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Blu-Ray

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by Jalpa_Mike, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Jalpa_Mike

    Jalpa_Mike F1 Rookie

    Apr 2, 2004
    2,838
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    Michael Wilson
    Hey guys,

    Now that Blu-Ray won the High-Def DVD battle, just curious what any of you are using for your Blu-Ray player? I keep seeing folks recommending the Playstation, but I already have an XBOX 360 and don't want another game.

    Just curious what any of you are using as a stand-alone Blu-Ray DVD player.

    Thanks in advance!

    Mike
    '02 Maserati GT Coupe
     
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  3. Cerberos

    Cerberos Formula Junior

    Nov 12, 2006
    355
    Portland, OR
    For high-end equipment check out the reviews on the Pioneer Elite BDP-95FD. This is a 1.1 version player that will be partially upgradable to the 2.0 standard via firmware. I've already done one upgrade to the firmware on my unit and it's fairly simple. However, you may want to just wait a few months for the 2.0 players to come to the market. The 2.0 players will have significantly inhanced capabilities over the current 1.0 version players that are on the market.
     
  4. BritBlaster

    BritBlaster F1 Rookie
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    Jul 25, 2005
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    I have a PS3 in my media room and a standalone Samsung BDP-1400 in my family room.

    The Samsung is a POS. It takes 40s+ just to power up and open the tray, plus another 50-90s to load the disc and display the menu. Picture/Sound quality is excellent with both players (and Samsung has the benefit of being able to output the analog TrueHD signal if your receiver is setup to take multichannel analog). There are firmware issues with the Samsung, or at least I suspect it needs a fw update because the player consistently just stops playing a disc, and requires pressing 'play' on the remote to force it to continue. Do NOT buy online if you can avoid it -- if you get a bum player (or which the incident rate is high) you need to be able to take it back and exchange it conveniently (costco has a pretty good deal on the BDP-1200 if you don't need analog audio out).

    The PS3 is a superb player (consider it a player with a free gaming console thrown in). It is fast (it is really just a supremely fast computer heavily discounted), has the fewest compatibility problems. Only drawbacks with it are: strange shape (doesn't match other components in system), a little noisier due to fan (and the consequent higher heat output) and using the wireless game controller is goofy (make sure to buy a separate dedicated remote).

    I'm hoping to get this soon:
    http://www.axonix.com/Default.aspx
    ...and be done completely with discs!!
     
  5. Bruce McKinney

    Bruce McKinney Karting

    Jan 15, 2004
    67
    Tigard, OR
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    Bruce McKinney
    Of this, I know.....

    The Panasonic player is the only (current production) model that has a true 7.1 sound chip. I have owned the unit for about 6 months. Paid $549 for it - but they seem to be down around $349.00 now. I have had ZERO issues with it, loads fast (depending on program material - 10 seconds TOPS??) and sounds frikin' phenominal when married to a 7.1 processor or receiver!!! I did quite a bit of reading on the various units when I was shopping and the Panasonic came out on top nearly every time. Plus, it's probably the most attractive unit on the market, but that's for the beholder.

    Bruce
     
  6. coverland

    coverland Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2007
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    Colin
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  8. BritBlaster

    BritBlaster F1 Rookie
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    Jul 25, 2005
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  9. coverland

    coverland Formula 3

    Apr 22, 2007
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    Colin
    That it is! :D
     
  10. BritBlaster

    BritBlaster F1 Rookie
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    Jul 25, 2005
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    This is not quite correct.

    Any player capable of outputing a digital TrueHD / DTS-HD *bitstream* signal is capable of doing this (eg the Samsung BDP-1400 I referenced is also capable of this).
    ... BUT, more importantly, this is probably *not* want you want because very few receivers are capable of handling a TrueHD / DTS-HD bitstream signal (neither of my processors [Anthem AVM30 and Classe Audio SSP-600] in my systems are).

    Further, the Panasonic DMP-BD30 according to this review
    http://reviews.cnet.com/video-players-and-recorders/panasonic-dmp-bd30k/4505-6463_7-32730548.html?tag=sub
    does NOT have the capability to output the high-resolution audio formats via the analog jacks, so it probably does not have the decoder on-board like the BDP-1400 does.


    Oh, sometimes it hurts to be on the bleeding edge!!
     
  11. JDZNate

    JDZNate Formula Junior

    May 14, 2007
    571
    Portland, OR
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    Nate
    An updated blu-Ray player is coming out this summer so I would wait till then.
     
