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Discussion Starter #1
I was just curious to know what the thoughts are about the high end Blu Ray players such as NAD, Marantz, Yamaha, etc. Does anyone on this site use one and would you be willing to comment on how you like it? I understand that they use better components but I would be curious to know if they are really worth the extra money.

Thanks.

Bob
 

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I don't have one of those upper-crust players... but.

I'll pipe in my opinion just cause.

I have gone through the whole thing where I spent a lot more money than I needed to on a higher end DVD player. Then I bought a cheap <$100 Pio universal DVD player and its audio/video quality on DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio is indistiguishable from a near $500 DVD/DVD-Audio player I own by Cambridge Audio.

For Blu-ray I buy into high-end bennefits even less, especially if you're going to bitstream to a receiver. Statistically speaking the only way a playback device could contribute to the quality of Audio/Video is if it were performing any processing. In the digital domain I just don't see how there can be bennefits to spending the extra money.

Now, if you've already got a NAD receiver (a very good choice btw - I love NAD) you might want something to match. I've been known to spend a little extra to NOT have some cheesy looking component that doesn't match the rest of my system.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Wayde. I really appreciate the input. My first DVD player was lower high end and it has been very durable and still plays really well but I'm thinking that it may be time to move on to Blu Ray and with technology changing so quickly, wasn't sure if investing a lot of money was worth it. I don't know if the higher end sound chips are so much better that one could hear a significant difference. Hooking up to the web is not a big deal for me.

Anyway, thanks again.

Bob
 

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NAD is supposed to be releasing their BluRay any day for $1,500 smackers, and may already have done so. I have the T-785 AVR, but I don't know if I'll spend that much money on their player. I also don't know how well their upgrading chip will compare with Denon's. Theirs also don't play SACDs.

I'm going to wait until into the next quarter of 2009 and watch the other manufacturers that offer a high end video decoding chip like Denon's Realta HQV video processor for upscaling to 1080P and I want one that will also play SACDs. There are only a couple out there that are close to what I want. It will have to also have profile 2.0 and HDMI 1.3a as well. My other beef is one that will load quick. Maybe I'm asking too much, or maybe they will become available and affordable. :newspaper:

I think the manufacturers are selling off all their old/new HDMI 1.1 and profile 1 to this Christmas crowd and we will see some better units and more competition out there late in first quarter of next year. I don't mind spending $1,200 or so, but I want all the bells and whistles to go along with it. Many people don't know the difference in the HD decoding, profile types, upscaling capabilities, firmware upgrading, and load times. I think they look at the sticker price and are buying them as fast as they can because just a few months ago, they were $700 and up. I saw a couple at Frys for $49.00! I heard a sales number whether it's true or not, that 250,000 BluRay players were sold the first week after Thanksgiving.

Here are NAD's specs:

The T 587 brings NAD's penchant for performance to the exciting new Blu-ray Disc format. NAD is one of a handful of brands to bring a Profile 2.0 Blu-ray Disc Player to market at this time. Brimming with the latest features like BD Live Network connectivity, the T 587 offers, for the first time, a true High Definition source for digital Home Theatre systems.

Features
Plays BD-ROM, BD-R, BD-RE
Plays DVD, DVD+R/ RW, DVD-R/RW
Plays Audio CD, CD-R/RW
Decodes MP3, WMA, DiVX, JPEG, PNG
Network BD Live (Profile 2.0) via Ethernet
BD Java (Profile 1.0)
Picture-in-picture (Profile 1.1)
Resolution up to 1080p 24/60 over HDMI
Upscales DVD to 1080p over HDMI
HDMI Output with support for Deep Colour and xvYCC Extended Colour Space
Component Video Output up to 1080i
Composite Video Output 480i/576i
Linear PCM (uncompressed) via HDMI
Dolby TrueHD (decoded to LPCM or encoded bitstream)
DTS HD/MA (5.1 decoded to LPCM or encoded bitstream)
Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus via HDMI, Optical or Coax
DTS via HDMI, Optical or Coax
Analogue 2 channel downmix
MHP support (Multimedia Home Platform) for interactive video
Simultaneous playback of HD and SD video
USB 2.0 supports memory stick playback of audio and pictures

Mike
 

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Personally, I see no reason to spend more than the $300 or so needed for the Sony S550 or Panasonic BK55. They all output pretty much the same picture, and they're all streaming the same digital audio and digital video to your receiver. Put all the extra dough into TV, receiver and speakers and you'll see more real benefit.

