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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Greetings Everyone!

Wanted to introduce myself as a new member of the board, as well as a recently drafted soldier over the fence from standard definition optical media to high definition....it took some pondering between HD DVD and Blu ray, but due to, as you all know, a (what appears to be) potent collection of titles available now and to be in the future, my heart seems True Blu -- at least for now....

Unfortunately, my first experiences with this new technology have not been so exciting. I recently relocated with my significant other into a new apartment, and we jumped into Blu ray, as I mentioned, acquiring the Panasonic player and a new Onkyo TX-SR605 with onboard decoding of the new HD audio formats...along for the ride was also a new Sony 50" SXRD rear projection display. Being an absolute home theater hobbyist fanatic, I am thoroughly familiar with the ins and outs of standard DVD and its relating equipment (coaxial/optical connections, bitstream signals for Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks, etc.)...however, I enlisted some help from a private recommended installer to assist me with the setup of the blu ray deck and receiver (and TV). Before I get into the issues I have been having with the software and what I find I don't care for so far, let me explain how everything is connected so perhaps someone could better understand the workings of the system and attempt to figure out if it happens to be anything in the "handshaking" behavior of the HDMI connections....

The Panasonic player is running HDMI OUT to the Onkyo's HDMI INPUT 1, and then there is an HDMI cable running from the receiver's HDMI OUT to the Sony display's HDMI input, so the audio and video can flow simultaneously. I SPECIFICALLY purchased this new receiver because I understand it has all the onboard decoding for the new formats, including Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD and DTS HD Master Audio, and I prefer to have the amplifier/receiver decode and process the audio via a bitstream signal rather than have a player do it -- and, as I will explain later, and of course you all know, these second generation players just wont pass the HD soundtracks via bitstream, so I feel like that was a waste of money. At any rate, here are most of the issues I am having, along with their corresponding connection attributes:

I believe the display I purchased can accept 1080p signals, and the Panasonic's HDMI RESOLUTION control in the setup menu is set to 1080p -- so this should be giving me full 1080p resolution; however, I find that most of the discs that came in the box with the player, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic 4 -- not to mention the two titles I have purchased on my own, Spider Man 3 and John Carpenter's Halloween -- just don't....well....look all that great. I was expecting jaw-dropping detail and resolution from 1080p material, and dont get me wrong -- the colors are rich and fantastic for the most part, and the black levels are spot-on and dark....it's just that the amount of grain and background noise these discs -- or player -- are exhibiting is quite dissapointing. Is there supposed to be this much fine grain running in the background of the films? The whispy, fog-ladened scenes in films like Pirates gets rather "blocky" looking on my Sony, not really exhibiting a jaw-dropping appearance....it seems only the really bright, colorful, outdoor sequences in HD films exhibit the clarity and detail which approaches what I expected of Blu ray; is this normal? Now, I KNOW for a fact that the player is set for 1080p video, so it should be sending the video 1080p to the TV....AND, the Panasonic's picture setting modes (which you owners would know) are set like this:

PICTURE is set to SOFT, which seems to eliminate SOME of the noise and grain from certain scenes....other modes like NORMAL, CINEMA or FINE look much worse in comparison...

The DNR setting is ON (I believe this is for digital video noise reduction), and I can actually see a difference in the background noise of a scene when I freeze it, leaving the setting ON....

I've tried the other settings, like USER, which lets you fine tune things like GAMMA, 3D NOISE REDUCTION and COLOR, but these settings, no matter how many times I play with them, just seem to make the picture worse....should I mess with these?

Now, on my Sony display, I have the picture settings on STANDARD, not VIVID, which is just too sharp and oversaturated, especially for my viewing distance (which I believe MAY be contributing to the grain problem from my sweet spot), and everything else is on factory defaults, like color, sharpness, hue, Picture Contrast (which is all the way up to MAX) and Automatic Iris (setting "2")....I read another thread on here where someone posted the "ideal" settings for a Sony rear projection set, and the numbers were different from this, so perhaps it's my set's levels; they haven't been calibrated. Could this be adding to the problem?

The installer who worked with me set all the Panasonic's audio outputs to BITSTREAM, unaware and uninformed that this player does not pass bitstream audio for the new codecs via HDMI -- more on that in a minute. Standard Dolby Digital and DTS tracks from DVD pass just fine via HDMI through the Onkyo, coming up on the display as "Dolby D" or "DTS" with the HDMI logo lit, as well. So I know that's correct. The problem comes into play with the new HD audio tracks -- I simply do not understand how this all works. It took me weeks of reading the manual and playing with the unit to figure out that the settings made in the DIGITAL AUDIO OUTPUT menu of the Panny's player actually affect the COAXIAL and OPTICAL jacks -- NOT the HDMI output. But this confused me even more, because under these DIGITAL AUDIO OUTPUT setting choices are, along with Dolby Digital and DTS, the new codecs -- Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD (but not Master Audio; this unit does not support it at all)....so, my question becomes if these new formats can only be passed via HDMI, which I thought is how they worked, then why on Earth are they listed under the standard DIGITAL audio output that goes through coax and optical???

