Plastic discs encompass – DVD, HD DVD, Blu Ray, (UHD Blu Ray 4K), CD, DVDA, SACD, Blu Ray Audio.

So what do I review those shinny Plastic discs on?

  • Denon DBP-A100 + Denon Link + HD SDI modification
  • Denon 3800BDCI + HD SDI modification
  • Denon DVD 5900 + Denon Link + SD SDI modification
  • Oppo BDP103
  • Toshiba HD-A35

Even though these players have all their video processing set to off, there are observable differences in sharpness, contrast ratio and colors between them all, even though the usual test discs show little obvious differences. I have to put this down to their MPEG decoders based upon tests I have done looking at the serialized SDI outputs directly from their decoders. The Denon A100 provides the sharper image and deeper blacks (less noisy) and is used as the default player unless the disc will not play for some reason. I then use the Oppo 103 which provides the next best level of reliable decoding. The other players are for legacy formats and backup.

NOTE: My Denon AVPA1 HDCI pre-amplifier always operates in 3D mode; this causes it to fully bypass all the video processing and on screen graphics insertion hardware.

Previously my system was connected using professional 270Mb/s or 1.5Gb/s SDI, and any video processing (typically vertical stretch for my Panamorph lens) was accomplished in a DVDO iScan VP50pro. The Anchor Bay video processing in this hardware is excellent and it allowed me to stop using the unreliable encrypted HDMI connections that introduced artifacts that could clearly be seen when compare to the SDI connectivity. These artifacts were probably a result of other hardware within the players that the signal passed through on the way to the HDMI chips; however, I have no way of easily confirming that. Anyway, this connectivity can no longer be used with 4K so I have converted the system back to all HDMI with the associated annoying handshaking issues.

There are also audible differences between using HDMI, Denon Link and converting formats to LPCM audio when driving the AVP pre amp. This will be discussed at a later date.