The exception is the need for special formats (SACD, etc) or superior upscaling from SD content. Still, the most I can envision spending is the $600 or so the Oppo BD player is going to cost, once it's released. And I'm not one to shy away from spending more money if there's a real benefit to doing so... I just don't see the benefit from the ultra-high end brands. At some point it becomes akin to spending $600 on a pair of interconnect cables instead of under $10 for monoprice.
 

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Its possible that the high end player will have a better built CD tray, pickup and motor but these days even the $100 units last a number of years. I still have my original Panasonic DVD player that is now 15 years old and is now only just starting to act up.
A digital Audio/video signal is just that, digital. The player passes that signal mostly unprocessed directly to the display so in the end its the display that decides how good the image will look. upconversion is another animal but for BluRay a high end player would most likely not make any visible or audible difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
High end boxes will have high end processors (video and audio) plus (hopefully) better construction to minimize vibrations. The question as to whether it is worth the price is whether the individual who wants to make the purchase can see and hear the differences and whether he/she has the money to spend. :spend:

You can buy moderately priced units and update more often or spend more and hopefully have it last longer (or if you really are well off still update frequently) but in the short run it still comes down to different strokes for different folks like most things in home theaters.

Bob
 

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Personally, I see no reason to spend more than the $300 or so needed for the Sony S550 or Panasonic BK55. They all output pretty much the same picture, and they're all streaming the same digital audio and digital video to your receiver. Put all the extra dough into TV, receiver and speakers and you'll see more real benefit.

The exception is the need for special formats (SACD, etc) or superior upscaling from SD content. Still, the most I can envision spending is the $600 or so the Oppo BD player is going to cost, once it's released. And I'm not one to shy away from spending more money if there's a real benefit to doing so... I just don't see the benefit from the ultra-high end brands. At some point it becomes akin to spending $600 on a pair of interconnect cables instead of under $10 for monoprice.
I agree. I've been using a $120 Panasonic DVD player for 3 years now and it still serves its intended purpose.

I have put the extra dough into my TV, receiver, and speakers already, so now I will anxiously await the release of the newer BluRay units that can do very good upconversion because my DVD inventory is mostly music concerts, but I do have a bunch of SACDs & movies too. I need that high quality conversion as our home theater/living room is our only source of entertainment.

I'm onboard with you with the cables as well. I've just installed a new high power 5 channel Rotel 1095 amp to run with my new NAD AVR and my interconnects ordered from Parts Express are under $10 each. They are 24k RCA digital audio cables, shielded, and have a CL2 rating.
 

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Hmm, well I'll pipe up. I have two SD players, a Denon 5900 (hi end) and a Panasonic fl50 that holds 5 DVDs that I load for my son who is 5. Our TV is a 46" DLP that's about 4 years old and has been calibrated. When I want to watch a movie that I care about I pop it in the Denon. It does a very nice job of upconverting. There isn't a huge difference in the picture quality but there is a difference. The picture seems to be a bit smoother.
Okay I've been waiting for the format war to be over and then I was waiting for a universal player that I could plug into my AVR. I got tired of waiting for Denon to offer something I was interested in. I caved and purchased a Panasonic bd55k. I thought I had done very well. Well that is until last night. I got what I paid for. It's not that it's bad but the higher end players give you more control over the picture.

First the two Panasonic players share the same remote code. I can't control one without causing the other to attempt to mimic it's sibling. Shame on me I should have been thinking more about brands rather than class of player. I wasn't expecting this and haven't figured out how to deal with it yet since I can't toss the old SD player.