Alas, all settings were made to BITSTREAM here, and of course, I have DVD audio soundtracks being decoded by the receiver, but not the new HD tracks....when I switch the high definition soundtrack settings to PCM in the player, then it sends the PCM track of the soundtrack (Dolby TrueHD, etc.) through a multichannel signal to the receiver, whose front display then reads "HDMI/PCM/MULTICHANNEL"....the tracks actually sound louder and punchier this way, as I am assuming the player is decoding the track and sending it to the receiver over HDMI via PCM (hearing the actual "lossless" audio), HOWEVER, this is not how I wanted the system to run....I was looking forward to the "DTS MASTER" and "DOLBY TRUEHD" logos to illuminate on the Onkyo, like it does with DTS and Dolby Digital....thus, I keep everything on BITSTREAM now, and choose the UNCOMPRESSED PCM track on a Blu ray disc when given the option.

Case in point: When I watched Spider Man 3 last night, there was a choice for Dolby TrueHD as an English surround audio track -- I tried selecting it, watched my receiver do the flashing HDMI thing as it tried to handshake with the player, and then....just as I thought, the receiver dropped into regular Dolby Digital mode....not Dolby TrueHD. I switched to the Uncompressed PCM track instead. What is the deal with these "lossless" codecs? Are they really worth all this trouble? I know all about the firmware and software updates for these second generation machines, but it just seems so exhausting to go through; would a firmware update correct the issue with the player passing the signals via bitstream? Now, another question I have is regarding these "Uncompressed PCM" tracks...based on the way I have the system set up, with everything running through HDMI, am I hearing the "correct" audio stream when selecting these tracks off the discs? Like I said, I select the uncompressed track from the menu, press play, and my receiver reads "MULTICHANNEL" in the middle of the display, as a listening mode, and above it are the small lights which read "PCM", "HDMI" and "MULTICH"....I assumed this meant the receiver was actually receiving the PCM track and playing it back in a multichannel mode, but I want to make sure because usually "MULTICHANNEL" means you have the ANALOG inputs running to a decoding player, and mine is connected via HDMI. So am I actually hearing these uncompressed PCM tracks correctly like this?

DTS Master Audio is another problem. I have been excited to experience this new format, being a diehard fan of DTS audio, but I sadly learned that this player does not even support the format, let alone decode it for playback. So, with Fox titles like Fantastic 4 where there is only a Master Audio track to select, I have to select it and watch as my receiver strips the core DTS track from the disc and play it back as some kind of "enhanced" DTS....the audio is okay, but I was expecting to experience this new audio format in all its resolution. When I switch the "DTS HD" audio selection in the Panasonic's menu to PCM instead of BITSTREAM, Fantastic 4's Master Audio track enters that MULTICHANNEL mode on my receiver (as the PCM tracks do) and the audio gets louder and more vibrant -- suggesting to me that the player is decoding the track and sending it PCM to the receiver. Again, though, this is not how I wanted to run the system...if I wanted to run multichannel signals to the receiver, I would not have invested in the TX-SR605, and instead would have kept my TX-SR600 and just ran the multichannel analog jacks between the player and receiver; I bought this unit for the onboard decoding. And thats another head scratcher: if the Panasonic unit does not even support DTS Master Audio, then why is Fantastic 4's Master Audio signal being processed by the player as "DTS-HD MULTICHANNEL"? Does the player automatically send a DTS HD signal instead of a DTS Master Audio signal, and is this the somewhat "enhanced" DTS mode I was told about that this player will pass instead of DTS Master Audio? And why is the Panasonic's audio display, when I press the onscreen prompt, reading "MULTI" after each HD track listing? With standard DVDs, the display reads "D. Digital 3/2/1 ch" but with Blu ray soundtracks, no matter what the track, it reads "TrueHD MULTICH" or "DTS HD MULTICH" or "LPCM MULTICH".....is this because no matter how I cut it, the player MUST decode the track internally? I assumed because the Onkyo receiver did HDMI 1.3a the Panasonic would be able to talk to it -- but is this Panasonic only 1.2?

Now, UPCONVERTING standard DVDs in another big problem I am having with this unit....as I mentioned, the player is set for 1080p output through HDMI, so that means that even standard DVD should be upconverted for that resolution, correct? Well, when I watch most standard def DVDs, the picture quality can be somewhat....well....atrocious, depending on the disc. Grain, dirt and all kinds of video artifacts wash over my regular DVDs when watching them through the HDMI 1080p selection -- dark, interior scenes look worse than they ever did on my old $100 Panasonic DVD player running 480P Progressive Scan; in dark sequences, there is an annoying video noise that runs in the background -- the only way I can reduce this noise is by selecting the SOFT setting on the player, which softens the picture but also gets rid of a lot of the grain. I have tried switching the resolution to 480P, 720P and even 1080i when watching regular DVDs, and 480p actually makes the films look a bit better than keeping it on 1080p. I simply cannot believe this. Is this because 1080p is magnifying and amplifying all the imperfections on the regular DVD discs? Could it be my seating position to the screen, which is pretty close? I have a 50" SXRD, and the seating position is six or so feet away. Could it be the HDMI cables connecting the system? Could it be the video processing inside the Onkyo which isnt really passing through 1080p and somehow adding some signal degredation somewhere? Some DVDs are really bad -- older films like The Exorcist or Twilight Zone: The Movie are almost unwatchable because of the grain that flickers in the background of the dark scenes when the setting is on 1080p for the HDMI output.

