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HT Q&A: What's the best Blu-ray player?
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ecrabb
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PostLink    Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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WanMan wrote:
The player in and of itself is not the total of responsibility in the end result being seen by the eyes of the viewer. I guess for those eyes viewing the comparison, the LG might have been better on one individual's setup, but applying this beyond that point would need further observations.


Exactly, Wan... You made the point I was trying to make in part of my very long-winded post: That the results of Dave's comparison of the PS3 to the LG player is truly only valid for the revisions of software/firmware in use at the time, the resolution he chose, etc.

The results are also a little tough to trust completely specially since he didn't really have two copies of any of the BD's that he could quickly switch back and forth to compare more objectively. That it simply "looked better" doesn't cut it for me, regardless of whether two or 10 objective viewers also thought so. A sample of 3? 5?

How about the well-known phenomena of comparing two identical audio configurations... If one is simply slightly louder than the other, most people will pick it as the "better" - which is why variables have to be so closely controlled when making objective comparisons.

Dave clearly admits that other than both sources being "calibrated", there was very little scientific about the comparison. That's very telling, IMHO. I'm not saying it's any sort of indictment of Dave or his methodology - I'm just saying you can only trust a casual/non-scientific comparison so far - and for me, that's not very far. Again, no disrepect to Dave, of course.

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Person99



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PostLink    Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecrabb wrote:
*I* didn't say I couldn't believe the PS3 wasn't the best BD player. I do, however find it a little hard to believe that a $200-300 Korean "real HT device" (whatever THAT is) BD player is SO noticeably superior to a $500 "game console" (AKA powerful computer), that everybody in a room would all find it better.


First--Korea is the new Japan. Smile Look at the Samsung 720p DLP--probably the best single chip 720p DLP ever made.

Second--remember the LG was not targetted at a $300 price point. It was targetted at a $1000 price point. The fact that I got mine for just over $200 was a perk.

Third--A "real" (tongue in cheek) HT device has IR natively at a minimum and (preferrably) also RS-232 control.

Forth--Just because it is a powerful computer (assuming most of the cores actually work) doesn't mean the software is good. It is first and foremost a game machine, I'm sure the bulk of the development effort went there. I'm sure if I was a product manager that is where I would spend my budget as gamers are likely to be far more critical of games than they are playing BDs on their 46" TVs.

ecrabb wrote:
Seriously, though... You still haven't really articulated the difference between the two. What - specifically - was it about the image on the LG that looked better than the PS3? Noise? Macroblocking? Detail? Motion? Color?


I said some of the things. The LG had better color and less noise. Unlike the macroblocking differences I saw between the LG and the HD-A1 on some content, I didn't not see a huge difference between the LG and the PS3.

I know it is lame, but I almost have to fall back to something Clarence says about CRT PJs (which I think is true). You can get two PJs of the exact same model, same hours, same tube condition, etc. Set them up as best as you can and one just "looks" better. Could be colors, could be sharpness, could be a combination of several minor differences. That was the way it was with the LG and the PS3.

Perhaps I can point Athanasios to this thread and he can tell you if he did a thorough inspection. As I said, my tests were not scientific.

ecrabb wrote:
Since then, I've come to really like BD, though. I think the physical design of the BD format (the non-scratch layer) is actually far superior to HD DVD. I had lots and lots of HD DVD's from Netflix that skipped or paused or broke up and were obviously very beat up. OTOH, all the BD's that have come from Netflix look almost like new, even though they've obviously been around, too. Out of dozens of movies, I've never had a single skip or pause. Coincidence? No, it's that great coating!


I agree that the coating was a great breakthough. Given the fragility of the BD disc they needed something and the originally planned caddy would have been a market failure. That coating came along at just the right time. Had HD DVD won, I agree that they should have done the coating. I think that since they disigned their disc from the ground up to be much more resilent than BD they didn't think they needed it.

ecrabb wrote:
Put more simply, in the year that I've been watching BD, my experience has been FAR SUPERIOR to what I had with HD DVD. Far superior. Consumer's best interests represented in every way notwithstanding, of course. Still, the PS3 was part of that superior experience - for me, at least.