Secondly I put in the BD version of Polar Express and the picture was way too dark and the colors were too saturated. If it was a deep color thing I would have expected the player to adjust the settings based on the HDMI hand shake when the two devices recognized each other. Having seen the SD version 20+ times I adjusted it a bit and then decided to use the HD version of the Joe Kane user menu disk "video essentials". Yep the HDMI connection or the player was very different than the other connections. I start walking through the menus and adjusting the setting and it then I realize what I was missing when I go with a budget mined BD player. Picture control.
Looking at the geometery patterns the higher end players let you control the screen up, down left and right to make sure the pitcure is centered, gama correction to help corrrect the short cuts taken in the TV and the list goes on.

Okay off my snooty soap box :R
The BD55K is a fine player but there are other things that you do get with the more expensive players. For the vast majority it doesn't matter and for some it's a deal breaker. Don't get me wrong, watching a BD presentation is very nice. Crisp and clear with virtually zero noise.

my 2 cents.:hide:
-john
 

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Discussion Starter #10
John,

Great points and the remote issue is something that I would not have thought of. I will definitely keep that in mind when shopping for new hardware.

Bob
 

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First the two Panasonic players share the same remote code. I can't control one without causing the other to attempt to mimic it's sibling. Shame on me I should have been thinking more about brands rather than class of player. I wasn't expecting this and haven't figured out how to deal with it yet since I can't toss the old SD player.
-john

John,

As far as the problems with the remotes on your Panasonics, if you have IR instead of RF type of remotes, then when you go to your equipment rack and insert a DVD in the player you want to use, just make and put a shield that will hang over the edge of the Pasanonic player that you don't want to use and it will block the remote to that unit. You have to insert the disk anyway, so it's just as easy to put the IR block over the IR eye located on the machine you don't want to control while you are standing there.

Maybe that will help? :huh:

When it comes to buying new equipment, I usually have to have it now! The many different options and functions of the new BluRay players are making me wait for a while to see what is going to be offered within the next few months. Look how far they have progressed with the past year!!! Oh, this is painful! :sob: I will wait so I don't buy twice.

Mike
 

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First the two Panasonic players share the same remote code. I can't control one without causing the other to attempt to mimic it's sibling. Shame on me I should have been thinking more about brands rather than class of player. I wasn't expecting this and haven't figured out how to deal with it yet since I can't toss the old SD player.
DMPBD55 - How to Change the Remote Code - Support at Panasonic

You CAN change the remote codes. This is the process for the BD50K but I strongly suspect the same process will work on the BD55K as well. (I don't have ready access to one here at work)

It's not uncommon to have the calibrate a set differently for each device (or at least, each input). And comparing high end SD players to low end SD players is not exactly the same situation as the topic of this thread, which compares high end BD players. Currently, I think the lower end players actually have an edge over the "high end" players, since they're updated more frequently and have the latest features. The Oppo BD player release will likely change that situation a bit... but there is still an argument to made comparing the ~$600 Oppo (is that really "high end"?) to the $1500 players others mentioned.

EDIT: Found link to BD55 player, corrected above link
 

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Wow, thnaks for the link for the remote codes. This will come in handy. You know what I will be doing in the next few days .. :bigsmile:
Sorry about the reference to the hi an lo SD (instead of BD) players, it was more to create a reference point for features that a user might see in the hi and low end BD players. The market is changing fast and I'm looking forward to the experience. It will be interesting to see how the new Oppo is recieved, I hope they do well.

-john
 

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Wow, thnaks for the link for the remote codes. This will come in handy. You know what I will be doing in the next few days .. :bigsmile:
Sorry about the reference to the hi an lo SD (instead of BD) players, it was more to create a reference point for features that a user might see in the hi and low end BD players. The market is changing fast and I'm looking forward to the experience. It will be interesting to see how the new Oppo is recieved, I hope they do well.

-john
No worries, yours was a valuable observation (re add'l functions high end units may bring), but I do wonder how applicable it is since BD display technology is so vastly different. I guess we'll have wait and see how the new units test out, once people have a chance to put them through their paces and see if there really is a substantial difference beyond cosmetics and bragging rights.
 