Are grainy standard def DVDs normal when upconverting them on one of these Blu ray decks? It's to the point that I am considering taking the $600 loss on the player and going out to replace it with a good standard upconverting DVD player, of which the familiar, easy and inviting codecs from Dolby Digital and DTS can still put a smile on my face...at least until all these HDMI/firmware bugs can be worked out of these things. If anyone could shed any light on any of these issues I am having, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You, and Looking Forward to Being a Home Theater Shack Forum Member!!
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

Seems like you want very well done upconversion of SD DVDs. Look for a hi def player with the Reon chip. The new Samsung dual format player just now coming out has it and will pass the new codecs raw bitstream out HDMI 1.3 to your Onkyo:
http://www.hometheatershack.com/for...msungs-bd-up5000-duo-hd-player-announced.html

or you might find a HD-XA2 which also has it (but hi def is HD DVD only).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

Seems like you want very well done upconversion of SD DVDs. Look for a hi def player with the Reon chip. The new Samsung dual format player just now coming out has it and will pass the new codecs raw bitstream out HDMI 1.3 to your Onkyo:
http://www.hometheatershack.com/for...msungs-bd-up5000-duo-hd-player-announced.html

or you might find a HD-XA2 which also has it (but hi def is HD DVD only).
Thanks for your reply, Bob!

Indeed, this is good info; is it common for the high def decks without the Reon chip to make upconverted DVDs look...well....kind of noisy and grainy? Is this possibly because the 1080p upconversion is simply amplifying all the negative aspects of the DVD transfer? Is it done purposely so that we watch standard DVDs and think "that looks like ***....I need to buy Blu ray discs!"? Should I instead keep my HDMI resolution output on a "smoother" setting like 480p? I watched Batman Begins upconverted last night and the dark sequences looked absolutely horrendous -- there was background pixelation and all kinds of noise which caused dark color bleeding and such; is this common for upconverted DVDs? I have read and heard that simply magnifying 480 resolution to a psuedo-HD 1080p is causing the smaller images in the picture to become somewhat blurry and unsharp; is this so? Because it seems like this is what is happening....

Also, I appreciate your suggestion for the dual format player (which I originally considered getting), but we decided to stick with Blu ray for now, so I am absolutely kicking myself for buying this Panasonic generation II which does not pass the high resolution audio formats via bitstream, which I was misled by salesmen who told me it sure does. Now, I am kind of stuck with this player until I can scoop up enough cash to take the loss and buy a new one with all the kinks shaken out.....like those that can pass the bitstream signals so my Onkyo amp can decode them...

Can anyone help me with the issues Im having in terms of the PCM uncompressed tracks and such? When selecting uncompressed PCM soundtracks from the Blu ray disc menus, my amp goes into "MULTICH" mode, with HDMI and PCM illuminated on the display above it....is this the correct listening mode for these tracks? Am I hearing the uncompressed mix from the disc this way? I read somewhere that using the DIRECT mode of the receiver is the way to hear these tracks in all their glory, but when I switch from Multichannel to Direct, I cannot hear a difference when playing the PCM tracks.....is there a difference?

Thanks to anyone who can continue to assist. :whew:
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

When selecting uncompressed PCM soundtracks from the Blu ray disc menus, my amp goes into "MULTICH" mode, with HDMI and PCM illuminated on the display above it....is this the correct listening mode for these tracks? Am I hearing the uncompressed mix from the disc this way? I read somewhere that using the DIRECT mode of the receiver is the way to hear these tracks in all their glory, but when I switch from Multichannel to Direct, I cannot hear a difference when playing the PCM tracks.....is there a difference?
MULTICH is correct. I would suggest not using DIRECT since you want your AVR to do bass management, speaker distance, etc which is not done in DIRECT mode. I am of the opinion that DIRECT mode is really meant for two channel afficianos with large main speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

MULTICH is correct. I would suggest not using DIRECT since you want your AVR to do bass management, speaker distance, etc which is not done in DIRECT mode. I am of the opinion that DIRECT mode is really meant for two channel afficianos with large main speakers.
Thanks again Bob for your continued assistance; okay -- thanks for clearing up the DIRECT issue for me....and your explanation of how we want the AVR to handle bass management and distances, etc. has lead me to another question for you:

When going HDMI out from the Blu ray deck and keeping the player's SPEAKER OUTPUT settings on "Multi Channel" (indicating the PLAYER itself can be adjusted for the speaker levels, distances, etc. instead of the receiver), and when playing PCM tracks from these Blu ray discs, is the aforementioned "MULTICHANNEL" mode on the receiver (running "PCM/HDMI/MULTICHANNEL" on the display, as I mentioned) somehow being affected by this setting? In other words, are the settings I made in the receiver's calibration menu staying the same and being relevant when playing back PCM tracks with the Blu ray player set to "Multichannel" speaker output? See, I was under the assumption that within the player itself (even DVD players), when you select "Multichannel" for speaker setup, this allows you to adjust all the calibration, distances, etc. instead of a receiver doing it....but what happens when you are running DIGITAL OUT (coax/optical) or HDMI OUT from a player then -- are the speaker settings ignored completely at the player and handled strictly at the receiver even though the PLAYER'S speaker outputs are set for Multichannel? :raped::hush:
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

What you describe is normally for using the 5.1 or 7.1 analog outputs from a player. Normally any such adjustments should not be enabled (or asked for) in an HDMI connected player since an AVR receiving the digital audio via LPCM can do all the needed adjustments. When using LPCM audio via HDMI then leave the player's speaker settings to LARGE, distances to 0 and levels to 0. Let the AVR do that stuff.
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

It sounds like the player you purchased may not output the better HD audio formats over HDMI in their native format, which is why it outputs multichannel PCM. That's not really bad, since that's pretty much what the receiver is going to do before playing around with the signals anyway. As for why it drops down to Dolby Digital when you try to use the coax/optical audio output, that's because the other end in the receiver isn't equipped to accept the new HD formats over that type of input (nor are any other receivers or processors).

I second that you will want something that does excellent upconversion if you are playing SD DVDs on this player. I don't know which player you got, but many of them don't play back SD DVDs very well, upscaled. A HQV or Realta chipset in either the player, receiver, or TV will do better, but you need to make sure you use it by having all the other gear in your chain _not_ perform any video filtering (no noise reduction, or resizing, etc.). Faroudja is the older chipset that is still very good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

What you describe is normally for using the 5.1 or 7.1 analog outputs from a player. Normally any such adjustments should not be enabled (or asked for) in an HDMI connected player since an AVR receiving the digital audio via LPCM can do all the needed adjustments. When using LPCM audio via HDMI then leave the player's speaker settings to LARGE, distances to 0 and levels to 0. Let the AVR do that stuff.
Hey Bob,

Thanks again for getting back to me; let me address some of what you say here above as it has cleared some things up for me, yet Im still a bit foggy....

Indeed, I understand those "multichannel" speaker setups in DVD players/Blu ray players etc. are for adjusting the controls when analog outputs are active; on this Panasonic player, it's not that the settings are "asked for" but there IS a menu selection to change these and I was wondering if changing them -- even with my system set up through HDMI -- is making ANY difference in sound when playing these "PCM Uncompressed" soundtracks off the Blu ray discs, or if my receiver is handling all the calibration, distance etc. at that point....

But it concerns me that you say to leave the speakers on LARGE on this setup in the player; first of all, I am using Polk bookshelfs that are not running full range because I have a sub, and second, if you say that none of these settings are affected when running LPCM via HDMI, as my setup is, why leave the front mains on large?

Thanks for your continued assistance.
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

You set the speakers to SMALL in your AVR. Just do that in one place only given that your are using a digital (LPCM via HDMI) input to your AVR.
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

You set the speakers to SMALL in your AVR. Just do that in one place only given that your are using a digital (LPCM via HDMI) input to your AVR.
Oh yes, Bob, that I know -- of course, because I am running bookshelf speakers all around and have a sub, I would set the speakers at the amp to SMALL -- actually, with this receiver, Onkyo's new TX-SR605, there are no SMALL or LARGE settings, like my old Onkyo or conventional receivers do, but rather EACH INDIVIDUAL crossover point for EACH speaker in the system. In other words, under SPEAKER CONFIGURATION, you select FRONT, CENTER, LEFT SURROUND, RIGHT SURROUND, etc, and for each speaker you need to set the crossover points instead of Large, Small, etc.; it really annoys me and is much less simple than the old Small/Large selections, but I have all the speakers set to "80Hz" to send bass below them to the sub; does this sound right then?

I actually had to run out earlier so I was not able to reply to your whole post before, nor to the other member who responded to me after you, Joshua I believe, so I am going to go back and do so now...

Thanks again for your continued help.
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

Hello Josuah,

Thanks so much for your help along with Bob's; I have been struggling with this new technology until I found this site! Let me address some of the things you outline below:

It sounds like the player you purchased may not output the better HD audio formats over HDMI in their native format, which is why it outputs multichannel PCM.

