I consider myself something of a video snob. I've got a $4500 tv for goodness sakes. I've got to say that I love this CD/DVD changer, primarily because the image / progressive scanning quality is excellent. I previously had a $400 Denon DVD changer with the Farjouda processor, which is what the high end DVD players use. The image was great, but the changer kept not loading DVDs correctly. I even sent it back in to the factory, etc ... they never could remedy the problem. But this isn't a Denon review ... I'm just trying to establish that I AM picky, and for me to give the Sony 5 stars is a big deal. I tested a number of scenes on the Sony and it looks beautiful. Sharp image, lots of adjustability (including black level adjustment which really helps if you have an LCD / DLP television) ... Sony has created a nice product.
I also love the feature where the player remembers where you stop a disc, even if you completely remove it from the player and stick it back in later! Great feature for DVD watching.
In summary, if you are looking for a good DVD / CD changer that will look awesome on your high-def tv (and at a great price point), look no further!
on July 11, 2006
The test for me was Star Wars Episode III. It looked terrible on 2 other DVD players I tried, but it looked fantastic on this one. Out of box, the picture was a little dark because it was set to Standard. I turned the black level on component and set the picture to Cinema 1, then it was outstanding on my Sony 46" Bravia. I also appreciate some the sound controls to control dynamic range. Used in combination with my receiver, I was able to hear dialog perfectly at a low level. I played several CDs and thought they sounded great. You may need to adjust the volume some, higher for DVD and lower for CD, but I think that is due to the audio recordings from the source. The only thing it seems to be missing is SACD, but I don't own any of those anyway.
on December 6, 2006
This is the ultimate in planned obsolescence. These are SLOW and eventually will fail to load even a new DVD. The unit will display "Loading" ad infinitum. (Yes, I've cleaned the lens)
Used to be that you bought a piece of electronic gear and it would last for three years or more. I have a Pioneer 60" Projection TV that is running fine after 10 years. On the other hand, I've been through three of these players. At the price, DVD players are just about disposable and that is what I'd call this unit.
Two units I purchased lasted only 3 months and the third one about six. Covered by warranty you say? Well, who wants to wait weeks to have the unit repaired or replaced? SONY is not the company they used to be. Never another.
on January 5, 2007
BACKGROUND: I have a fairly high-end home theater (rich people might pooh-pooh this assessment, but I'm a value-oriented consumer), containing a Hitachi 42" plasma monitor (1080i), a Denon AV receiver, and an iPod dock. For changeable media, I wanted two DVD players, one a changer, and one a single disk unit. I get my high-definition signals off my local cable. All of these play out through a 5.1 array of Jamo speakers, five of which are identical and mounted in the walls. The chunky subwoofer pumps away in a corner. It's all controlled by a Universal Remote MX-850 which I've learned to program. Also, when I was buying the home theater rig, I insisted that all components have and accept the High Definition Multimedia Interface socket(s), which replace as many as six cables per device with one.
After a full year of operation, I am continually impressed with the quality of the picture and sound delivered by this installation. So when it came time to upgrade my old DVD media player(s), I wanted something good, affordable, and capable of tiding me over until the high-definition DVD players becaame affordable (given that we consumers are faced with the stupidity of two competing standards, each with their own salient features, this decision could be delayed years until a clear winner emerges. My guess -- there will be a VHS/winner and a Betamax/loser after this is over, but we'll have to be patient unitl this is clear. Forgive the aside.).
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT: (1) It's Sony, which is no longer a lock guarantee of highest quality, but still a fine marque. They seem to understand the design and building of video-based comsumer electronics as well as or better than the rest. (2) Everything worked right out of the box. Since I bought it at the same time as another Sony single-disk DVD player, I was interested in having a minimum of zaniness in the installation. Plug in the HDMI cable, hit "power" and go. A-OK on this one. (3) The HDMI output is the answer to a dream. When the interface fully catches on, it will become sooooo much easier for the unskilled to buy and set up their home electronics gear. Introduction of the standard will proceed faster when consumers realize that they can buy high quality calbes much less expensively from specialty electronics suppliers. But that's another issue. (4) The upconverted signal really works as well as you can reasonably expect. Although nothing photographed in less-than-HD can look as good as HD, there is some amazing movie and TV photography out there that, when provided a clean electronic path, looks GREAT on an HD set. The upconvert feature available on this unit is worth the money if you can't bring yourself to splurge on Blu-Ray or HD DVD while the aforementioned standards battle rages, or if you already have a sizable investment in non-HD DVDs. (5) The unit remembers the viewing status/position of a slew of titles, so that you can switch around between the titles in the player (and maybe some more that have been removed from the player prior to completion of play), and the clever little device takes you right back to where you were. Hitting "stop" twice lets you go anywhere you want on this disk, as do the navigation tools built into the disk. (6) The remote is simple and functional (and identical to the one I got with my other new DVD player -- this is a small bonus and essentially irrelevant given my use of a universal remote, but some will find it refreshing to only learn one new remote if you like to have two DVD players at the ready to switch back and forth between movies and CDs with impunity. We media junkies have our quirks, and this is one way to accommodate those quirks with no muss and fuss and little expense. (7) The profile of the unit is slim enough to install in virtually any available slot. Remember to give it airspace for ventilation of heat and you'll be fine. (8) Here's a big one -- it plays virtually every kind of disk format you can throw at it. It played some homemade movies of mine that I couldn't get to play on any previous player. Awriiight!