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from my experience and it has been costly, it depends on all of your connected equipment, how much are you willing to pay for really good bluray? i have been the samsung route, sony, opo, all were supposed to be more than sufficient, and in their respects maybe so, it does always go back to the same thing, you do get what you pay for, i have always jumped over the consumer electronics and gone just a cut above for the sake of the sound, and video quality, and it has been worth it, i run the NAD T 785, the DENON 3800 BDCI, and thats it, i have simplified this hobby is just too expensive, i used to have KRELL, B&K amps, turntables, my headphone rig is outrageous........... too much to even think of, but i digress, getting back on track, if? if you want to listen and see the audio to its potential than you have to balance your system, if you want mediocre than that is fine the cheaper players will suit your needs, but if you want things to sparkle than you have to put out a little extra money, the upgrades i have made recently, within the last year in fact have completely changed my AV experience, sound and vision.......panny viera 54" plasma, the new NAD, and the DENON and got rid of all the rest of my gear, i am running 7.1 all B&W and VELODYNE my living room is emptier (A NICE IMPROVEMENT) but the sound and sights are much improved. the NAD is soooooo nice even when compared to B&K it has so much character, i could go on and on, less at a good quality point is so nice, i even got rid of my audio racks. yeah buddy, but that is me, it is better to audition in home and if possible? see if your retailer will allow you an overnighter with the equipment? just my 2 cents:whistling:
 

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from my experience and it has been costly, it depends on all of your connected equipment, how much are you willing to pay for really good bluray? i have been the samsung route, sony, opo, all were supposed to be more than sufficient, and in their respects maybe so, it does always go back to the same thing, you do get what you pay for, i have always jumped over the consumer electronics and gone just a cut above for the sake of the sound, and video quality, and it has been worth it, i run the NAD T 785, the DENON 3800 BDCI, and thats it, i have simplified this hobby is just too expensive, i used to have KRELL, B&K amps, turntables, my headphone rig is outrageous........... too much to even think of, but i digress, getting back on track, if? if you want to listen and see the audio to its potential than you have to balance your system, if you want mediocre than that is fine the cheaper players will suit your needs, but if you want things to sparkle than you have to put out a little extra money, the upgrades i have made recently, within the last year in fact have completely changed my AV experience, sound and vision.......panny viera 54" plasma, the new NAD, and the DENON and got rid of all the rest of my gear, i am running 7.1 all B&W and VELODYNE my living room is emptier (A NICE IMPROVEMENT) but the sound and sights are much improved. the NAD is soooooo nice even when compared to B&K it has so much character, i could go on and on, less at a good quality point is so nice, i even got rid of my audio racks. yeah buddy, but that is me, it is better to audition in home and if possible? see if your retailer will allow you an overnighter with the equipment? just my 2 cents:whistling:
I agree with you. If you want better quality vs decent equipment, you've got to spend some extra bucks.

I did end up with the OPPO BDP83 for the $500 and love the load speed time, quality playback, decoding features, and SACD playback. I don't need the master decoding it offers. I had problems at first with it sticking during playback, but my broadband connection provided my firmware updates which fixed that. I sold my NAD T785 because of the expense of the new cards and the factory requiring me to send it in install them or upgrade the unit, so I stepped up to Denon's Flagship 5308CI(A) AVR and bitstream the Oppo to it. I upgrade the firmware via broadband with this unit as well. No more sending equipment in for firmware upgrades. This Denon has the Realta HQV upconversion chip, so everything either HDMI or component is in 1080p.

My speakers are large DIY so I can't and don't want to make a change there. The sub is a 21" er and I wouldn't trade off size for anything. WAF is still great! I'm driving a big system and crank it up when I can, so I added the Emotiva SPA 3 channel amp to handle the fronts and center speaker. This leaves the Denon to handle the surrounds and center backs. It runs cooler and should last longer. I built my L/R big enough to handle the system. This is my only source of entertainment. Your statement is correct; "you get what you pay for". Enjoy :T
 
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