Yes, indeed I was not aware that this Panasonic Blu ray deck (see my sig for model) did not output the new high def audio signals via bitstream and over HDMI until I already dropped 600 bucks on it; I SPECIFICALLY and intentionally bought the Onkyo receiver so it could internally decode these new formats from a bitstream signal, which the 605 does, but later found out the PLAYER could not send the bitstream signals....I HAD THOUGHT that both these units would "handshake" and talk to each other through HDMI 1.3, but I believe this Panasonic deck only mandates HDMI 1.2....now Im stuck with this player. As you said, the soundtracks can be passed via PCM to the receiver, but I have some questions about this first...

You mention below this process is "okay" to do, but is it the BEST way to get these TrueHD, DTS HD and DTS Master Audio (which this player doesnt support at all yet Fox Blu ray titles all have these tracks) soundtracks to the speakers for optimum enjoyment of them? And so, then I must ask, should then the audio settings for the high definition formats on the Blu ray player (Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD) just simply be left on PCM and not BITSTREAM? See, if I leave those settings on BISTREAM, the "core" mix of these soundtracks are extracted somehow and sent as regular Dolby Digital or DTS tracks where the receiver indicates "DTS" or "Dolby D" on the display...in other words, if I watch, say, Fantastic 4 on Blu ray, and choose the DTS MASTER AUDIO track from the menu, and the player is set to BITSTREAM for DTS HD, my receiver switches to DTS mode and plays a sort of "enhanced" DTS mix from this disc; is this normal? If I leave the audio output for DTS HD on PCM on the player, the player sends a multichannel PCM mix to the receiver and the receiver lights up "PCM/HDMI/MULTICHANNEL" as it does when playing back Uncompressed PCM tracks on Blu ray discs.....does this mean Im getting the TRUE high definition mix from the disc because it is sending it via PCM to the receiver and the receiver is spitting it out as is? Which way should I leave it, BISTREAM or PCM on the player?

And another question here....if you (or anyone else) is familiar with these Panasonic players, under the SETUP menu, there are only audio options under "DIGITAL AUDIO OUTPUT", which means to me that these settings would only affect the COAXIAL and OPTICAL digital outs, not HDMI.....but then why are there settings under this Digital Audio Output for the high definition codecs like Dolby Digital Plus and DTS HD when these soundtracks can ONLY be passed via HDMI? And why are the soundtracks altered at all when I switch back and forth between PCM and BITSTREAM for the high resolution audio codecs? In other words, when I switch, under this DIGITAL AUDIO OUTPUT, from PCM to BITSTREAM or back again, the output of the audio from these Blu ray discs IS changing -- either I am getting a downconverted Dolby Digital or DTS mix, indicated on the receiver's display (going BITSTREAM), or Im getting a multichannel PCM transfer to the receiver (going PCM).....but this should have no affect, right, because this DIGITAL AUDIO OUTPUT is only to serve the COAX or OPTICAL jacks, no? I have nothing connected into COAX or OPTICAL because Im running STRICTLY HDMI....so is this why the Blu ray player is seeing the HDMI hookup as the only "DIGITAL" hookup and therefore responding to changes made at the Dolby Digital Plus/DTS HD/Dolby TrueHD settings?

That's not really bad, since that's pretty much what the receiver is going to do before playing around with the signals anyway. As for why it drops down to Dolby Digital when you try to use the coax/optical audio output, that's because the other end in the receiver isn't equipped to accept the new HD formats over that type of input (nor are any other receivers or processors).

Actually, I am NOT using, as outlined above, the coax or optical jacks for anything because I am running HDMI ONLY....I understand these new codecs like Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, etc. cannot be passed through coax or optical, but I am just wondering why under my player's DIGITAL AUDIO OUT menu there are distict settings available for these new HD codecs (BITSTREAM or PCM), but I had assumed this part of the setup menu was for COAX or OPTICAL only, NOT HDMI....yet, changing these settings DOES indeed affect the audio......

I second that you will want something that does excellent upconversion if you are playing SD DVDs on this player. I don't know which player you got, but many of them don't play back SD DVDs very well, upscaled.

Now, see, THIS I did not know before jumping into high def and buying this player....and it makes sense because regular DVDs look atrocious on this player.....I mean really bad. This is unfortunate because I have a tremendous DVD library and need the upconversion to look better than this....is there a reason why these players dont scale the regular DVDs well?

A HQV or Realta chipset in either the player, receiver, or TV will do better, but you need to make sure you use it by having all the other gear in your chain _not_ perform any video filtering (no noise reduction, or resizing, etc.). Faroudja is the older chipset that is still very good.

Thanks for the info, as Bob had suggested this too; can you suggest a Blu ray player that contains the Realta chipset and can output these new HD audio formats in BITSTREAM format, too? Is it too early to be requesting this, or have the generation III units begun shipping with these abilities? By the way, if you look at my signature below, you will see the model of my Panasonic; can you tell me if my machine contains the better chipset?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

Hello Again Bob,

The reason that I had questioned you about what you posted was because you had suggested this:

When using LPCM audio via HDMI then leave the player's speaker settings to LARGE, distances to 0 and levels to 0. Let the AVR do that stuff.