WHAT I DON"T LIKE ABOUT IT: Not that much, actually. (1) You can't rotate the carousel while a disk is playing. Opening the drawer ends play on the disk that's in play. No biggie. (2) The blue LED that indicates operation of the HDMI circuitry is very, very bright. I have all my gear in a closet right outside my theater room, so this is not a factor for me. But I can imagine that this illumination in the same room with the viewing screen could be distracting or maybe even problematic to some users. Tone it down, Sony. Does it really matter to the viewer that upconverting is going on? Shouldn't you figure that out simply by marveling at the picture quality? (3) In the world of the truly picky, here's one. The back panel output for optical audio emits a red glow that could have the same effects as described in (2), above. Sony, why not simply provide a little plastic plug for this socket?
There, I've said it all and more. Now go buy one. They're less than 150 bucks.
on January 3, 2007
The upscaling of the unit is very nice. DVD's look a bit cleaner than they do from a regular DVD player. I have an older 5 disc player from Sony that I really like, but found a few thing frustrating with this unit.
1) The tray covers that display when it comes out. Fine if the unit is above your head, terrible if its below.
2) The unit start up is surprisingly slow.
3) Sony moved the IR sensor from the middle of the old unit to the far right side on this unit. Horrible for the unit in an entertainment cabnet, if you put the equipment on the left side of the TV. Argh, the remote won't work less you are straight on or to the left of the unit.
on October 20, 2006
Noticeably better picture, via the HDMI connection than a previous Sony 5 Disc player we had (allthough that was very good). I really like how the home videos (HDD Sony Camcorder straight to DVD) would look and they are really good. I can't think of anything better for under $150.
UPDATE!! This is terrible, SONY is terrible. Two times the display read "Tray Locked" and I couldn't fix it. Customer Service from SONY stinks to high heaven. I paid $30 to send it to Laredo, where it was "fixed" and after a month, again the "Tray Locked" I was on hold with customer support for 25 minutes and then an hour and nothing! I am done with all Sony products.
on December 1, 2007
My Denon DCM-390 died after 3 years. Just up and died. (It had replaced Denon's earlier, cheaper model that had lasted for ten years (it was cd-r's that killed the beast).
When my first Denon died after 10 years, I upgraded. I trusted the brand. And HDCD! (woo hoo cares.) It was always glitchy, anyway.
3 years. $300. I paid $200 for the one that lasted 10 years!
So I painstaked over this purchase. I wanted a disc changer. Our Music stereo is completely separate from our DVD/5 channel surround sound setup (we don't do network television).
Why consider a DVD changer to replace your CD changer?
The higher bit-rate sampling? The cheaper cost? The wider compatibility? The flexibility when your dvd player finally dies?
What the hell, I thought, let's try it.
(Sorry Amazon) I bought this one directly from Sony. Refurbished for $95 with a 3 year replacement guarantee.
After my experience with the higher end (not super-high end, I know) Denon, I was more interested in how long will it last than how perfect will it sound.
Yippee! It sounds better than the Denon ever did. Even with the HDCD discs.
Sure, it takes longer to load--it acts more like a DVD player than a CD player--but, man, it sounds great through my Denon amp and Polk speakers. It sounds even better through headphones.
I was tempted, almost convinced that I needed to spend another $200 at least to get a quality CD changer (with a 1 year limited warranty). I was sure there must be a reason the Cd changers cost so much more than the DVD/CD changers. I'm glad I didn't.
I'll be happy if I never hook this thing up to a TV. It sounds great!
on June 28, 2014
- Up-converts to HDMI
- Easy to use
- Rather large
- Menus are a bit pixelated and outdated.
This DVD changer is great especially if you watch lots of movie marathons and TV shows on DVD. One of the best features of this DVD player is that it up-converts the output to HDMI. This provides a slightly clearer picture than using an RCA connection. The untrained eye might not notice the difference however and this will only be helpful if you own a high definition television. This is also a great feature because it reduces the amount of wire clutter. You only have 1 HDMI cable instead of 3 RCA cables (5 if you use component RCA cables). It is very easy to load the DVDs into the changer. All you have to do is press "eject" load 1 DVD and then press "disk skip" to load the next one. After they are all loaded you simply press "eject" again. Remember that it loads the DVD that you last loaded. So if you loaded a disk into slot 3 and then closed the tray, you it would load the disk in slot 3. From that point on you can either watch that disk or press "disk skip" on your remote control to change to the desired DVD. This is a logical feature but could be an annoyance to somebody who waited for a disk to load only to realize it wasn't the one they wanted to see.
The not so good:
The unit is rather large. This makes sense in light of the fact that it is a turn-table style disk changer. If you have a TV cabinet with narrow shelves this unit might not fit on the shelf all the way. This could be a problem if your cabinet has doors that close over your entertainment components. If you are going to try to make it fit on a narrow shelf, you need to make sure that you don't mash the wires up against the back of your cabinet as this could damage them or reduce their life span. The only other minor concern is that the menus look very outdated. They look like a menu that would have been on a VCR as they are very pixelated and squared off. This does not effect the functionality of the menus but is rather a reflection of their aesthetics.
This is a great unit overall. As I stated above, this disc changer is great if you like to watch movie marathons or TV episodes on DVD as you do not have to put new disks in the machine as often. If you have upgraded your library to blu-ray this is not the machine for you but if you do have a decent DVD library it provides a great picture with the HDMI up-conversion. Just keep in mind that the unit is large and might not fit on narrow shelves.