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  1. #1
    AR Veteran Registered Member
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    Good DVD Player for $200.00

    I'm in the market for a good DVD player that has HDMI and optical outputs for around 200.00. Is there such an animal?

  2. #2
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    Yes, Samsung HD941

  3. #3
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Without reserve

    I'd second that
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  4. #4
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    I hate to be Dr. Doom (well, not really, because the info might be helpful), but I'd be careful about buying the Samsung HD-941. The buzz about this unit before it emerged was hot and heavy, primarily because it was to be the first upconverting HDMI player with both SACD and DVD-A to come out of the chute at an affordable price. Morevover, in addition to the usual 720p and 1080i upconversion, it also boasted a setting of 1024x768, a great potential help for owners of plasmas with poor internal scaling/deinterlacing of their own. The promise, however, was not kept for many people. The immediate complaints about the player ranged from periodic green flashes, to loss of settings when powered down, lip-sync problems, audio dropouts, inopportune screen messages ("HDMI audio not supported") requiring constant visits to the menu, poor remote, poor build quality, inability to pass blacker than black (at least in some settings), and--most seriously--loss of black and white detail (aka black/white crush). The last problem, which was the deal breaker for the player's predecessor, may have concerned only HDMI output to a DVI display (for reasons that I won't detail here), but I can't confirm because I lost interest before more testing had been done. Samsung issued firmware updates that, last I heard, did not deal with the player's known flaws. But, again, more definitive answers may be available at this point. Anyone interested in this player should do a little more research before pulling the trigger.

    Good HDMI alternatives to this player, despite relatively minor glitches of their own, were the Panasonic S97, the Bravo D2, the Denon 1910 (a little more expensive), the Sony, and their successors, including the well-reviewed Chinese Oppo deck, which might just be the best buy of all. The main drawback to these players is their lack of SACD and/or DVD-A playback, but interested parties would do well to check out their respective profiles at sites like Secrets of Home Theater or the AVS forums. At this stage of the old technology, there's no need to settle for any "universal" DVD player that has any hint of quality-control trouble or doesn't reach a level of performance without obvious, distracting flaws.

    Ed

  5. #5
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    While I can honestly say that I have never experienced any of these issues, I will defer to ed's wealth of practical knowledge. I must have been one of the lucky ones. Perhaps the ultimate lesson in this thread is "never buy anything without a warranty"...

    Cheers and happy hunting
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  6. #6
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Bobsticks,

    I appreciate the gesture, but no need for you to defer. If you've had good luck with this player, that's a good thing. I've always contended that people's evaluation of particular audio/video components is partly a function of their exposure to the kinds of performance areas that can vary from player to player, and from context to context. To some people, flaws like macroblocking, CUE, or poor black detail can be incontrovertible stumbling blocks, whereas to others, they may go totally unnoticed. To some people, nothing short of an outright breakdown will count as a strike against a component; to others, a badly laid-out remote is grounds for divorce.

    We lived a long time with an NTSC broadcast system that was riddled with artifacts that only now have become visible, after the advent of digital systems that can eliminate them (while introducing a few of their own). Often people at sites like this one are looking to raise their consciousness about what constitutes a well-designed product, if it isn't already raised. That's part of the fun, and the justice, of discussing issues and trying to maximize experience. But nothing that someone has bought and loves should be diminished because of what anyone else (like me) may have to suggest about it, though early opinions can certainly be revised. We learn as we go--all of us. All of the flags that I raised with the Samsung were reported by users. Whether anyone in particular suffered from, noticed, or even cared about any of them is another matter altogether, for all of the reasons given above. But the possibility of their occurrence may be enough to give prospective buyers pause.

