When you watch all your DVDs at 92 inches diagonal you can clearly see all of the flaws serious DVD reviewers, like Widescreen Review and DVD File, gripe about. Since the install of the front projection system last fall I’ve had to modify my setup in the following way.
Buy a new HDMI DVD Player: My old DVD player, the Pioneer DV-47ai, had some technical flaws, but I had never noticed them on my 36" Sony WEGA CRT TV. Projecting onto the big screen with my Sanyo PLV-Z3 Projector, I could not get rid of an over sharpening of edges or high frequency ringing, as revealed by the Avia Test Pattern DVD’s Sharpness chart, no matter how much I turned down sharpness controls on the 47ai and Z3. This flaw would obscure objects in a movie’s long shots with distracting halo rings. The DV-47ai also had terrible CUE (Chroma Upsampling Error) that causes streaking and bleeding in high saturation areas of color. Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, with its highly saturated reds, and Katsuhiro Ottomo’s classic Akira, with Kaneda’s red motorcycle were unwatchable at 92 inches diagonal. After weeks of research on the AVS Forum and Secrets of Home Theater I bought the Oppo Digital 971 DVI DVD player. After about a week of upgrading firmware and tweaking the video settings I couldn’t get acceptable color decoding out of the player. It only passed the raw Rec. 601 SDTV color space to the Sanyo Z3 which only displays HDTV’s Rec. 709 color space (if you have no idea what I’m talking about check out the AVS forum). This mismatch made all flesh tones look ruddy, blue skies too cyan and green grass too dormant. So I returned the Oppo and bought the highly recommended Panasonic S97 HDMI DVD Player. It can convert between SDTV and HDTV color spaces through its HDMI connection, the YCbCr 4:2:2 option worked best with the Sanyo. The S97 can scale DVD video from 480p to 720p or 1080i resolutions. Unfortunately, the higher resolutions introduce halo rings just like the 47ai, so I keep the S97 at 480p.
Great, now I can sit back and enjoy my favorite movies, or not. Check back soon to see how that went.