I don't think my differences are that significant. I think HD DVD navigation on many of the discs was better than alot of the navigation I've seen on BDs. As I've said--for me user experience takes a back seat to quality and functionality. I'll gladly trade loading speed for better playback. Other's opinions my differ and it is just as valid to prefer user experience over quality (in fact, I think most do and that is why HD VOD and streaming will "win" and BD will be a "niche" format).

ecrabb wrote:
Since I don't have an IR repeater set up in my HT, I actually like the PS3 BT remote better than all the rest because it's the only one I don't have to point over my shoulder. (Yes, I need to get my control system working or bite the bullet and go to a Harmony or whatever with an IR repeater.)


Instead of a front mounted IR "eye" and a repeater (like I originally installed 5 years ago in the theater), if you don't have multipath problems (and it seems you don't since you have to point if over your shoulder), I'd just go RF. Harmony has fixed alot of the programmability problems in the last year so it is *almost* as good as the HTM remotes. But, the quality of the remotes is still far inferior to the HTM remotes. Don't buy one at a high price--a Harmony that lasts 2 years is a rare Harmony remote indeed!

Person99 wrote:
I just think there are so many variables that it's practically impossible to make general statements like you've made with any degree of confidence.


And yet we do it all the time on HT boards. When the opinions agree with you, I don't see you claiming it "impossible".

As I said, despite the way Sony $hits on their customer, the PS3 has an army of fan boys. So, take my points to be this:
1) If you believe all playback is the same, then why buy a PS3 when other BD players are less than half the price now?
2) If you don't believe several of the observation made by myself and others about playback quality, try it for yourself.

Person99 wrote:
I think it's dubious to claim that "the PS3 is an inferior player" or "the LG player is better than the PS3". What display? What output resolution? What firmware was the LG running? What OS was the PS3 running? You were testing w/your 720p digital, so maybe the scaling from the 1080p source material on the disc to the 720p output to your projector is better. Maybe the PS3 would look better on a 1080p device. Maybe the scaling in the LG is a better match for the display.


Both with latest firmware available at the time (about 6 months ago).

For me: both the Cine 8 Onyx and the 720p DLP were used. Both were sent direct and both were sent through the Lumagen.

When the Lumagen was used, the players output 1080p/24 to the lumagen. The Lumagen converted that to 720p/72 which was pixel mapped at the PJ for the DLP. The Cine 8 Onyx was run at the 720p/72 as well as 1080i/72.

In this config, the video chain was identical and the displays were identical. All scaling was in the Lumagen. So the only variable was the player.

When fed direct, all displays were 60 and 1080i and 720p were both used. As all know, on 8" CRTs I prefer the smooth sharpness of 1080i/72 or 96 to the juddery softness of 1080p/60. So my CRT was not optimized for 1080p/60 and the LG does not output that frequency, so it was not tried.

I think Anthanasios is using a 9500 (soon to be two). He also has a Lumagen. So, he is probably doing 1080p, you'd have to ask him how it was set up.

Person99 wrote:
I think if you wanted to say, "On MY setup, configured for MY display, and with both sources calibrated, and running whatever versions of software were current for August 2008 (or whenever it was), the LG player looked better than the PS3, and several unbiased onlookers agreed." I'd be fine with that.


Funny, I've never seen you harp on a point like this before with comparisons. Had my observations not matched a few others I'd read, I might be an isolated case, but their experiences mirror mine--especially the one person I know that compared the same two players.

Man, it is funny how the PS3 fan boys don't like their toy questioned. Smile

Quote:
Quote:
So, take it for what it is worth. I just think it is a dubious claim to say BD playback from all devices is the same! That was what I was objecting to. Further, with falling BD player prices, the PS3 becomes a less and less attractive option unless it can offer better playback. That is my only point.

I agree with the first part - I wouldn't claim that all BD playback is the same, either.


That was the main point of my quote. Kal posted that all playback was the same because (I think it was) "bits are bits". I think this is wrong. Heck the differences between the HD-A1 and the LG were so significant, my wife noticed it without me even asking her opinion. Here exact quote was "why does XYZ look so much better?"

