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What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

Ok, daft question time.

 

I was wondering. Assuming we are playing a Blue Ray disk and transmitting via HDMI. What is the difference between players?

My (probably wrong) impression was that the digital data was read from the disk, and sent down the HDMI lead. But then players have DACs both audio and video. Do these come into play for an all-digital setup? 

 

ie, if the disk is read digitally, then sent down the HDMI lead to the TV or AV receiver then what difference would we see or hear?

 

Thanks for anyone who knows the definitive answer.

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

Don't open a can of worms here! :wall:

Here's my opinion:

1) For blu-ray 1080p/24 pictures & bitstreaming of audio (for the AV receiver to decode), I haven't found any difference between players at different price points.

2) DVD upscaling quality differs widely between players, some being better than others.

3) Likewise for audio, if it's decoded by the player, there's a significant difference between players.

This is my own personal opinion based on my experience. I'm in no mood to answer anyone challenging my opinion. Dirol

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

I don't know.

I can't afford expensive Blu-ray players (see my sig) but John Duncan has been playing host to a new Cambridge Audio 751BD recently and (I think) he used to have the same machine (Sony BDP-S370) that I still use.

He could certainly tell you if there is a difference in picture and sound quality between the two machines.

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

A direct comparison in a dealer between my old Sony BDP-S550 and my new Marantz BD7004 (was a while back now) showed a decent upgrade in Blu-ray performance. This was most significantly noticeable around the upgrade in sound performance, but for the picture, the most notable improvement was specifically in its handling of fast motion on the screen.

And before anyone asks, no it wasn't a blind test :wall:

 

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

professorhat wrote:

A direct comparison in a dealer between my old Sony BDP-S550 and my new Marantz BD7004 (was a while back now) showed a decent upgrade in Blu-ray performance. This was most significantly noticeable around the upgrade in sound performance, but for the picture, the most notable improvement was specifically in its handling of fast motion on the screen.

And before anyone asks, no it wasn't a blind test :wall:

 

 

I'm more wanting a definitive answer on what the process is rather than subjective opinion of players which may or may not be influenced by expectation. If there is no conversion in the player, and only digital data from the disk is being sent, then I can't understand how audio or video could be different assuming the output is working correctly.

 

Of course, I am aware that upscaling of DVD data can vary quite a bit. I'm more concerned with a Blue ray disk being played.

 

 

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

IMO. Differences in sound is like the differences between CDPs, DACs and Streamers.

The differences in picture are more readily seen on bigger projector screens with decent projectors. One of my local dealers has a "state of the art" cinema room with an Anamorphic Lens, a huge screen, and an expensive Sim projector; the difference between a £300 BDP and a £2k one, is there to see.
Whether this is VFM, is another question entirely.

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

CnoEvil wrote:
One of my local dealers has a "state of the art" cinema room with an Anamorphic Lens, a huge screen, and an expensive Sim projector; the difference between a £300 BDP and a £2k one, is there to see. Whether this is VFM, is another question entirely.

Yes indeed - you need to take into account your own display when looking at a more expensive player.

 

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

snivilisationism wrote:

If there is no conversion in the player, and only digital data from the disk is being sent, then I can't understand how audio or video could be different assuming the output is working correctly.

If digital data was always transferred flawlessly and without error, then I'd agree with you. Of course we know this to not be true.

However, this discussion is now firmly in territory which has been discussed endlessly in the past, so I'm going Duncan Bannatyne on this now Wink

 

The owls are not what they seem...

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

professorhat wrote:

snivilisationism wrote:

If there is no conversion in the player, and only digital data from the disk is being sent, then I can't understand how audio or video could be different assuming the output is working correctly.

If digital data was always transferred flawlessly and without error, then I'd agree with you. Of course we know this to not be true.

However, this discussion is now firmly in territory which has been discussed endlessly in the past, so I'm going Duncan Bannatyne on this now Wink

 

 

Sorry, I don't want it to go that way. I simply want a technical explanation for it... Smile

 

although, my understanding was, that to test if a signal is bit perfect, simply seeing DTS, Dolby HD or whatever appear in the AV display confirms it is...

 

@CNOEvil.  CD players differ because people tend to use the analogue out. In my case with active speakers with DAC, I have tested my squeezebox, CD player, DVD player and PS3 all via optical, and to my ears they sound identical, whereas the DVD player is awful when played via analogue out, as is the squeezebox. Using the optical out seems to make all things equal (as far as my hearing can testify).

 

 

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

snivilisationism wrote:
I simply want a technical explanation for it... :)

I'm not sure we have any designers of Blu-ray players knocking around the forum.

We have the occasional speaker manufacturer.

There is John Dawson (founder and President of Arcam) who's company manufactures the Arcam BDP-100, but I haven't seen him on here for a while.

