0 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- 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!
By Eric McGillicuddy
Audio: A+ (requires external amplifier)
Ease of Use: A-
The 600D is a higher end Region 1 DVD player with a 5 disc changer tray and Dolby 5.1 (AC-3) support. There are likely higher quality players out there, but this is one of only a few currently supporting multiple discs. The 650D is a newer , less expensive version and the 850D is a 200(!) DVD variant of the 650 both just recently released. Aside from a separate laser for CDs, the 600D shares the same specifications and these should be of comparable quality, although the feature sets will vary.
My primary concern when I was looking for a DVD player was the ability to load multiple discs, in my innocence I expected 5 to allow me to load all of them. How wrong I was! I also wanted to ensure the highest probability of being able to play whatever disc I bought, so this meant Sony or Phillips as these companies pretty much set the standard for DVD. The 600D met both criteria and then some. One caveat: DVD is sensitive to component interactions, a good rating with one configuration may be poor with different equipment, in my case I use a Yamaha 795 series A/V receiver and a Toshiba 43" projection TV, other brands or models and may not yield the same results. Always check out how well your equipment works together before buying, this will have considerable effect on the enjoyment of your system.
I currently own about 40 discs and have rented more than 30 others, only one, Ninja Scroll, has not played flawlessly and this was due to a production error, not the player. The replacement disc plays perfectly. I also notice that discs others have had problems with, Bubblegum Crisis for instance, play much better on this model, I have found it hard to impossible to reproduce any of the problems experienced by other DVD owners. The peace of mind alone makes the 600D a superior machine.
The machine has several video outputs, Fiber-Optic, S-Video, Component, Line Out (analog coax) and Digital Coaxial. I use S-Video exclusively, so I can not comment on the quality of the others. Optical was recommended for highest quality, analog coax for lowest. Given the receiver used, S-video was a cost effective compromise. The picture is absolutely crystal clear, since the image is compressed, I was expecting blurred or artifacted pictures like so many JPEGs I have seen. This is not the case at all. The picture is theatre quality. The output can be adjusted for 16:9, 4:3 Pan & Scan or 4:3 letterboxed TVs, so the proper setting is critical for maximum picture quality. The only video problem I have seen is rainbow effects under Slow 1 and Slow 2, Paused or normal play does not manifest the same effect in the same scene. I did seen pixellation once, I assume it was a case of random noise causing an error and it has not repeated on that disc or any other.
Audio output is recommended through the Optic or S-Video connectors, however 5.1(FR-FL-C-RR-RL-SW digital) and Line Out (L-R analog) are also provided for older system compatibility. I have not detected any problems and I find the sound to be very rich and detailed. Mind you, I think Spinal Tap sounds just fine, so take that as you will. Darn sight better than Mono, even to me.
This machine comes with an owner’s manual for a reason, there are so many configuration options that reading it is not just recommended, it is mandatory. If you can run a VCR you can run the 600D, but you will miss many enhancements that are not obvious. The remote has enough buttons to deter a techno phobic spouse from arguing over control and they are clearly labeled, but what they do is often cryptic. After a year I still don’t know what Shuffle or Jog are supposed to do. Two functions not on the remote are Skip Disc and Exchange, Skip Disc rotates the tray while open, Exchange allows you to open the tray while a disc is playing, remove two other discs and insert new ones without interrupting play. This is a nice feature and will allow the continuous playing of all 100 hours of Urusei Yatsura, however, depending on your setup, "Down-In-Front" may detract from the audio portion of the show. I assume this is a feature popular with CD changers, it doesn’t work quite as well with DVDs and, given that the play mechanism travels with the tray, it may indicate future reliability issues. Time will tell.
The 600D can play singled sided DVD (flip disc for other side), CD and Video CD discs, I don’t have any VCD's to prove this, but the manual hasn’t lied to me so far. Being stand-alone it doesn’t play DVD-ROM or CD-ROM discs for obvious reasons. It has two inputs for expansion, Audio In and Mega Control, currently used for Sony 200 CD multi-changers. The Mega Control and S-Link In may someday allow the connection of a 200 DVD multi-changer which will hold all of my movies. OK, so I still have some innocence left. Parental Lock is available and allows 8 levels of blocking which can be changed as your children mature.
What is missing? Well, I don’t like spin wheels to control playback speed, although common, I prefer discrete buttons for each speed setting. I would also like double sided play. The Program function holds 99 titles/chapters but is very difficult to use and is virtually useless for DVDs (CD holdover I assume). I would prefer a hard drive that holds a play list of DVDs so if I program out Op/Eds, Previews, etc., the next time I insert the disc it will remember. Clips to hold the discs in place might help. I had discs inside the player when a technician arrived to fix the TV, the player was put on its side and three of the discs ended up inside the mechanism. Fiddling around got them all out eventually, with just a slight scratch one, but still something to keep in mind. I would like a Zoom function, usually a part of the TV, I feel it would be better if it were to work on the raw data rather than the translated image sent to the display.
Despite the higher cost of this unit and a few quibbles over features, I consider this to be an excellent value. The core functionality is superb, excellent enhanced functions and overall comfortable feel. Highly recommended.