....suggesting to me that the PLAYER needs to be set to LARGE in terms of speaker setup THERE, not the receiver....
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

Also, Guys, I had some more questions regarding all this....

Last night, I sat down to watch Armageddon (the original DVD release of this title from Buena Vista/Disney/Touchstone with no anamorphic enhancement, NOT the Criterion edition, which also doesnt have 16X9 enhancement, believe it or not) and usually when I watch this disc, I need to use some kind of zoom mode because it is not enhanced for widescreen sets....however, the picture was automatically stretched to fill the 16X9 frame nicely (still, with the letterboxing, but the more correct ratio to make up for the lack of enhancement) when I played it back on this Panasonic Blu ray player....I couldnt, for the life of me, figure out what setting was making it fill the frame better to make up for the anamorphic issue, until I finally stumbled on the cause: the player is set to output 1080p to my TV, and that was automatically giving the DVD anamorphic enhancement without a zoom, focus, or any other setting....is this normal? Is the fact that Im running the player at 1080p to the TV the reason why the nonanamorphic discs are being stretched to better fill the screen?

Also, when running UNCOMPRESSED PCM tracks from the Blu ray discs, is it correct that the track is passed to my receiver to read "MULTICHANNEL" on the display, with "PCM/HDMI/MULTICHANNEL" illuminated above it? Does this sound like Im getting the actual PCM track passed the correct way? I think Bob may have answered this for me already, but is using the DIRECT mode the way to listen to these tracks, rather than MULTICHANNEL? I perceived no loss of signal when switching between these two modes.

Also, in terms of the video processing abilities of this receiver.....I have 1080p going out from the Blu ray player into the receiver, and then the receiver's HDMI out going to the TV....am I losing any resolution doing this? Is the 1080 somehow being degraded because its going through the receiver? This receiver is supposed to pass whatever resolution you feed it via HDMI right through....but I just want to make sure.
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

Hello Again Bob,

The reason that I had questioned you about what you posted was because you had suggested this:

When using LPCM audio via HDMI then leave the player's speaker settings to LARGE, distances to 0 and levels to 0. Let the AVR do that stuff.

....suggesting to me that the PLAYER needs to be set to LARGE in terms of speaker setup THERE, not the receiver....
That was to ensure that the player does not do anything to the audio (in terms of bass management, etc) and that the only the AVR does. You may not have to do anything to the player since it should default to not doing bass management. But if you set the channels/speakers to SMALL in the player then you are asking it to do bass management which it should not do since your AVR is doing the bass management.
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

but is using the DIRECT mode the way to listen to these tracks, rather than MULTICHANNEL? I perceived no loss of signal when switching between these two modes.
No loss of signal, but is the bass management being done correctly when in DIRECT mode? Please carefully read your Onkyo 605 user manual to find out exactly what the display of DIRECT mode means. I know what it means for a Yamaha AVR.
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

That was to ensure that the player does not do anything to the audio (in terms of bass management, etc) and that the only the AVR does. You may not have to do anything to the player since it should default to not doing bass management. But if you set the channels/speakers to SMALL in the player then you are asking it to do bass management which it should not do since your AVR is doing the bass management.
The question is this......because I am running everything through HDMI out on the player, should the player simply detect this automatically and not need any changes to the multi-channel speaker setup? Should it just automatically be ignored? Of course, in theory, a player should "know" when a "digital" signal is being used (coax, optical, HDMI) and ignore the internal speaker settings and distance delays because the receiver its connected to is doing that, but is that what is really going on?

See, I ask because something weird happens on this player when I fool around with its "Multichannel" and "2-Channel" speaker settings.....when I leave the player on MULTICHANNEL in this menu, the uncompressed PCM tracks from the Blu ray discs play back at the receiver as "PCM/HDMI/MULTICHANNEL" as you say is correct....however, if I switch the Blu ray player's speaker output settings to "2-Channel" then these PCM soundtracks are passed to the receiver in a strange fashion, allowing me to use the weird DSP modes on the receiver, such as "Theater Dimensional" and "All Channel Stereo" and such; when selecting MULTICHANNEL on the speaker output, the ONLY modes I can use on the Onkyo during playback of PCM tracks are the Direct and Multichannel....this whole thing sounds weird to me because according to the Panasonic's manual, leaving the player's speaker settings on "MULTICHANNEL" is only when you want the PLAYER to do the decoding and time delays, etc., and pass that to a receiver that CANNOT process speaker settings and such; the "2-CHANNEL" speaker setting in the player is supposed to be when a receiver connected to this unit CAN in fact decode soundtracks and do speaker calibrations and such, which of course, this Onkyo can....so my instinct was to leave the setting on 2-Channel but when I do that, it affects the audio output of these Blu ray PCM tracks.....something just doesnt make sense here....can you shed some light on this? :blink::blink::blink::blink:
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

No loss of signal, but is the bass management being done correctly when in DIRECT mode? Please carefully read your Onkyo 605 user manual to find out exactly what the display of DIRECT mode means. I know what it means for a Yamaha AVR.
According to the 605 manual, DIRECT means the signal is being passed exactly "as is"; I need to confirm if bass management and distance delays, etc. are being affected in this mode....