    Ed

  7. #7
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Hey ed

    Kind words to be sure but, in my eyes, my equipment had not been devalued. I actually have three versions of the Samsung upconverters--the HD841,HD931, and HD941. I bought them early last year at a point when I wasn't sure to what extent if any I wanted to take this hobby. All have performed flawlessly, although I have seen deeper blacks from some higher end units. The inclusion of SACD/DVDA was paramount for me as I am more on the music end of this hobby.
    All that said, it sounds as if there have been a variety of issues with this player, and while I have a background in music, I do not have a background in technology. In the end, robotec has a couple different viewpoints from which to draw and continue his investigations. Most valuable I'd say.

    Cheers to ya

    As an aside: Is the Panny S97 still even in production?
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  8. #8
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    No, the Panny is gone, but it was contemporary with the 941, I think, and a pretty good'un, too.

  9. #9
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    The panasonic dvd-s77 is a well reviewed highly regarded upconverting player, me and a friend own this unit and we both like it quite a bit. Does its job for both audio and video, & comes with an HDMI cable. Definitely worth a look. MSRP is ~ $250 but it can be had for less. My friend and i both find that it looks best in 720p rather than 1080i (not sure why, but thats the way the cookie crumbled).

    Wayne

  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    I like the Panasonic dvd-s77 better than the Sony or the Samsung and Denon. Better picture quality and the only one with the Faroudja chip in this price range as far as I know. I sell it for $250 Canadian so you should be able to get it for $200.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Sony uses proprietary video processing. The Denon and Samungs mentioned used Faroudja chips, though that fact alone wouldn't guarantee the same performance as Panasonic.

  13. #13
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    Panasonic DVD Recorder/Player model #DMR-ES15S

    Does anyone have any feedback on this one?

  14. #14
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    If the person is looking for a player for $200 ...chances are that some of the issues mentioned on this page pertaining to the the Samsung HD941 are not necessarily that big of a deal.

  15. #15
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    How about looking at the Oppo Digital? Their non-universal player scored the highest over models like the Denon 5910 and 3910. Oppo Digital has a universal player with the HDMI cable for only $149. Here is the link:

    http://www.oppodigital.com/dv970hd/dv970hd.html

    Good luck with your search.

    Slbenz

  16. #16
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Slbenz,

    He did.

    To SuperP,

    People sometimes buy far more expensive units, knowing full well that they have flaws that other units, even less expensive ones, might not have. Depending on the scenario, these people are, for better or worse, either brand-loyal, stubborn, or simply willing to make certain compromises to get something else more important to them. So be it. A preference at a lower price point may have similar reasons. However, why buy a $200 DVD player with known quirks and a checkered history when several other $200 units like the Oppo, in these waning days of S-DVD technology, are largely free from defects associated with the Samsung? Someone may have a good answer, a bad answer, or no answer at all and still pull the trigger, but (no disrespect intended to any Samsung owners who are happy with their purchases) the question should stand.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by edtyct
    Slbenz,

    He did.

    To SuperP,

    People sometimes buy far more expensive units, knowing full well that they have flaws that other units, even less expensive ones, might not have. Depending on the scenario, these people are, for better or worse, either brand-loyal, stubborn, or simply willing to make certain compromises to get something else more important to them. So be it. A preference at a lower price point may have similar reasons. However, why buy a $200 DVD player with known quirks and a checkered history when several other $200 units like the Oppo, in these waning days of S-DVD technology, are largely free from defects associated with the Samsung? Someone may have a good answer, a bad answer, or no answer at all and still pull the trigger, but (no disrespect intended to any Samsung owners who are happy with their purchases) the question should stand.

    Well, I just picked up the Oppo Digital DV-970HD today to replace a fully modded Pioneer 563a where the video card was crapping out. My short use of the player so far is positive. The video is easy to upscale the image which looks great on my 52" DLP projector. Sound is 2 or multi-channel surprisingly is very good. Better than my Sony CD player with a presentation that is not harsh and "digital" in sound. Actually seems easier on the ears that my modded unit. Will give a more detailed report when I have more time to use the player.