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  13. Cerberos

    Cerberos Formula Junior

    Nov 12, 2006
    355
    Portland, OR
    Looks to be a nice unit, but like the Pioneer it is a 1.1 version player which will be rendered obsolete (sort of) by the 2.0 version units coming out this summer. Both Denon and Pioneer already have updated versions in the works for their high-end players.
     
  14. Lemke

    Lemke F1 Rookie

    Oct 27, 2004
    4,515
    Vancouver, WA
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    Daniel
    I have a PS3 and it works great. But since you dont want to get another gameing system I would wait until the summer until 2.0 comes out. No sense in getting one now.
     
  15. marksp

    marksp Formula Junior

    Jul 10, 2006
    737
    Redmond, WA
    I have and use the PS3 which I got bundled with the cool bluetooth remote. Love it as Blu-ray player; have never used it as a game console.
     
  16. BritBlaster

    BritBlaster F1 Rookie
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    Jul 25, 2005
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    2.0 doesn't add anything that the typical "wanna watch a movie in HD!"-consumer needs except for another 6+ months of living without a quality HD-movie source. Plus, when 2.0 players are generally available/affordable, the spec for 2.1 or 3.0 will be out and then delay resets all over again. Buy the player that meets your needs, at the price you're willing to pay, NOW. THEN, go out and buy *immediately* "Planet Earth" on Blu-Ray (costco has it), and absolutely *marvel* at the incredible detail that this format offers.


    ...and Mark, don't worry .. your dirty little PS3 secret is safe with me! ;)
     
  17. Jim Frentress

    Jim Frentress Formula Junior

    Mar 7, 2007
    677
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    James Frentress
    Yeah... what he said... +1
     
  18. GarrettG

    GarrettG Rookie

    Nov 22, 2006
    38
    Olympia, WA, USA
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    Garrett G. Gunderson
    Two years ago, I bought into both formats... for me having the opportunity to watch HD movies on disc NOW (then) was worth the risk/expense of one format losing.

    Now, in my theater, I use Samsung's dual format player (the BD-UP5000). Having one player for our entire collection of movies (DVD/HD-DVD/BR) is a good thing... especially for the wife. The player has got some quirks (audio format compatibility, playback issues on certain discs, etc.), but overall it works pretty well... and Samsung has promised to "fix" those issues by May. (How "official" those promises are is debatable.)

    In my living room, I have the previous Panasonic Blu-Ray player (the BD10). It works fine in that space... my wife uses it mostly for her Friends and Sex and the City episodes (all SD-DVDs). For movies, we're usually in the theater (161" of HD glory!!).

    (I got rid of my HD-DVD player.)

    I too plan to be done with discs soon. I had been thinking Kaleidescape (www.kaleidescape.com) mainly because my installer has experience with them, but the MediaMax looks pretty interesting. Who sells them around here? Do you have any direct experience with it?

    -- Garrett
     
  19. BritBlaster

    BritBlaster F1 Rookie
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    Jul 25, 2005
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    Nice! I "make do" with only 100" in my media room. ;)


    The Kaledidescape system is very, very impressive ... with a price to match. My friend is in the process of getting one ... installed price of $26k for 2TB of storage (3 players IIRC). K doesn't have Blu-Ray compatibility yet, but it's supposed to be coming soon. 2TB will disappear in a hurry if you start loading BD movies on it though.

    I haven't seen the MediaMax system, and I'm having trouble getting hold of them to confirm pricing. Will let you know what I find out.
     
  20. GarrettG

    GarrettG Rookie

    Nov 22, 2006
    38
    Olympia, WA, USA
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    Garrett G. Gunderson
    That's ok... I "make do" with my Maserati. :)

    I sent an email to my installer. I'll also share what I find out. He's pretty good about getting info pretty quick. For example, for home automation, I was going to use Crestron (like the Kaleidescape... very impressive, but expensive), but wanted him to look into HomeLogic (www.homelogic.com). In no time (within days), he found an installer-friend that put the HomeLogic system in a house in Salem. So, we went down and checked it out. (It was actually the first drive I took in my GranSport after I got it last summer.) Now, that's the system I have.