So if there is no loss of signal (and what I meant by that is that switching between MULTICHANNEL and DIRECT when playing these PCM tracks, it does not seem to get louder or lower in terms of volume output, nor does there seem to be any perceivable loss of "detail" or "punch") then what should the correct mode be for playing these PCM tracks off the Blu ray player and discs? Should the amp remain in Multichannel playback mode? What exactly could DIRECT be a benefit for -- as you say, those who have high end two channel systems with large speakers?
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

Lot to go through here...

Anyway, let the player output PCM over HDMI. That's perfectly okay and not worse or better than letting the receiver do it. It's still the original data. The only worry being as someone else mentioned making sure you don't try and use the player's bass management, which it may or may not apply to the PCM over HDMI signals.

The downgrade of DTS Master Audio to DTS, or Dolby TrueHD to Dolby Digital, is most likely because the player isn't equipped to process the higher-quality audio (not good enough hardware inside) or because they don't want you to get the higher-quality audio out the analog outputs (which it would most likely provide, if performing the processing) for stupid DRM reasons, or a combination of the two. You don't want your player to do this, so make sure your settings avoid this situation.

DIRECT mode is a setting on the receiver that tells it not to apply signal processing to the audio, which "as is" probably means no bass management. It doesn't have anything to do with volume, just bass management and the application of sound fields like JAZZ or THEATER or stuff like that. People might use this if they have a high-quality CD player outputting analog to the receiver, for example, and only want the receiver to act as the volume control.

The players don't upscale and apply good video filtering to SD content because it's more expensive to do that. It means putting in a more expensive chip, and software to use it. (They want you to spend $30 on an HD disc instead of $10 on a SD disc that gets made to look like HD anyway.) HD content, of course, needs no upscaling and less video filtering, although it can still benefit from video filtering to some degree.

There is no reason to buy a different Blu-Ray player. You could buy a very good SD player, and use that for your SD discs. You might be planning to upgrade your receiver later (although I think you just bought it also) for one that has a good video chip in it. Or you might be planning to upgrade your display, and could get one that has a good video chip in there. A separate video processor is an expensive alternative as well. You can view the Secrets DVD Player Benchmark Database, and according to it, the Samsun BD-P1200 does best among the HD players. It uses a Silicon Optix Reon HQV chip.
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

Welcome to the Shack. There are lots of great guys and minds to pick on here. With all this help you are sure to be a pro in no time.
 

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Re: Greetings, Fellow Shackers! Introductions and Major Issues I'm Having with Blu Ra

Anyway, let the player output PCM over HDMI.

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me so in depth, that's first of all....I appreciate it. Let me reply to some of these issues a few at a time...

Above, you say let the player output PCM over HDMI -- but what exactly do you mean....the high def audio choices like Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD? In this Panasonic's DIGITAL AUDIO OUTPUT menu, there are choices for PCM or BITSTREAM for EVERY codec supported by this machine: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, and DTS HD....right now, I have all of these set to BITSTREAM, but as I mentioned earlier, regular legacy Dolby Digital and DTS tracks are passed via BITSTREAM to the Onkyo receiver just fine (still over HDMI) where they are decoded by the receiver, and with the settings on BITSTREAM for the new surround codecs, what happens is the player extracts what seems like a core DTS or Dolby Digital mix from the Master Audio/TrueHD mixes...BUT, with the PCM settings made here, the tracks are sent to the receiver where the receiver displays "MULTICHANNEL" on the display....is this what you are suggesting to do? Whats the best way to hear the lossless soundtracks?

That's perfectly okay and not worse or better than letting the receiver do it. It's still the original data. The only worry being as someone else mentioned making sure you don't try and use the player's bass management, which it may or may not apply to the PCM over HDMI signals.

But I am not sure if the player's bass management and speaker distances, calibrations, etc. are being automatically ignored when Im running HDMI out....in other words, in the Panasonic's "SPEAKER OUTPUT" settings in the SETUP menu, there is a choice of "2 Channel" or "Multi Channel"....according to the manual, MULTI CHANNEL should be used when connected to a receiver which CANNOT make speaker adjustments and thus its made inside the player....2-CHANNEL should be selected when the unit IS connected to a receiver which can do calibration, etc, which mine is....when leaving this setting on MULTI CHANNEL, uncompressed PCM tracks from the Blu ray discs pass to the receiver and the display on front of the receiver says "MULTICHANNEL" and above it "HDMI/PCM/MULTICH", indicating to me the raw PCM track is passing through....HOWEVER, when I switch the Panasonic's speaker settings to 2-CHANNEL, these PCM tracks are somehow "tinkered with" in that suddenly the receiver is seeing a two-channel downmix and applying those weird DSP modes, which I dont believe is the correct way of listening to these soundtracks....BUT, my question is, WHY are these settings being affected AT ALL being that Im running EVERYTHING through a DIGITAL output, in this case straight HDMI????