So, even if you don't like my questioning of your prized PS3, if you accept the above paragraph, then playback from different HD devices may differ. THIS WAS MY POINT. This was/is a PS3 fan-boy thread. My points were:
1) Don't be so sure all playback is the same because it "seems" like it should be (this is the informal logical fallacy known as Argument from Personal Incredulity)
2) If you do believe all playback is the same, why spend over double to get a PS3?!?!?

Quote:
First of all, how would you know unless you try it on your own system. So many variables. I agree that for some people, as the prices fall on the set-top players, they'll be more attractive. I'm not a PS3 fan-boy - I'm just really happy and satisfied with the device. There's a big difference.


I've never seen you claim this on any other comparison be it cables or whatever. Why here and now? Not a fan-boy? If is walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... Very Happy

Quote:
I also take issue with your repeated references to the PS3 as a "game console" as though that fact alone somehow means it can't be an excellent BD player. The PS3 being a "game console" has no more bearing on the discussion than the fact that the LG player is made by a Korean company that once made personal hygiene products and cheap, junk, throw-away consumer electronics.


You mentioned the LG thing was irrelevant and it is to the current state. LG was crap. So was every Japanese product. In the 1950s Japanese products had about the same (or worse) quality than Chinese products today and pretty much had that place. Times change. Times have changed for many Korean companies. LG is not the company that brought you crappy Goldstar products anymore!

But, the PS3 being a game console is not irrelevant. The fact that its primary function is a "game console" is relavent for the following reasons:
1) Sony obviously considers it first and formost a game console--it ships with gaming controlers but no remote control.
2) Due to the fact of being a game console, its form factor is that of a game console, not a home theater device.
3) Due to the fact it is a game console, it is not designed to be an elegant solution for HT (no IR or RS232 control).
4) In product design, the primary function of a device is always paramount. Secondary functions get less attention. See numbers 1-3 to understand that Sony does believe this is first and formost a game console.

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Person99



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PostLink    Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecrabb wrote:
WanMan wrote:
The player in and of itself is not the total of responsibility in the end result being seen by the eyes of the viewer. I guess for those eyes viewing the comparison, the LG might have been better on one individual's setup, but applying this beyond that point would need further observations.


Exactly, Wan... You made the point I was trying to make in part of my very long-winded post: That the results of Dave's comparison of the PS3 to the LG player is truly only valid for the revisions of software/firmware in use at the time, the resolution he chose, etc.


Funny how you guys (especially Wan) will never object to comparisons that agree with your tests or preconceived notions. But, question something you guys are fan-boys about and WATCH OUT.

ecrabb wrote:
The results are also a little tough to trust completely specially since he didn't really have two copies of any of the BD's that he could quickly switch back and forth to compare more objectively.


I have said several times these are not scientific. Of course, they are not much less scientific than pretty much ANY shootout I've ever seen on a board. No one does real shootouts (double blind, etc).

In my case, the display chains were identical. Others that used identical display chains (but different from mine) reached results the same as mine.

But, like EVERY SINGLE COMPARISON I'VE EVERY SEEN POSTED ON ANY AV BOARD--this is really just a "casual observation."

It is not meant as an attack on the PS3 fan boys--you don't need to take it that way boys.

It is meant to challenge Kal's assumption that all HD playback is the same and to encourage others not to just take PS3 fan-boys word for it that that is the BD player you should buy--no doubt about it. Investigate for yourself. Some that do will select the PS3. Many that do will not.

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Person99



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PostLink    Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecrabb wrote:

Dave clearly admits that other than both sources being "calibrated", there was very little scientific about the comparison. That's very telling, IMHO. I'm not saying it's any sort of indictment of Dave or his methodology - I'm just saying you can only trust a casual/non-scientific comparison so far - and for me, that's not very far. Again, no disrepect to Dave, of course.


I agree. I also admit this. Most "shootouts" do not admit this. MP mods are used in COMPLETEY unscientific shootouts like mine all the time and nobody jumps in.

If you want to be diligent, you need to post this paragraph in EVERY SINGLE shootout posted here, AVS, etc. Because few (if any) use a methodology any more rigorous than mine.

