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- Age Rating: All
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: Other
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Hardware Reviews
April 04, 2002
What They SayThe Review!
Review by Thomas C Kinnen
I picked up this DVD player as a replacement for my RCA player. Overall this is an extremely nice player with a good feature set. With a retail price of $645 and a average street price $489 it is a little on the more expensive side then some of the other players but still in a good "Bang for the buck" range.
In the physical area this player is lightweight. Weighing in at only 2.9 kg (6-lb. 6-oz.) I was surprised when I went to set it up. While the DVD-636d has good construction I kept feeling like I was going to break it after being used to heavier components. The tray on this player has only a small space on the edge, compared to my previous player, similar to my Pioneer CD player. While this makes for a sturdy tray it also made removing the discs with my big fingers a bit harder. The front control panel gives access to almost all features needed to play a disc. The only noticeable feature missing from the front panel is a jog dial. The remote also is lightweight setup for the DVD player only. It does have a push switch on the side that lights the basic navigation buttons up in red (Stop, FF, RW, Play, and Pause), jog dial, joy stick, and full access to all the players features. Full back lighting would have been preferred. The front panel display has lots of useful information on the title being played such as Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Pro-Logic, DTS, Virtual Dolby Digital, disc type and 96/24 audio.
Overall in the physical area I give this player a weak A-. The missing of an A is mostly for lack of a jog dial on the player itself, lack of full back lighting and personal preference on the tray layout.
In the connection area the 626d has a wide range of connectors expected in this range of a player:
Component Video Output
S-Video Output (2 each)
Composite Video Output (2 each)
AC-3 Bit Stream / PCM Optical Output
AC-3 Bit Stream / PCM Coaxial Output
Analog Audio 5.1 channel Output
Analog Audio 2 channel Output (2 each)
About the only draw back on the connections is that there is a manual switch for selecting with Composite/S-Video or Component video out. However since this does not affect me yet I give the player an A+ in connections.
The User Interface for the 626d has many features. Initial setup was done via on screen GUI featuring "Tab Windows" like you would expect to find on standard Win32 programs. All similar options are grouped together on a tab for quick and easy access. The "Setup Navigator" walked me though the basic setup very fast and the play was ready to go in almost no time. The GUI also offers an "Expert" mode with lets you setup the advanced features of the player. The manual was very clear at explaining what each menu option was for. About the only thing that could have made the setup any better would to be have the users manual on-line and accessible though the setup menu (not something I expect at this time form a DVD console player).
When playing DVDs the user interface offers access to all the standard information you would expect from a player:
Title and Chapter
Elapsed time of title
Title time left
Title total time
Elapsed in chapter
Total time in chapter
Time left in chapter
As you cycle through the available information it is also displayed on the front panel of the player. While the information is displayed on the front panel it must also be displayed on screen at the same time. There is no way to pick the display you want and have it only on the front panel. This is the single biggest complaint I have about the 626d. I can only hope that in some future firmware upgrade this will be fixed so that after a certain timeout the HUD display will clear but the front panel display will stay on the information you picked.
The Audio and Subtitle information is also accessible from the UI. When accessing the Audio menu you are present with not only the audio track number but also the language name and sound encoding information. By the same token when selecting the subtitles to display you are present with the name of the language the subtitles are in. The only draw back (Though very minor) is that you can not directly enter the audio or subtitle track to access directly. You must hit the audio or subtitle button repeatedly to cycle though the ones available.
Over all I give the UI an A- ratting. It missed the A+ because of the inability to pick the display information you want without having it on the HUD also.
The performance features of the 626d is where is excels in my opinion. These features include:
DVD/VCD/CD/CD-R Playback (There is a note that some CD-R’s may not play)
Built in Dolby Digital and DTS Decoders with 6 channel output
Virtual Dolby Digital with TruSurround
Smooth forward and reverse scanning at speeds from 1/16 to 3x
Advanced Digital Video Noise Reduction with Gamma Correction
New PVC Video Quality Enhancer VQE4 chip
Advanced digital noise reduction with True film noise reduction that recognizes film sources based on a frame recurrent algorithm
Precise motion detection for adaptive and optimum NR control
All Field Display of Slow Step Trick Play Processor
High quality video encoder with picture parameter control
High quality sharpness control with two dimensional edge control that processes in both horizontal and vertical domains
Level-adaptive enhancement with high quality edge enhancement
10 Bit Video Processing re-quantizes 8 bit video data to 10 bit video data prior to D/A conversion process
10 Bit Video D/A Converter converts 10 bit video data into equivalent analog signal with minimum conversion error
24 bit resolution Audio D/A Converter with 96kHz sampling frequency
Condition Memory for DVD recalls set-up conditions such as Language, Subtitle, Aspect Ratio and Mode for up to 15 discs
Last Memory for DVD recalls last scene played and set-up conditions for 5 DVDs
The player supports both 5 and 3 inch DVDs and CDs. The few CD-Rs I tested played back fine (TDK and HP CDs). I’ve not yet tested the VCD playback yet.
The player supports an internal Dolby Digital and DTS decoders for output over the provided 5.1 connectors. The internal Dolby Digital supports Virtual Dolby Digital modes for play back with less then 6 speakers. The number and position of the speakers is configurable in the setup UI.
Support for multi-speed forward and reverse scanning on this player works great. This is the only player I’ve personally used that offers a smooth reverse search. The only draw back I’ve seen is that the jog dial does not increment the speeds as fast as I’d like in proportion to how much I’ve spun the dial. This is mostly a personal preference though. Playback speeds are 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, normal, 2x and 3x.
On the video side the play back is extremely impressive compared to my old player. The biggest area I noticed right away was that the black areas were black and not some black/gray splotchy areas. This was an extremely noticeable improvement for me on ADV’s Battle Angel DVD. The play offers a "Video Adjustment" menu that lets you adjust the video playback characteristics of the title. The options you can adjust are:
You can save three settings to memory for recall. Three presets are available for selection which include:
On the audio side the player is prey impressive also. It supports 96kHz/24bit audio output. The player has the option of compressing 96kHz to 48kHz if needed. You can also have the option of outputting MPEG audio or converting MPEG auto out to PCM format.
In the performance features department I give the 626d a good strong A+. It covers every feature I currently want in a DVD player and then some. The feature list is on par with many of the more expensive players on the market.
User Interface: A-
Performance Features: A+