378ps
    Cyberhome CH400 £50 video jitter 8ns/audio jitter 2692ps
    TAG MCLAREN DVD32FLR £3000 video jitter 3ns/audio jitter (unmeasurable)
    Sony DVP-NS930V £230 video jitter 3ns/audio jitter 174ps
    Sanyo DVD-SL22 £90 video jitter 3ns/audio jitter 3063ps
    Rocsan Caspian £1200 video jitter 3ns/audio jitter 406ps
    Pioneer 360 £80 video jitter 3ns/audio jitter 177ps
    Panasonic S75 £120 video jitter 11ns/audio jitter 381ps
    Cyrus DVD8 £1500 video jitter 5ns/audio jitter 217ps
    Arcam DV27A £1800 video jitter 3ns/audio jitter 184ps
    AMW P80L/Ronin P80H £40 video jitter 7ns/audio jitter 7402ps

    I would have liked to have put a few more figures in but a lot of the budget models are not extensively tested when reviewed and LG and Samsung don't seem to get reviewed very often. I was going to make the case that LG was one of the better low cost dvd manufacturers but its hard to do as I can't find the info. However the Thomson 460 is made by LG.
     
  17. buns

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    I would worry a bit about 'listening to the electronics'...... by that same token, alot of very high end amps would be considered very crap......

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  18. Zone

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  19. Wazy

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    Hi all,

    I have just had the opportunity to demo the brand new Toshiba SD240e on a Pioneer plasma, and I must say for £70 (if you shop around ;)) its superb. Progressive PAL / NTSC and Multiregion as well!!!

    We compared the image and audio to that of more expensive players (£200-£500), Denon and Pioneer mainly and I thought the picture was fairly equal if not better than some of these. The only expensive player that seemed to stand out as being 'worth the money' for me was an Arcam model which had amazing audio, much more detail and clarity, but we were talking £800 odd :eek:

    Some people seem to think that if spending £2000-3000 on their plasma or large display means they ought to spend around £500+ on a quality dvd player to make the most of it. I'm personally thinking this is not the case anymore as this player really impressed me for the price.

    I was ready to spend 500 quid, but I'm glad I waited a while, I am definately considering this Tosh, but I really want to demo a few more first including the new Pioneer 370 which is also around the budget price range :)

    All I can say is make sure you demo a few before you buy yourself :smashin:
     
  20. roversd1

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    All I am saying is that the noise generated by the elctronics shouldnt interfere with listening.

    Good video performance is easy to spot in a side by side comparison but as soon as you are asked 'does it sound better?', the whole debate goes off with a bang as everyone tries to get their own opinion in. :rolleyes:
     
  21. mattrixdesign

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    Picture quality on DVD players vary, thats not to say the more expensive the better! I have a Toshiba from Amazon (for £70) which IMO is better quality than a £50 player from Asda etc.

    I am not sure about sound though, if you are using a digital amp I can't see how sound quality can vary, the out is in "1s" and "0s" so its up to the amp to convert this to good quality sound. If this is correct (I may be wrong :blush: ) the sound on a £50 cheapo will be the same as a £1000 bling player. This would not apply to analgue output though.
     
  22. roversd1

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    if its badly implimented, you will get jitter and background hiss.

    cheap stuff sounds 'harsh' or edgy to some
     
  23. diabolik

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    Sorry, but this isn't correct. There are numerous aspects to the way the digital information is read and transmitted before digital-auido conversion takes place (wherever that is) that play a large role in the overall sound quality. The transport and laser pickup for example.
     
  24. buns

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    I have spent £2500 on a display and nearly £3k on dvd player and scaler.... if you havent tried such a solution there is a good chance you wont think it is worth it. If you have and still think that the cheap player is still acceptable, you are amongst a really small minority.

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  25. alancolledge

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    That's why I am never coming round your house!! :D ;)
     
  26. Wazy

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    I have actually seen the results of such a dvd/scaler solution and yes the result is fantastic, but my response was really to point out (and indeed to answer the initial question in the thread) that certain DVD players, especially the new ranges this year at budget level are really starting to come close to mid range priced players. Demo them for yourself :)

    NO. I am not amongst a minority, I think that the 'majority' of people who spend £2500 on their plasma display wont spend over 500-600 quid on a DVD player.

    I was merely stating that I have personally 'in my own view' seen players that compete with £500 ones at £70-100. Which can only be a good thing to those on a limited budget wondering whether or not to blow 500 squid!!!
     
  27. bobbypunk

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    The Yamaha DVDS540 is a very basic DVD player with a slightly better build quality but it's only major advantage is progressive scan
    This is a feature that is affected by the quality of the video processor so at the price it sells for I wouldn't expect a massive improvement.
     
  28. buns

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    apologies if i came across in any kind of derrogatory manore there..... not my intention :)

    I wont disagree that budget players are now alot better than what they used to be. The likes of the toshiba 330 is really good and probably isnt that embarrassed by a £300 player.

    And as for a minority, I meant a minority who have actually done the comparison of a cheap and expensive solution.... I will agree again that the majority of plasma owners will use bog standard sources, but I think this is on the whole down to a lack of appreciation of the display (not really surprising).

    The whole thing is subjective though.... all it takes is one badly setup element in a chain and you wont see a difference. Of course there is also the factor that you may not see where the improvement is until someone points it out....

    all the best

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  29. Fat Tony

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    That's good news from my point of view, as I'm just about to splash on the works (plasma, receiver, dvd, speakers & cables), so anything I can save on the dvd would go into the cables or my pocket! I'm in the category of those who thought/have been advised to spend c. £500 on a dvd player to keep pace with the £2k being spent on the plasma.

    Can you please post or let me know what you think about the the Pioneer 370 vs the Tosh SD240E vs anything else at this price range - any help appreciated. :smashin:
     
  30. buns

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    if you want to spend a small amount on a dvd player for use with a plasma, now isnt the ideal time to do it..... there are a whole load of HDMI equipped players just around the corner and these have the potential to make your money go a whole load further if your plasma can *properly* handle the hdmi(or dvi).....

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