The downgrade of DTS Master Audio to DTS, or Dolby TrueHD to Dolby Digital, is most likely because the player isn't equipped to process the higher-quality audio (not good enough hardware inside) or because they don't want you to get the higher-quality audio out the analog outputs (which it would most likely provide, if performing the processing) for stupid DRM reasons, or a combination of the two.

This downgrade ONLY occurs when I keep the high resolution audio settings on the player's menu set to BITSTREAM.....when I select PCM for Dolby Digital Plus/Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD, the player sends a PCM signal to the receiver, where it reads "MULTICHANNEL" on the display.....see, when those tracks are sent BITSTREAM, the receiver extracts some kind of "core" mix and sends it out as regular Dolby Digital or DTS....this player SUPPORTS and DECODES these formats (not DTS Master Audio), but it apparently does not send them BITSTREAM to a receiver....what should they be set on then?

You don't want your player to do this, so make sure your settings avoid this situation.

Dont want the player to do what exactly?

DIRECT mode is a setting on the receiver that tells it not to apply signal processing to the audio, which "as is" probably means no bass management. It doesn't have anything to do with volume, just bass management and the application of sound fields like JAZZ or THEATER or stuff like that. People might use this if they have a high-quality CD player outputting analog to the receiver, for example, and only want the receiver to act as the volume control.

So, this DIRECT setting shouldnt be used when playing back PCM tracks from the Blu ray player? An interesting note is that when playing these PCM tracks, and the receiver is on MULTICHANNEL mode, I cannot select those weird soundfields like All Channel Stereo or TV Logic; the only selections that can be made are STEREO I believe, and MULTICHANNEL or DIRECT....so by setting it to MULTICHANNEL, then my calibration and speaker settings and tone control, etc. will be recognized, correct?

The players don't upscale and apply good video filtering to SD content because it's more expensive to do that. It means putting in a more expensive chip, and software to use it. (They want you to spend $30 on an HD disc instead of $10 on a SD disc that gets made to look like HD anyway.) HD content, of course, needs no upscaling and less video filtering, although it can still benefit from video filtering to some degree.

I thought this may have been the problem; of course, the studios and manufacturers want you to pop in a DVD and say "Wow, this looks like ****....lets buy the HD or Blu ray version!" I almost did that tonight.....was watching Superman Returns on DVD, and it looked absolutely HORRENDOUS upscaled by this player. There is massive macroblocking, shimmering, color bleeding and video noise during dark sequences; the player is set to send 1080p signals to my TV, but Im wondering if these regular DVDs wouldnt look better just running 480p out of HDMI. No matter what I do -- using the SOFT mode on the Panasonic and applying the Digital Noise Reduction circuit -- regular DVDs just look horrible. I also get a strange "steeped banding" when there are words and letters on the screen -- kind of like the jaggies that plague these players, but Im wondering if thats a fault of my TV.....

There is no reason to buy a different Blu-Ray player. You could buy a very good SD player, and use that for your SD discs.

And herein lies my next dilemma....we are considering doing that now, but I have a few questions....first of all, do you not think I should wait to buy a next generation Blu ray player that sends all the high resolution surround codecs via BITSTREAM AND supports DTS Master Audio so my Onkyo TX-SR605 can decode them? (I SPECIFICALLY bought the Onkyo to do this.) If I were going to go the standard DVD player route, can you recommend a really good one to match my 1080p set? Is it best to continue running 480p via component with a regular DVD player, or send a higher resolution through HDMI?

You might be planning to upgrade your receiver later (although I think you just bought it also) for one that has a good video chip in it.

I JUST bought this Onkyo -- it's brand new -- so upgrading will not happen for awhile; I SPECIFICALLY bought it so it can decode the new HD audio formats, which I cannot do because the player wont send them out via BITSTREAM....but in terms of the video chip, do you think something is wrong here too in my hookup? Is the 1080p signal not flowing right from the player to the receiver to the TV? Shouldnt the 1080p just pass right through the receiver and out to the TV?

Or you might be planning to upgrade your display, and could get one that has a good video chip in there. A separate video processor is an expensive alternative as well.

Again, we JUST bought this Sony TV, too, and spent 2,000 bucks on it....its a 50" rear projection SXRD, and I was told it was one of the better screens on the market....could it be this TV that is causing all these problems? I cant see it, but is it possible? I mean, the TV accepts and puts out 1080p, but can the processor inside really be that ******?

the Samsun BD-P1200 does best among the HD players. It uses a Silicon Optix Reon HQV chip.

Jeez.....and this is after I dropped 600 bucks on this stupid Panasonic player....are you suggesting that this report indicates that the Samsung is best in terms of Blu ray quality AND upconverting the DVDs?

Thanks again, so much, for taking the time to reply and assist with this....looking forward to hearing back from you.
 
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