I am sure that if you emailed the question to companies like Cambridge Audio or Arcam or Oppo that someone should be be able to give you a technical answer.

It's a bit unfair on us 'mere' users to be able to offer satisfactory technical explanations for how everything in our systems work.

 

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

chebby wrote:

snivilisationism wrote:
I simply want a technical explanation for it... :)

I'm not sure we have any designers of Blu-ray players knocking around the forum.

We have the occasional speaker manufacturer.

There is John Dawson (founder and President of Arcam) who's company manufactures the Arcam BDP-100, but I haven't seen him on here for a while.

I am sure that if you emailed the question to companies like Cambridge Audio or Arcam or Oppo that someone should be be able to give you a technical answer.

It's a bit unfair on us 'mere' users to offer technical explanations for how everything in our systems work.

 

 

Heh, don't undersell yourself. Many "mere" users have a great deal of technical knowledge. 

I guess the other point would be also...If I buy a top of the range Blue Ray player, with state of the art decoding built in, is it best to send the data via component rather than HDMI? 

 

But yes, I think an email to a manufacturer would be a great idea...thanks ! Smile

 

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

snivilisationism wrote:

 

Sorry, I don't want it to go that way. I simply want a technical explanation for it... Smile

 

 

Well as we all know the Laser beam hits the disc and is reflected back, so the information from the disc at this point is reflected light but broken up from the original beam due to the pits etc on the disc. This then has to be converted into a "language" that your display and Amp via HDMI can understand so in the player somewhere must be a board of electronics that achieves this task.

I would assume that different makes of player have different boards in them to achieve this task and the more upmarket players would have a more sophisticated board.

Perhaps as well not all Lasers are created equal.

Thats about as technical as I can get.

 

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

snivilisationism wrote:

  

@CNOEvil.  CD players differ because people tend to use the analogue out. In my case with active speakers with DAC, I have tested my squeezebox, CD player, DVD player and PS3 all via optical, and to my ears they sound identical, whereas the DVD player is awful when played via analogue out, as is the squeezebox. Using the optical out seems to make all things equal (as far as my hearing can testify).

 

 

Fair point, but I believe that there is more effecting the sound than the analogue out. The quality of the transport (which I think makes a difference), the quality of the power supply and the isolation of the internal componants.
The BDP LX91 sounded leagues ahead of the cheaper BDP (can't remember what it was) that was also used, and which sounded a bit "glarey" when the sound was turned up. This was all played through an Anthem Processor (DV2), Linn power amps and Kef Ref speakers.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

CnoEvil wrote:

snivilisationism wrote:

 

@CNOEvil.  CD players differ because people tend to use the analogue out. In my case with active speakers with DAC, I have tested my squeezebox, CD player, DVD player and PS3 all via optical, and to my ears they sound identical, whereas the DVD player is awful when played via analogue out, as is the squeezebox. Using the optical out seems to make all things equal (as far as my hearing can testify).

 

 

Fair point, but I believe that there is more effecting the sound than the analogue out. The quality of the transport (which I think makes a difference), the quality of the power supply and the isolation of the internal componants. The BDP LX91 sounded leagues ahead of the cheaper BDP (can't remember what it was) that was also used, and which sounded a bit "glarey" when the sound was turned up. This was all played through an Anthem Processor (DV2), Linn power amps and Kef Ref speakers.

 

Maybe. But the expensive players use the same drives dont they?

Having done some investigatuon (no emailing unfortunately, no contact details), the main difference is within the player itself. The top of the range players are great CD players, but obviously need to be connected via analogue.

From the same investigation it seems that my(PS3) player has among the best upscaling there is due to the processing power available...which is nice.

My current (to be swayed) understanding is, there is little if any difference at all (if you use HDMI). I must admit, I don't sense any real difference in anything between my Panasonic BD50 and my PS3, except my PS3 is way faster AND I get to play FIFA 12! Yay Smile

 

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

Your finding is similar to mine. I found no difference in blu-ray video playback between PS3, Pana BD60 & Denon 2500BT on my setup.

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RE: What exactly differentiates Blue Ray players?

snivilisationism wrote:

 

 

Maybe. But the expensive players use the same drives dont they?

Having done some investigatuon (no emailing unfortunately, no contact details), the main difference is within the player itself. The top of the range players are great CD players, but obviously need to be connected via analogue.

From the same investigation it seems that my(PS3) player has among the best upscaling there is due to the processing power available...which is nice.

My current (to be swayed) understanding is, there is little if any difference at all (if you use HDMI). I must admit, I don't sense any real difference in anything between my Panasonic BD50 and my PS3, except my PS3 is way faster AND I get to play FIFA 12! Yay Smile

 

All I can say is compare a top of the range Marantz or Pioneer BDP (for AV), to a more budget one, on a revealing system, and the difference is there to be heard/seen.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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