I've admitted I'm not an objective observer--clearly I'm not as I have a stake in it--I already bought one of them. But in my case, neither was the PS3 owner. He believed the PS3 was the "best BD player money could buy". His quote. In fact, before we set them up, he told me "I'd be sorry I bought the crap Korean player and didn't just throw out my HD DVDs and get a PS3 and IR adapter." Again, quoting him. Heck, I think he only brought the PS3 over to prove to me how stupid I was for buying the LG. Smile So, it is tough to say he was objective. But, he left saying the LG looked better than the PS3. As always, YMMV.

Funny thing, years ago I beta tested Kim's tcoder. Then when it came out, I raved about it in comparison to moome device of the time. No one had these problems with those observations. Guess there were no moome fan-boys. Shocked Shocked

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kal
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a new sheriff in town, see: http://www.curtpalme.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16934

Kal

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garyfritz



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PostLink    Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Oppo is undoubtedly a class-A BD player, especially if analog audio outs or SACD playback is important to you. However I'll stick with the PS3:

* It will stream video files from a media server (a key feature for me, don't think the Oppo does that)
* It will have a higher resale value if/when I decide to get rid of it
* I got it for $300 vs. $500 for the Oppo
* I don't have to cough up another $500
* It also plays games!! Smile
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm still sticking with my LG BH200, and the new BIG update should be out in two weeks that will Bring BD live to this region free Multi format player. Cant wait!!!

Athanasios

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kal
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PostLink    Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Here's another good review of the Oppo BDP-83: http://www.avguide.com/review/playback-22-oppo-digital-bdp-83-blu-rayuniversal-player?src=Playback

Quote:
BOTTOM LINE:
"Oppo’s BDP-83 Blu-ray/universal player is more versatile than most other players at any price, and it offers better picture and sound quality than anything I’ve seen or heard at, or even remotely close to, its price. For these reasons, I would argue it represent the biggest bargain going in today’s home theater marketplace. Playback is adopting the Oppo as its Blu-ray reference player."

Interested? Get it here:



Kal

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Ohmess



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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:01 pm    Post subject: What's the latest? Reply with quote

Hi Gang -- I've been away a little, hanging with my son before he headed off to college. Unfortunately, HE TOOK THE PS3 WITH HIM! So, I find myself without BluRay capability; a completely unacceptable situation. Now, the new slimmer PS3 looks cool, but I'm really just looking for a stand-alone Blu-Ray player. Resale is not a big issue; I still have the reel-to-reel tape deck I bought in 1979.

So, what's the latest on this from the gurus who follow the new stuff?
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:11 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the latest? Reply with quote

Ohmess wrote:
Hi Gang -- I've been away a little, hanging with my son before he headed off to college. Unfortunately, HE TOOK THE PS3 WITH HIM! So, I find myself without BluRay capability; a completely unacceptable situation. Now, the new slimmer PS3 looks cool, but I'm really just looking for a stand-alone Blu-Ray player. Resale is not a big issue; I still have the reel-to-reel tape deck I bought in 1979.

So, what's the latest on this from the gurus who follow the new stuff?


The Oppo BDP-83 by far.

Kal

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Ohmess



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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Kal. Who the heck is Oppo? I've never heard of them.
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I highly regarded speciality company that sells products at about 1/10th of what others would do. Give this newsletter a read where I explain it all:

http://www.curtpalme.com/newsletters/Newsletter_Jul_10_2009.shtm

Kal

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WTS



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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll second that, I had a PS3 and now I have an Oppo83, I'll keep the Oppo thankyou very much.

Kal, did you buy an Oppo and put your PS3 upstairs?

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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope - still using the PS3 myself. I have a million HT upgrades I want to do that I haven't had time to do... it's been added to the list!

Kal

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WTS



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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A million, sounds like you want to redo your whole system, you might need a million.
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, maybe not a million, but a bunch of small things (and some not so small like going to lossless audio).

Kal

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WTS



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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah okay, well at least you'll have lots of good beer on hand while you think about it.
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WTS wrote:
I'll second that, I had a PS3 and now I have an Oppo83, I'll keep the Oppo thankyou very much.

Kal, did you buy an Oppo and put your PS3 upstairs?


The Question is Walt, are you going to POOGE the Oppo at any point?

Athanasios

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WTS



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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think I'll do that until it's out of warranty.
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WTS wrote:
I don't think I'll do that until it's out of warranty.


True ! Smile

Athanasios

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