    -- Garrett
     
  21. BritBlaster

    BritBlaster F1 Rookie
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    Jul 25, 2005
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    MediaMax's retail pricing seems as equally steep as Kaledescape's:

    4TB Server .. $18k
    8TB Server .. $24k
    HD Player (with capability of loading BD).. $5k
    HD Player (no BD load capability) .. $3.5k
     
  22. GarrettG

    GarrettG Rookie

    Nov 22, 2006
    38
    Olympia, WA, USA
    Full Name:
    Garrett G. Gunderson
    Here's his response to me asking "Have you heard of or used this system?"

    "I have, I was at a training in Frisco and they were using it to supply the sources. The system did crash several times during the training..in its defense we had a large group and were working it really hard. Several of the dealers that were at the training loved the system and some…not so much. It did receive some awards last year."

    He said he'd get me more info and to try and find me a demo if I was seriously interested. But, after the research I've done today, I'm not so sure. The main issues I see: Windows (not the most stable OS) and the fact there's no HDMI or multi-channel analog audio output (and therefore no Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA).

    -- Garrett
     
  23. BritBlaster

    BritBlaster F1 Rookie
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    Jul 25, 2005
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    HDMI *audio* seems like a minor issue to me.
    I'd rather use high-quality analog cables to connect the player to the receiver (and in any event, is the only option I have). The Axonix products do have those connectors. I doubt they currently have TrueHD / DTS-HD decoding capability, but for me standard DD-5.1 is plenty good enough.
    I am much more swayed by video quality, and the K player does NOT output 1080p and the Axonix player does. This is huge. Interlacing is horrid, and has plagued NTSC since the dawn of television.

    Windows XP embedded is rock solid. The stability of a system though is as reliable as the weakest component; it's not the XP is unreliable or unstable -- but its stability is compromised by the installation of dodgy software (eg anything from Symantec) or dodgy drivers. Linux, FreeBSD, MacOS are all equally unstable when running buggy drivers.
    Now, if the application itself is buggy, it doesn't matter which OS it runs on -- it'll be painful...
     
  24. GarrettG

    GarrettG Rookie

    Nov 22, 2006
    38
    Olympia, WA, USA
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    Garrett G. Gunderson
    Very valid points.

    My automation system runs on Windows and is pretty stable (like you say, as stable as its weakest component... be it a hardware or software piece.) Regardless, for the OS, though, I would give an edge (or mark in the "pro" column) to a system that has a custom OS that the manufacturer has full control of (both of the OS itself and software installed on the system) and can update easily over the internet.

    It's true the current Kaleidescape player doesn't send 1080p. There is no info that I could find about what their blue laser player will do. I would hope that when they release it (not expected until 2009), that they would do it right... 1080p/24.

    For me, the audio is more of an issue. There seems to be no internal decoding or passing of (via HDMI) the new audio formats. It's not so much that I'm a super audiophile... I'm not. This is an issue because there have been many HD-DVDs released and more and more Blu-Ray discs are coming out with Dolby TrueHD as the ONLY multi-channel audio option on the disc! (See countless threads over at www.avsforum.com.) If the player handles it right, the Blu-Ray spec does specify that discs must contain a "legacy" Dolby Digital track for players that can't decode/pass the TrueHD track, but it doesn't have to be user selectable. On the hardware side, this becomes an issue... mainly because it's not enforced. There are players out there that don't handle this correctly and give NO option to get this legacy track and force the user to have 2-channel audio. My Samsung dual-format player is one such player. (Samsung has "promised" to fix it with a firmware update, but until I see it....)

    I'm not sure how the Axonix player handles it. With it's current hardware configuration, it would have to play the (sometimes hidden) legacy DD track or decode the TrueHD and re-encode it to either legacy DD or DTS and pass over SPDIF. For DTS-MA, it's not as much of an issue because that spec has a "core" DTS track that can be passed over SPDIF.

    Edit: I found on the website that the Axonix players can be special-ordered with 5.1 analog audio outputs. Therefore, another option would be to internally decode TrueHD and output analog audio.

    (A GREAT article on these new audio formats: http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/Joshua_Zyber/High-Def_FAQ:_Blu-ray_and_HD_DVD_Audio_Explained/1064)

    -- Garrett
     
  25. BritBlaster

    BritBlaster F1 Rookie
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    Jul 25, 2005
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    I just got in a VTL to play with. 48 x 500GB == 24TB. 4 x 2Gbit Fibre, 16GB Ram, 2 x Opteron 285 dual-core 64bit procs.

    ... I think it would make quite the "media server" ;)
     

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