    Slbenz

  18. #18
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    Okay, this question has probably been asked a zillion times before, so what's one more time gonna hurt? I'm looking at getting a new dvd player. Do I need upconversion, and will it make a difference on my Toshiba 51h84 rear projection hdtv? There are so many inexpensive hdmi models out there now. I just want the best possible picture until the format wars between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are settled.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Hi Defshep,

    The exasperating answer is that you can't tell whether any particular DVD player, or its output, will improve the picture until you try it (or until someone you trust in a similar position gives you a heads up). But you can play the odds. The biggest reason for HDMI's existence is to deliver content with digital copy protection. It just so happens that HDMI (or DVI) has potential advantages for video performance as well. One of them is to permit video feeds that do not have to undergo, or ostensiby undergo, D/A conversion--between, say, a DVD player and a microdisplay (LCD, DLP, LCoS, plasma); the conversion from analog (component) to a digital display will usually result in some degree of signal degradation. In theory, digital to digital is the least contaminted form of feed. Whether the actual result via HDMI visibly improves what component can accomplish is another matter. Sometimes it does; sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it's worse. The amount of time, effort, and expense that the degree of difference, or its potential, is worth to anyone is a subjective matter.

    The second benefit of digital transmission is upconversion, which manufacturers have agreed not to permit via component. Upconversion lets external devices like DVD players scale (and deinterlace) 480 material to a format associated with high definition (mainly 720p and 1080i). This scaled material is not true high definition; it is simply created wholecloth by interpolation of the already existing data to match, or approximate, the pixel count on the targeted digital display (LCD, DLP, LCoS, plasma). The most successful upconversion matches exactly the native resolution of a display--for example, a 720p upconversion to a 720p TV. If a TV has a native resolution of 768p and a DVD player scales only to 720p, the upconversion may not be so successful, since the TV will still have to fill in some blanks by itself.

    The important thing to remember is that microdisplays do complete upconversions on their own unless an external device beats them to it; they have to do so to show any picture at all. It's just that external devices often can do the job better. The question is whether any particular instantiation will make a noticeable difference, if it makes any difference at all. See the end of my first paragraph.

    Notice that the operative term for TVs in this post has been "microdispay" (or "fixed-pixel" display). These are the sets that stand to gain the most from HDMI transmission. CRTs (like your Toshiba) are, for all intents and purposes, analog displays that cannot avoid an ultimate D/A conversion via HDMI, thereby negating one of HDMI's reputed benefits. CRTs do not have a fixed number of pixels that need to be activated in order to show an image. They can display 480 pure and simple, as well as 1080i pure and simple; no upscaling need apply. So the odds are against a CRT's picture improving via digital connection, though, again, you'd have to verify by experience, since execution counts for something. Nor does a standard DVD player need the copy protection (HDCP) that HDMI and DVI provide to protect against piracy; component feeds will work fine in the standard-definition setting until we move in earnest into hi def disks and the threat of the dreaded ICT, which could prohibit hi def over component. That, however, is a matter for the brave new world of the future.

    Ed

  20. #20
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    Thanks Ed. Very thorough answer. Your wealth of knowledge (and ability to explain it to mere mortals) never ceases to amaze!

  21. #21
    His and Her Room! westcott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wayner86
    The panasonic dvd-s77 is a well reviewed highly regarded upconverting player, me and a friend own this unit and we both like it quite a bit. Does its job for both audio and video, & comes with an HDMI cable. Definitely worth a look. MSRP is ~ $250 but it can be had for less. My friend and i both find that it looks best in 720p rather than 1080i (not sure why, but thats the way the cookie crumbled).

    Wayne
    If you want HDMI support, the only real choice at this price point is the Panasonic 97 or 77. It beats the video performance of all the other players at this price point.

    Samsung is okay but not in the same class unfortunately.

    The other advantages of HDMI is higher RGB bit rates that can help eliminate contouring artifacts found on some digital displays. Not to mention possible audio connection simplicity.

  22. #22
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    What is going on in here. Pls just give me straight answer what to buy under $200.

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